Genetically modified bacteria become edible proteins, cows graze on pasture, and no waste is produced in an industrial circular economy. Journalist Jan Grossarth sees a silver lining for the future of world nutrition.
Dr Jan Grossarth is a freelance journalist and book author. His main topics are ecology, agriculture, food security and related social issues. After having worked as a senior editor at the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, he was head of communications at the Federal Ministry of Agriculture (BMEL) in 2019. Since 2020, he has worked as a freelance journalist for "Die Welt", "Jüdische Allgemeine", among others, and is a research associate in a project on bioeconomy at LMU Munich.
Karl Marx was a visionary. Some of his observations still have great explanatory value in the 21st century (even if the planned economies he inspired have ushered great darkness into the world). Marx predicted the ecological crisis as early as the 1860s. He wrote at that time that artificial fertilisers and resulting urbanisation would lead to a “metabolic disorder” of humans and the earth (Saito 2017).
This neologism has actually provided the metaphors currently used by the social and natural sciences to describe the ecological crisis: Great Acceleration, Anthropocene, Human Age. So what exactly is a metabolic disorder? Nothing other than the oft lamented “disease” or “imbalance” of the biosphere.
Early industrial intuition has become complex mathematical prognosis – sociological description has become biochemical evidence. The urban-industrial society is at a tipping point. The global metabolism of carbon, nitrogen and phosphates is subject to a high-risk dynamic of change. This stems from a number of factors: travel, construction and consumption, resource depletion for agriculture, population growth.
Urbanisation is the inevitable consequence of agricultural industrialisation. According to the United Nations, 70 percent of the world's population will live in cities by 2050 (Grossarth 2018). Hundreds of millions of small farmers will then also be living in cities. They are fleeing not only because climate conditions are worsening. They are also fleeing because their subsistence economies have no prospects for development – because these are shackles of poverty.
The development goals of “food for all” or “a world without hunger” can only be thought of meaningfully in the context of progressive urbanisation. In other words, continued industrial development. At least if the world population should continue to rise – to ten billion, as predicted.
Anyone who says both: reduce urbanisation and fight poverty is either ill-informed, historically blind or cynical.
Unfortunately, we live in a digital media democracy that broods simplistic viewpoints. Unambiguity, argumentativeness and criticality determine news values. This forces parties, non-governmental organisations and even academics to simplify the picture (Post 2018). That is why two camps have emerged among media experts: One cites agricultural industrialisation and the “wrong thinking” behind it as the core problem. The other is pinning all its hopes on digitalisation and technical progress. But it easily falls into the technocratic trap. This means: foolish ignorance of the justified criticism of global power structures, global distributive injustice, cultural-critical criticism of the agro-industrial desolation and the epochal destruction of peasant ways of life, traditions and diversity – even among the remaining farmers.
The digital media – under pressure from quotas and bias – are apparently also compelled to condense differentiated climate change forecasts into apocalyptic scenarios. The forecasts for African harvests are poor overall and explicitly “despite technological developments”, says the IPCC (Njang 2017). But there are wide regional variations. Bleak are the forecasts for those inhabiting the savannahs of Togo, parts of Madagascar, Uganda, Mali and north-eastern Ghana. Positive yield developments are to be expected not far away: in the north of Ghana. And also in parts of Burkina Faso and Nigeria. The dynamics of change in phases of rainfall and drought will be severe – but cannot be predicted with certainty in regard to their consequences. The future is grimly bleak. Both established patterns of interpretation – the “wrong path of industrialisation”
Significant here: it is not politics but international corporations such as Nestlé, Mars or Lidl and Aldi that have been promoting sustainability for years.
They set standards for suppliers, they take over plantations themselves, they do research for more productive cocoa cultivation in their interest. But the food system needs to be radically reformed. This is not a task for Lidl – nor for citizens' councils – but for global politics
An industrial circular economy offers the only realistic and humane future prospects for the entire population. This is essentially free of waste. Neither food nor anything else is wasted. All nutrients and materials are recycled. Not ultimately elitist (and, often grounded in resentment or esotericism) ideals of sufficiency and abstinence are the standard (Scheler 2017). Rather, humans can learn “intelligent waste” from nature in the ecological crisis (Braungart 2009).
