A Shadowy Industry Group Shapes Food Policy Around the World

When the Indian government bowed to powerful food companies last year and postponed its decision to put red warning labels on unhealthy packaged food, officials also sought to placate critics of the delay by creating an expert panel to review the proposed labeling system, which would have gone far beyond what other countries have done in the battle to combat soaring obesity rates.

The Impact of Global Climate Change on World Hunger

February 27, 2019

When most people think about the effects of climate change, they envisage the polar caps melting. Most do not consider the effects climate change will have on agriculture, and, as a result, world hunger. Here are a few ways in which these changes in climate and temperature may affect the world’s food supply.

Weather Conditions and Temperature Changes

Different continents are experiencing changes in temperature due to climate change. We are to blame for dramatic changes in temperature throughout the centuries and this can clearly be seen when you check out the temperature trends from the 1900’s to today. For example, the average annual temperature in Australia has risen year after year.

The difficulties associated with climate change are not limited to Australia; farmers in developing countries are also finding it difficult to grow food and crops. In areas where the temperature has risen, and rain comes less often, crops begin to fail. As rain seasons become harder to predict, farmers may plant their crops too late or too early. Even if farmers manage to plant their crops on time, they still risk losing their crops due to storms and droughts, things that in earlier days were few and far between. The consequences of failed crops can be disastrous for those already living in poverty.

Market Costs Can Rise

If agricultural production decreases due to climate change, then we can expect the price of food around the world to increase. With less food available to sell, what remains will become more valuable. As food becomes more expensive to produce, farmers and shopkeepers will need to charge a higher price so that they can still make money for themselves to purchase their own food. For some, even in developed countries, the rising cost of food can lead to poverty and world hunger.

Agriculture is Dying Out

As farming becomes more expensive and difficult, , agriculture is becoming a tradition no longer practiced. The temperature carries a lot of blame for this; with farmers no longer able to work out the best time to grow crops, they are giving up in search of other ways to bring income to their family.
Increasing temperatures are problematic for those who farm livestock, as well. Higher temperatures make it harder for animals to live; if farmers cannot provide enough fresh water to keep their livestock hydrated, they can become diseased or die of dehydration. Droughts are a big deal for all farmers. Unfortunately, as climate change increases the number of droughts, developing countries suffer the most.

Women and Children Are Most at Risk

Many women in developing countries do not get put through education. This means they are at a greater risk of going hungry, as their livelihoods often depend on physical tasks such as farming or selling foods at the market. Those with a higher education will be better off, even as temperature changes happen around the world. This is because those with a better education often have a better understanding of the world and know how to rebuild in the case of severe droughts or storms.

Those with a better education are usually in higher paying jobs, meaning that they are more financially prepared for a change in climate. This means even if disaster was to strike, they have the means to source food from elsewhere, without having to rely on the land. Furthermore, women often breastfeed their children, especially in developing countries and therefore require a stable diet with adequate calories to provide enough milk. If they are not getting this, they are more likely to become ill and unable to supply milk to their children.

Understanding climate change and the disastrous impact it can have worldwide is one way in which we can begin to change. Helping those in developing countries to build barns to protect their livestock from heat is just one simple way to limit world hunger. Ensuring every country has fresh, running water will also help when temperature rises cause problems.

About the Author: William is a climate/weather enthusiast who takes a great interest in topics related to both climate change and weather. He graduated with a degree in chemistry from the University of Dallas. He is currently retired and lives with his family in Dallas, TX.

*This is an independent article and does not necessarily reflect the views of WHES.

How urban agriculture can improve food security in US cities

During the partial federal shutdown in December 2018 and January 2019, news reports showed furloughed government workers standing in line for donated meals. These images were reminders that for an estimated one out of eight Americans, food insecurity is a near-term risk.

Scientists Have ‘Hacked Photosynthesis’ In Search Of More Productive Crops

Researchers at the University of Illinois have been able to engineer photosynthesis in plants that could help increase yields in key food crops like cowpeas in the future. “It’s really the first major breakthrough showing that one can indeed engineer photosynthesis and achieve a major increase in crop productivity.”

https://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2019/01/03/681941779/scientists-have-hacked-photosynthesis-in-search-of-more-productive-crops

https://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2019/01/03/681941779/scientists-have-hacked-photosynthesis-in-search-of-more-productive-crops

Space tech that feeds high-end diners in Toronto could help Canada’s North

Technology being used to stock high-end Toronto restaurants with designer leafy greens could provide Northern Canadians with locally grown produce.

Technology being used to stock high-end Toronto restaurants with designer leafy greens could provide Northern Canadians with locally grown produce.

https://www.cbc.ca/news/business/space-food-technology-led-1.4945788

Photo: LED lights are used to grown leafy greens inside a Toronto warehouse
Photo: A look inside We the Roots vertical farm in Toronto. Wired with LED lights, the hydroponic facility can grow up to 20,000 leafy green plants at a time. [Yan Jun Li/CBC]

Rising obesity in Africa reflects a broken global food system

When I visited Kigali, Rwanda’s capital last week, I noticed an array of new fast food restaurants downtown. This is not an exception — chains such as Burger King, Pizza Hut and KFC are proliferating across Africa. Meanwhile, obesity rates are skyrocketing across the continent.

Aquafarmers on the front lines

Many of the world’s future farmers will likely be farming oceans, as aquaculture—the cultivation of fish and other aquatic species—continues its expansion as the fastest growing food sector. New research shows that in order for this next generation of farmers to thrive, there is an urgent need to prepare them for climate change.