Four years after a global crisis sent food prices soaring, the world continues to struggle with hunger and food price volatility. To combat global hunger, we clearly need a new strategy.
The John Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) has explored potential approaches to strengthening the global food system. Just last week, journalists Alan Bjerga and Roger Thurow visited the school to speak about ways in which the world community can improve food production and combat global hunger. We've summarized their recommendations into five key points:
1. Increase investments in agriculture, and in African small farmers in particular. In order to meet global demand, food production will have to double food production by 2050. Because African small farmers lag behind in crop yields, they have the highest potential to expand production.
2. Increase access to credit for small farmers. Without financing, small farmers cannot increase production. Before farmers can afford new seeds and fertilizers, they first need access to credit.
3. Provide small farmers with access to inputs and training. Even with financing, farmers still need a market where they can purchase seeds and fertilizers, as well as the proper education to be able to use them.
4. Help farmers cope with shocks by developing storage capacity and crop insurance products. Proper storage facilities allow farmers to stockpile food in case of an emergency, such as drought, and permit the smoothing of supplies to smoothly get to local markets. Furthermore, crop insurance protects small farmers from disasters that affect their food security, livelihoods and the future of their farms.
5. Increase the global diversity of food production. Food production is currently concentrated in a few regions of the world, leaving the international food system vulnerable to regional shocks. Increasing food production in regions like Africa would help to mitigate the effect of regional droughts, floods or diseases on global food prices.
The discussion was part of a series of events focused on agriculture and food security at SAIS as a part of their “Year of Agriculture.” For more information, visit their website.