That is a planning task. But it does not lead to a planned economy. What needs to be planned is a completely new tax and financial policy that makes waste creation more expensive. Scrap metal, food waste and CO2 are all “wastes” produced by an industrial way of life. A smart, radically different free trade policy must be planned that punishes ecological dumping at external borders with high tariffs. The state must set the rules of the game in such a way that causing waste becomes very expensive. Companies must account for the true ecological costs: harm to water, air, soil and health.
The central areas of intervention have been identified in the articles of the SEWOH evaluation: Governance entails first and foremost prioritising the issue in the media and politically. This is because it easily retreats into the background – where it appears as a marginal and expert topic. The pandemic was a case in point. Innovations are of central importance. But they only merit this name if they serve social and human concerns. Agroecology describes the path to the agronomic future. Yet “along the way” it also formulates a completely new, transdisciplinary understanding of science. Supply chains need to be structured in terms of partnership rather than capitalism. The initiative should come from the developing countries themselves. Flourishing farmers are an important piece of the puzzle.
The state sets the course. But the creative economy solves the real problems.
CO2, genetically modified bacteria and energy will be turned into artificial, edible proteins – an invention from Israel (Israeli Embassy 2019). Carbon-neutral fuel could also be developed in this way. Toxins will become raw materials. And the oceans – where fertilizers and nutrients from 150 years of agribusiness history are stored – will become a source of raw materials. There are edible algae to harvest there
Instead of the wheat monocultures characterising current farming, future agriculture will be small-scale and diverse. Arable fields will reproduce ecological systems and farmers will cultivate well-considered nutrient cycles: with nitrogen-fixing legumes, nutrient-rich manure crops, useful hedges that provide habitats for insects.
Farm animals will no longer be imprisoned in dark mass-fattening facilities – but instead, dwell close to the field in stables that receive architectural awards. Grazing animals have a future. But the resource-efficient chicken from the urban factory has a future too. It will eat insects that were fed on garbage. Yet foolish factory farming has no future.
“Raw materials” will no longer factor into the equation. Products will have multidimensional qualities instead of just price and nutrient. Digital channels will provide excellent information about this. Even human faeces will be processed industrially and returned to the fields. For this to be accepted and for politics not to smile wearily, there must be a general awareness of the problem that the development of a global circular economy needs to take top priority.
Both conservatives playing down the ecological problem and panic communication à la Greta Thunberg distract us from this. The latter focuses on a rigid CO2 avoidance policy and has had some success. The EU and Germany have made CO2 more expensive for other sectors of the economy or intend to do so.
But panic communication also brought radicalisation and ideological hardening.
The risk of “short-circuiting” wrong decisions by political or economic actors is high. If there were fuel from CO2-eating bacteria in the future, even the internal combustion engine would have a future.
Because the path of the circular economy is a global one, it will naturally also be the African one. Neither naïve metaphors of a life “in harmony with nature” nor a “fairer and more equitable world” will help a continent whose population is set to grow to two billion people by 2050 – about a tenfold increase since 1950. African innovation, “business mindset” and the development of a digital circular industry appear to be the path that also seems attractive to the people on the ground – but above all a much stronger integration of peasant production into national and international value chains.
Ideas of a “completely different”, long-term and structurally conservative smallholder path for Africa have to put up with the question of Western paternalism. The idealising, harmonising talk of the “global way” and or “one world” also tends to cloud the view of reality. There are interests of nations and power blocs. Advocacy and conflicts of interest are not per se an ethical disgrace. Only future historians will be able to judge whether in our time China – with its hard-line politics of interests – was more useful to Africa, or European development policy. An answer is not trivial.
Realistic development paths also include urban greenhouses that close material flows. The Netherlands is a leader and successful exporter of such technology. The rediscovery of agronomically efficient allotment gardens in cities is realistic. A common thread running through future agriculture involves cascade use: waste becomes fodder, refuse becomes recyclable material.
This will not be aided by ancient craftsmanship, but by enzymatic separation processes. The 21st century is set to become the age of the bioeconomy (Lewandowski 2018). New genetic breeding methods will play a major role – at least in industrial application, perhaps also in certain fields of agriculture. In the future, nitrogen fertiliser will no longer be synthesised on the basis of natural gas, but solar energy. What an opportunity for Africa! The first plants are under construction. Robots and drones will apply the fertiliser precisely where it is needed.
