Issue: Food Security and Sustainable Agriculture
Food security is a state where all members of a household, at all times, have access to enough food for an active and healthy life. In many places in the world, achieving this simple-sounding state is a true challenge.
Food insecurity is chiefly caused by poverty — a lack of resources makes it impossible for many to purchase food when prices rise, or, for subsistence farmers, when falling crop prices or failing harvests leave families with no options to obtain food. As the climate changes, agricultural yields are becoming more volatile; the effects of climate change are expected to get worse in the near future.
The developing world is the flashpoint for much of the world's food insecurity: 67% of the world's under-fed live in Asia, despite substantial economic progress, and the UN estimates one-quarter of Africa's population to be undernourished.
Food security is a highly visible problem, and as a result has been the focus of attention by secular and religious non-governmental organizations, foundation donors, governmental donors, nongovernmental donors, and private donors. At this point, a lot is known about the causes of food insecurity, and short-term “treatments” in response to acute food shortages have been very successful, but a lasting cure for chronic and systemic food insecurity has been elusive over the years.
Our efforts can be grouped under the larger theme of “Cooperation and Capacity Building for Food Security”; we expect to focus on the following specific areas:
- Governance, Markets, & Cooperation. Analyzing the government's role in aiding food production, distribution, and pricing, as well as investigating ways to make the market more efficient and improve access.
- Human Capital. Determining ways to empower farmers to increase both agricultural and economic security, with a special focus on issues specific to female farmers.
- Cultivation & Agricultural Technology. Managing resources to improve output, with an eye to ecological sustainability and environmental preservation.