Diverse and circular agriculture will be climate adapted. Soils will be better shaded and moister. They will come alive with more insects and worms, fungi and bacteria. They will form humus and sequester carbon. Trees and hedges of agroforests will also sequester CO2.
It is not only natural science that determines farming methods. The effect of beauty – the atmospheres created in the new landscapes – on people’s perceptions are also an insight key for “good” agriculture. Wind turbines and solar plants have their place, but do not transform the world into one single power plant landscape. For that too entails “agroecology as a guiding outlook”
To give (local) cultural ideas of the good life, psychology, the poetics of land and food a space of relevance in the canon of sciences – because these are also in danger under the dominance of technical and natural sciences. And people rarely feed themselves on the basis of science anyway – but rather on the basis of culture, pleasure or frustration (Hirschfelder 2018).
Huge risks await the future. A green centrally planned economy would not be adaptable – because the problems and technologies of the day after tomorrow remain unknown.
Only when apocalyptic expectation is accompanied by hope so we shape the future (Schleissing 2020). Disaster forecasts have their purpose in that they awaken people to coming dangers and stimulate human creativity. But if they lead to panic politics – in the course of which products, groups, people and processes are divided into “good” or “bad” – this does not do justice to the ethical complexity characterising the mega-task of “sustainable world nutrition” (Vogt 2021). Then the metaphorical talent of Karl Marx would have been misjudged again.
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In Eastern El Salvador, campesinos are cultivating a self-image to encourage rural youth to remain in rural areas. With help from Caritas, they have adjusted the cultivation methods to their soils and traditions - Marvin Antonio Garcia Otero,the deputy director of Caritas of the Diocese of San Miguel believes this is the best way to prevent rural exodus and criminality.
The lockdown due to COVID-19 hit the economy hard - including agriculture in particular with its supply chains and sales markets. What creative coping strategies have those affected found? The Seminar for Rural Development has begun a research study on th
A contribution by Jes Weigelt and Alexander Müller
What is required to make food systems provide sufficient, healthy food while not harming the planet? How should food security be maintained given the threat posed by climate change? Our authors look at some aspects of tomorrow’s food systems against the backdrop of the corona crisis.
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A contribution by Dr. May Hokan and Dr. Arnulf Köhncke (WWF)
Due to the coronavirus crisis, the connection between human and animal health has gained new attention. Politicians and scientists are joining forces to propagate the solution: One Health. But what is behind the concept? And can it also guarantee food security for all people worldwide?
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While Africa is the least affected region by Covid-19 so far, the number of confirmed cases and deaths on the continent is quickly rising. Despite the challenges many African countries continue to face, the African response to the coronavirus pandemic displays innovation and ingenuity.
It began with clicks at a trade fair and ends with concrete reforestation: a campaign at the Green Week in Berlin is now enriching the forests of the Yen Bai Province in Vietnam. A chronicle of an education about climatic relevance to concrete action - and about the short distances on our planet.
A contribution by Dr. Kathleen Mar and Dr. Nicole de Paula
Against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic, health is receiving unprecedented public and political attention. Yet the fact that climate change is also affecting the environmental and social determinants of health in a profound and far-reaching way deserves further recognition.
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In March 2022, the virtual conference ICTforAg summons leading actors in the agrartechnology and food sector from low- and middle-income countries to exchange ideas advancing resilience, nutrition and agriculture-led growth.
This year's United Nations World Drug Report highlights for the first time the nexus between illicit drugs and the environment. In view of climate change, it is time to feed the debate with facts and make drug policy greener
Based on a scientific study by TMG Think Tank, the authors highlight various challenges in the fight against the hunger crisis. The findings show that climate change, conflict and covid-19 are increasing food and energy prices.
The Corona pandemic is hitting economies around the world very hard - but developments in African countries are quite diverse. There are different speeds, resiliences and vulnerabilities. What are the reasons for this? Apl. Prof. Jann Lay of the GIGA Institute provides answers.
Four interviews kick off the relaunch under the new name „Food4Transformation“, asking the same questions from different perspectives. "Women and young people need access to land. And they need financial support to cultivate this land." - says Kolyang Palebele, President of the Pan African Farmers Organisation (PAFO).
Insurance companies could provide protection during droughts in Africa. How exactly this could be done is what the industry is currently trying to figure out. First experiences are available. An interview with the Managing Director of the Munich Re Foundation, Thomas Loster
Over a period of two years, the Ceres2030 team spent researching answers to the questions of how much it will how much it will cost to realize SDG 2 and where that money should be spent most effectively. IISD Senior Advisor and Ceres2030 Co-director Carin Smaller about small farmers, machine learning and women empowerment.
For years, place-based approaches to development have been considered important features in development cooperation, at the BMZ and in FAO. Both organisations are aiming at advancing these approaches: an interview with Adriano Campolina from the FAO on territorial and landscape perspectives.
The Global Hunger Index (GHI) 2020 shows that the world is not on track to meet the international goal of “zero hunger by 2030”. If we continue at our current speed, around 37 countries will not even have reached a low hunger level by 2030.
The CGIAR agricultural research organization is systematically repositioning itself. We spoke with Juergen Voegele, Vice President for Sustainable Development at the World Bank, about progress to date - and discuss what needs to be done collectively to stop global hunger in ten years.
110 speakers from 120 countries met virtually at the Global Forum for Food and Agriculture (GFFA) to discuss the challenges to global food supply. They asked the question: How can food systems support the health of people and the planet?
Africa is home to the world’s youngest and fastest growing population. For many young people, agriculture could offer a job perspective. But to improve the living conditions and job prospects of young people in rural areas, political reforms and investments are desperately needed, as these people will be at the centre of agriculture and agricultural development in the future.
What are the consequences of using synthetic pesticides in agriculture? Where do they help, where do they harm? Lena Luig, expert for the development policy organization INKOTA, and science journalist Ludger Weß discuss this controversial topic of international scope.
At the beginning of December 2018, AGRA's board of directors met in Berlin. The "Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa" panel discussed the next steps in their policy of modernizing agriculture. How to go on in the next ten years? One question - many answers from experts.
Joe DeVries is a breeder – and Vice President of AGRA (Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa). What are the chances and risks of a ’green revolution‘ in Africa? A discourse between Jan Rübel and him about productivity, needs, and paternalism.
Stefan Liebing is chairman of the Africa Association of German Business. The manager calls for a better structure of African farms. Jan Rübel asked him about small farmers, the opportunities for German start-ups and a new fund.
Chancellor Merkel has begun an ambitious European political programme: Striving for compromise in budget negotiations, an orderly Brexit as well as an appropriate response to the corona crisis. Unfortunately, one of her positions that she previously held is nowhere to be found: Africa's prosperity is in the interest of Europe.
Africa has a huge opportunity to make agriculture its economic driver. However, the potential for this is far from being made exhaustive use of, one reason being that women face considerable difficulties in their economic activities. The organisation AWAN Afrika seeks to change this state of affairs.
The Global Agriculture and Food Security Program (GAFSP) was launched by the G20 countries in 2010 in response to the 2008-09 food price crisis to increase both public and private investment in agriculture. An overview of the programme's approach, results and impact.
The COVID 19 pandemic is hitting developing and emerging countries and their poorest populations particularly hard. It is important to take countermeasures at an early stage. Companies in the German agricultural sector want to make their contribution to ensuring the availability of urgently needed operating resources.
The region of Sub-Saharan Africa is on the decisive verge of a great development boost in farming: it could skip entire generations of technological development. But how? About possible roles and potentials of digital services.
What do electrical engineering, telecommunications and agriculture have in common? They arouse the passion of Strive Masiyiwa: Thirty years ago, he started an electrical installation company with $75, later riding the telecommunications wave as a pioneer. Today he is committed to transforming African agriculture.
In this article, the author describes what we know about interlinkages, what role agriculture has to play in the sustainable use and conservation of biodiversity, and what the necessary changes in agricultural systems might look like, both on small and large-scale farms.
An Interview with Francisco Marí (Brot für die Welt)
Brot für die Welt (Bread for the World) did not attend the UNFSS pre-summit. Instead, the organisation took part in a counter-summit that took place at the same time. A conversation with Francisco Marí about the reasons, the process - and an outlook for the future
Vitamin-poor nutrition must become more expensive, in-vitro meat is not a panacea, and agricultural systems should be more decentralised. Bioland President Jan Plagge in an interview about the challenge of (future) world nutrition.
Out of 40 consortia that applied from all over the world, 14 were invited to present their innovative concept on agroecological approaches in the form of an online pitch and to face the questions of an international jury of experts. Find out which six semi-finalists were selected by the jury and what happens next in this article.
The future is rural. Young African entrepreneurs gave their generation a vocie during the G-20 conference in Berlin. "World Without Hunger" asked six of them, how more jobs can be created in rural areas.
"One World no Hunger" (SEWOH) becomes one of the five core themes of the BMZ. Dirk Schattschneider, SEWOH Commissioner about previous approaches, future areas of action, and the political will to end hunger.
An Interview with Shamika Mone (INOFO) and Elizabeth Nsimadala (EAFF)
At the UN Food Systems Summit, farmers organizations have been represented on the international stage for the first time ever. Two representatives talk about bridging personal aspirations with the representation of regional needs and international negotiations.
Indian farmers restore precious soil material combining traditional with innovative approaches. A case example how governance, agriculture and development cooperation can work together to combat climate change.
After a two-year break due to Corona, the doors of the International Green Week (IGW) in Berlin are opening again. From 20th to 29th January, visitors from all over the world can discover, marvel and taste the produce. But the event is not only feasting and fun. The BMZ stand asks questions about where food comes from & where it goes – and in the process becomes a crash test for many habits.
A contribution by Prof. Dr. Anna-Katharina Hornidge
In the video format "#99SecondsWith" of the German Institute of Development and Sustainability (IDOS), Prof. Dr Anna - Katharina Hornidge talks about the new Africa-Strategy of the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).
How can the challenges related to water, rural development and climate resilient agriculture be addressed? What innovations need to be promoted? The Water and Energy for Food (WE4F) initiative presents strategies and innovations for sustainable, integrated water management in German and international cooperation.
A Year of Multiple Crises: Russian war against Ukraine, extreme weather events, high prices for energy and fertilizer, food crisis had severe implications for food security and agriculture globally and especially in Sub-Saharan Africa. A Transformation of the food systems is needed.
Kenya is a large importer of vetable oils mainly from Indonesia and Malaysia - amongst them sunflower oil. Due to the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine, there were supply bottlenecks and food shortages, leading to less affordable vegetable oils in Kenya. As a response to the lack of supply, the Sanga'alo Institute of Science and Technology, took that impulse, teamed up with the GIZ and established regional cultivation and refinement of sunflowers.
Protectionist policies like tariffs supposedly protect domestic producers if they cannot compete with cheaper imported products. Some African countries have therefore opted to impose such import restrictions for a number of products. For the case of chicken imports in Ghana, this study analyses whether restrictions would lead to overall positive or negative welfare effects among households.
Regarding deforestation free supply chains, there are challenges and opportunities for smallholder farmers as well as for international forest governance. Also, responsibilities for companies and potential incentives for manufacturers to use materials from fair trade and sustainable sources need to be explored. But what does “deforestation-free” actually mean?
The Africa Agriculture Trade Monitor 2022 (AATM) was published by IFPRI and AKADEMIYA2063. The report analyses the short- and long-term trends and drivers of African agricultural trade flows, including regional policies and the role of global markets.
Since early February 2022, two of the biggest grain and oilseed exporters have been at war. An overview, which countries are affected most severely by the destabilized grain markets, and what comes next.
The German government is struggling to pass a supply chain law. It is intended to address violations of human rights, social and environmental standards. What would the consequences be for business? A double interview with Veselina Vasileva from GEPA and economics professor Andreas Freytag.
Four interviews kick off the relaunch under the new name „Food4Transformation“, asking the same questions from different perspectives. Dirk Meyer, Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, thinks: less individual solutions are needed, but more systemic approaches. Because in addition to the goals for food security, the issues of climate and biodiversity must also be taken into account.
Four interviews kick off the relaunch under the new name „Food4Transformation“, asking the same questions from different perspectives. Dr Julia Köhn, Chair of the German AgriFood Society, points out in the interview: Only if innovation and transformation are profitable in the medium term can they close the food gap in the long term.
The first Climate Adaptation Summit put climate adaptation at the center of politics for the first time. The virtual meeting united global players with one goal: building resilience is just as important as climate protection itself. Around 15,000 participants discussed direct proposals.
Environmental change is having a particularly strong impact on the African continent. Its landscapes see both negative and positive processes. What is science's view of this? A conversation with Cyrus Samimi about mobility for livelihoods, urban gardening and dealing with nature.
In August, Germany’s development ministry set up a division concentrating on One Health topics. Parliamentary State Secretary Maria Flachsbarth on knowledge gaps at the human-animal-environmental interface, the link between One Health and food security, and lessons learnt from previous pandemics.
From the lab to the masses: Maria Andrade bred varieties of biofortified sweet potatoes which are now widely used all over the continent. She sets her hope on the transformation of African agriculture.
A contribution by Kerstin Weber and Brit Reichelt-Zolho (WWF)
Biodiversity and sustainable agriculture ensure the nutrition of whole societies. But there is more: These two factors also provide better protection against the outbreak of dangerous pandemics. Hence, the question of preserving ecosystems is becoming a global survival issue.
Double interview with Tony Rinaudo and Volker Schlöndorff
Tony Rinaudo uses conventional reforestation methods to plant millions and millions of trees – and Volker Schlöndorff is filming a cinema documentary about the Australian. The outcome so far: An educational film on behalf of the BMZ (Federal Ministry for Economic Co-operation and Development).
The majority of producers in developing countries are women. Although they contribute significantly to the food security of their families, they remain chronically disadvantaged in male-dominated agriculture in terms of access to land, credit, technology and education.
Interview with Bernadette Arakwiye und Salima Mahamoudou (World Resources Institute)
Deforestation is leading to a shortage of ressources. What are the options for counteracting? A conversation with Bernadette Arakwiye and Salima Mahamoudou about renaturation and the possibilities of artificial intelligence.
A report by Bettina Rudloff and Annette Weber (SWP)
The Corona-Virus exacerbates existing crises through conflict, climate, hunger and locusts in East Africa and the Horn of Africa. What needs to be done in these regions? To face these challenges for many countries, all of these crises need to be captured in their regional context.
A report by Alexander Müller and Jes Weigelt (TMG)
As the climate changes, the population of Africa is growing and fertile land and jobs are becoming scarcer. New ways are currently leading to urbanisation of agriculture and a new mid-sized sector in the countryside
At the climate conference in Glasgow, activists from various groups protested again – Leonie Bremer from ‘Fridays for Future’ was there too. How can climate protection and development cooperation work hand in hand?
Martin Frick has been director of the WFP office in Berlin for a year – since then one hunger crisis has followed another. What are the diplomat's answers? A conversation about opportunities in agriculture, the interplay of multiple crises, the importance of resilience and tighter budgets.
Development cooperation needs to place good governance and a sustainable agri-food systems transformation at its center: After the first 100 days in office have passed, Dirk Meyer from the German Development Ministry (BMZ) spells out the goals, guidelines and priorities of the Ministry’s new lead.
A Contribution of the 'Initiative for Sustainable Agricultural Supply Chains' (INA)
Fair Trade organisations and the Initiative for Sustainable Agricultural Supply Chains (INA) have launched the #ichwillfair campaign during COP26 to highlight the link between global supply chains and climate change.
The United Nations plan a Food Systems Summit - and now the Corona-Virus is dictating the agenda. The Chief Economist of the UN World Food Programme takes stock of the current situation: a conversation with Jan Rübel about pandemics, about the chromosomes of development - and about the conflicts that inhibit them.
Does Africa's youth want to live in the city or in the country? Which career path seems particularly attractive? And how optimistic are the young people about the future? Young adults from rural areas answered these questions by SMS.
How can agriculture modernise Africa? And does the road to the cities really lead out of poverty? Dr. Reiner Klingholz from the Berlin Institute for Population and Development in conversation with Jan Rübel .
In western Africa a new middle class is emerging. Their consumer behaviour is determining the demand for products – home-produced and imported goods, on the internet or at the village market. The people of Ivory Coast in particular are looking to the future with optimism.
This is a benchmark for everybody: More rights for women are a very influencing solution in the struggle against extreme poverty and hunger worldwide, says Stephan Exo-Kreischer, Director of ONE Germany. The organisation specialises in political campaigning as a lever for sustainable change.
Happy youngsters in rural areas, green development and the connection to the digital age – professor Joachim von Braun believes in this future sceneraio for Africa. For three decades the agricultural scienties has been researching how politics can create prosperty on the continent.
It is 2080. We are on a farm somewhere in Africa. Everything is digital. The blockchain is an omnipotent point of reference, and the farm is flourishing. But then, everything goes wrong. A dystopian short story, written exclusively for SEWOH.
A contribution by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Africa’s population is young and ready to take its destiny into its own hands. Agriculture offers amazing opportunities in this regard. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation wants to support the next generation in this way.
Lack of seasonal workers and virus explosion in slaughterhouses, rising vegetable prices, climate crisis – all this demonstrates: Our food system is highly productive and (at least for the rich inhabitants of planet earth) guarantees an unprecedented rich and steady food supply - but it is not resilient.
At the moment, the agricultural industries of African countries exist in relative isolation. Imagine peasant farmers digitally connected to the value chains of the global food industry. How could this happen? A guidebook.
Interview with Gnininkaboka Dabiré and Innocent Somé
Later on you want to become a farmer yourself, or would you prefer to take up another profession? Two young people from Burkina-Faso talked to representatives of the Dreyer Foundation about their parents' farms, the profession of farmer and their own plans for the future.
A contritbution by Essa Chanie Mussa (University of Gondar)
Rural youth need viable livelihood opportunities to escape out of poverty and realize their aspirations. How could they be helped to fully unleash their potential? This is an aloud call that needs novel strategies among governments, policy makers, and international development partners and donors.
As President of the IABM cooperative in Muhanga, Alphonsine Mukankusi is not simply focused on the figures. She has learned how to deal with people and how to take on responsibility. At the same time, her work helps her to come to terms with the past
Agnes Kalibata, AGRA president since 2014 and former minister of agriculture and wildlife in Rwanda, is convinced that Africa's economy will only grow sustainably if small-scale agriculture is also seen as an opportunity.
Interview with Paul Newnham, Director of the SDG 2 Advocacy Hub.
The UN Food Systems pre-Summit in Rome dealt with transforming the ways of our nutrition. How do you bring that to a broad public? Questions to Paul Newnham, the Director of the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 2 Advocacy Hub.
Interview with Martina Fleckenstein (WWF), Michael Kühn (WHH) and Christel Weller-Molongua (GIZ)
After the summit means pre-summit: It was the first time that the United Nations held a summit on food systems. Martina Fleckenstein, Michael Kühn and Christel Weller-Molongua reviewed the situation in this joint interview.
The world’s population keeps on growing; with this rise comes an increased need for food as well as productive employment opportunities. Offering young people in rural areas better employment prospects is one of the objectives of the sector project. The young population is the key to a modern and efficient agricultural economy.
Why are short- and long-term responses important to address current and future global crises? Sebastian Lesch, Head of the Agriculture Division at the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), provides answers to these and other questions in an interview with the Global Donor Platform for Rural Development (GDPRD) and explains how much Germany welcomes all donors pulling together and acting in concert.
African countries still face huge gender gaps in terms of access to work and capital. What are the consequences of Corona for women in Africa? Jan Rübel interviewed Léa Rouanet on lockdowns and gender-based violence. The economist works at the Africa Gender Innovation Lab of the World Bank.
Every year in October, the "Welthungerhilfe" aid organisation, with the Irish "Concern Worldwide" NGO, publishes the Global Hunger Index, a tool with which the hunger situation is recorded. What are the trends - and what needs to be done?
Shortly before ending his position as Director General of the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPR) Dr. Shenggen Fan talks about the reforms and new modes of operation needed to achieve global food security in the coming decade.
Chancellor Angela Merkel in the Podcast of the Federal Government
At the start of World Food Week around World Food Day on 16 October, Chancellor Angela Merkel stressed that the fight against global hunger will only be successful with international responsibility and solidarity (german only).
International agricultural research is responding to new challenges: Their advisory group is undergoing a fundamental reform process and unites knowledge, partnerships and physical assets into OneCGIAR.
African inland fisheries are increasingly reliant on the capture of small fish species that are sundried and traded over long distances. They make an important contribution in alleviating “hidden hunger”: consumed whole, small fish are an important source of micronutrients. Only that, unfortunately, politicians haven’t yet realised this.
There is a clear global task: We need to feed nine billion people by 2050. We, the people of Earth, must produce more food and waste less. That is the top priority of the UN World Food Programme (WFP), too - the description of a challenge.
Urban gardening is becoming increasingly popular in northern metropoles. People who consider themselves part of a green movement are establishing productive gardens in the city, for example on rooftops or in vacant lots. In severely impoverished regions of the global South, urban agriculture is a component of the food strategy.
Supporting groups of smallholding women substantially contributes to strengthen rural operations economically. The organisation and associated group activities can help to reduce extreme poverty and improve the food situation.
A contribution by Nadine Babatounde and Anne Floquet (MISEREOR)
To prevent malnutrition among young children and strengthen the role of women in their communities, Misereor, together with the local non-governmental organisation CEBEDES, is implementing a programme on integrated home gardens in Benin - a series of pictures.
Even though COVID-19 poses a threat to the health of humanity, the reaction to the pandemic must not cause more suffering than the disease itself. This is particularly relevant for poor developing countries, where the impact of the corona crisis on food security is even more severe!
In most African countries, the infection COVID-19 is likely to trigger a combined health and food crisis. This means: In order to cope with this unprecedented crisis, consistently aligning our policies to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is more important than ever, our author maintains.
COVID-19 has unprecedented effects on the world. As always, the most vulnerable are the hardest hit, both at home and - especially - abroad. A joint appeal by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Development and Cooperation (BMZ) and the Department for International Development (DFID).
Nutrition experts from all over the world are coming together in Rome. They are not only distilling 2000 ideas to improve food systems - they are also preparing for the big UN summit in New York in September. An interview.
Journalist Jan Rübel spoke with Joao Campari ahead of the UNFSS Pre-Summit. The Chair of Action Track 3 highlights key challenges in transforming existing food systems towards sustainable production and shares his expectations for the Summit.
A contribution by Dr. Karin Gaesing and Prof. Dr. Frank Bliss (INEF)
Especially in densely populated areas, land pressure leads to overexploitation of available land and a lack of conservation measures. The West African country of Benin, with heavily depleted soils in many places, is no exception.
A Contribution by Emile Frison and Nick Jacobs (IPES-Food)
While having failed to solve the hunger problem, industrial agriculture appears to be causing additional ones both in environmental and health terms. Emile Frison and Nick Jacobs call for a transformation.
Fish is important for combating malnutrition and undernourishment. But it is not only notable for its nutritional value, but also secures the livelihoods and employment for 600 million people worldwide.
Three quarters of the world's population do not have secure land rights, which hinders investment and innovation. The project "Improvement of Livelihood and Food Security" supports smallholder farmers in acquiring land.
The G7 is responding to the worsening global hunger crisis by mobilizing an additional $4.5 billion for this year alone. A key milestone for this in the run-up was the international conference on global food security "Uniting for Global Food Security".
Healthy, productive soils are a prerequisite for global food security – one of the priorities of German development cooperation. State Secretary Jochen Flasbarth on Germany’s efforts to support sustainable land management and why the VGGT are more important than ever today.
How can we reach more people with successful approaches to food security? In Berlin, an international conference organized by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationaler Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) addressed this issue.
How to maintain functioning food markets in global food supply chains in the face of vulnerability and disruption? Markets that support local and territorial food systems are part of the solution. Thomas Forster presents proposals for these markets to cope with future shocks.
The Global Alliance for Food Security (GAFS), jointly launched by the German G7 Presidency and the World Bank, released the Global Food and Nutrition Security Dashboard during COP27: A Rapid Response Tool for Coordinating Global Action for Food Security.
Four interviews kick off the relaunch under the new name „Food4Transformation“, asking the same questions from different perspectives. Mareike Haase and Stig Tanzmann from Brot für die Welt explain why the right to food, inclusivity, agroecology and food sovereignty are the central levers for a successful transformation.