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Daily Archives: July 28, 2018

Raising Agrifood Yields is Not Enough to Achieve Global Food Security

Raising Agrifood Yields is Not Enough to Achieve Global Food Security

Solving Hunger Through Post-Harvest Loss Reduction

People are still hungry. Despite decades of increasing agricultural yields in less-industrialized regions of the world, in large part thanks to the support from international agencies such as USAID, The Rockefeller Foundation, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, hunger persists. According to the Famine Early Warning Systems Network, food production over the past five years has generally increased worldwide. We grow enough food to feed the world’s population. Why does food security remain so elusive? The answer to global hunger lies in the food supply chain—specifically in reducing the amount of food that rots or becomes contaminated before reaching consumers, or as it is otherwise known, “post-harvest loss.”

According to the FAO and USAID, up to 50 percent of all food produced in low-income countries is lost due to improper handling and storage. The magnitude of this loss is alarming, especially in light of increasing food insecurity due to population growth, forced migration, and climate change. Many populations now rely on food aid, originally intended for emergency famine relief. Rather than treating the symptoms of the problem, however, the long-term solution requires an intimate understanding of the issue at a systems level.

To keep pace with demand, farmers have traditionally been encouraged to increase crop and livestock yields. This is a destructive, unsustainable strategy. Increasing productivity to improve food security implies increasing land conversion and water use, raising important social and environmental tradeoffs. While expanding the amount of land under cultivation strains already limited resources in many countries, growing the size of livestock populations further deteriorates land with a compounded impact of greenhouse gas emissions on our shared atmosphere.

Upon closer examination, the weak link in the food supply chain is inadequate post-harvest storage. Could private sector investment provide the solution to this broad challenge? Could local governments and businesses create public-private partnerships to reduce this unnecessary loss of food?

Post-harvest loss has long been recognized as a serious, yet “solvable problem.” Consider these three stages in the supply chain to understand where interventions may be most effective:

  1. Harvest to Storage: Moving the harvest from field to intermediate storage is a critical stage influenced by weather, availability of labor, and transportation logistics. The timing of the harvest can be negatively influenced by economic or environmental factors that cause the crop to be harvested too early, or too late, to survive the trip to the consumer.
  1. Storage to Market: The location and proximity of adequate pre-market storage presents its own issues that can drastically reduce the amount of consumable food. Cold storage is rarely available in less-industrialized countries, where hot climates contribute to accelerated spoilage. This results in short storage life for meat, poultry, and fish, as well as most fruits and vegetables.
    Crops may be stored for an extended period of time due to factors such as weather and market prices. Inadequate storage attracts insects, mold, and rodents and is the most common cause of losses.  Theft can also be a factor, when crops are kept in unsecured locations. The storage stage is where the most food is lost, therefore it is the key to reducing overall post-harvest losses.
  1. Market to Consumer: Transportation and market factors play a critical role in the final stage of the supply chain. If the market destination is far from the storage site, transportation, heat, and pests will continue to be negative factors. Handling prior to sale to consumers raises the issue of food safety. Food that has degraded during the journey from the field to the market is often discarded by the vendor as unsalable waste. If food goes unsold at the market due to its poor condition, it is also discarded, while spoiled food that is consumed can lead to a variety of human illnesses.

At every stage in the journey from field to fork, heat, pests, and improper handling cause losses. Updating traditional, unsophisticated storage and handling methods will result in an increase in available food for distribution and consumption.

At every stage in the journey from field to fork, heat, pests, and improper handling cause losses. Updating traditional, unsophisticated storage and handling methods will result in an increase in available food for distribution and consumption.

Storage to the (Food) Rescue
Building regional storage facilities to improve pre-market storage is among the most promising strategies to reduce post-harvest losses. The technology exists and advanced agricultural economies have demonstrated the efficacy of constructing modular storage and silo facilities. The same model is necessary in less-developed countries where eliminating food loss translates to sparing millions of people from hunger, disease, and hardship.

The supply chain for agricultural commodities can be greatly improved through training and a financial investment from the growing social impact investment sector. Social impact investors choose to financially support enterprises that produce both a market rate return and a social benefit. Among impact investors, this is known as the “double bottom line.” Add environmental benefits to the equation and investors receive the trifecta of desired outcomes—the triple bottom line return on investment!

Presently, very few private sector projects address crop storage and distribution because businesses are reluctant to invest in the agricultural sector in low-income countries. De-risking these investment opportunities is key to their acceptance and success. Development Impact Bonds (DIB) are a new, structured financing tool that creates a public-private sector opportunity for investors to limit risk exposure. DIBs may provide the missing link in the creation of successful regional storage networks for agricultural commodities. Modernized storage facilities represent a potentially profitable value chain solution that is starting to attract the attention of investors in the agricultural sector.

Private investment in better storage technology stands as a logical solution. As impact investors recognize the appeal of supporting storage projects, which can result in market rate returns while improving smallholder farmer livelihoods and community resilience. Correcting the market failure of post-harvest loss can end hunger in our lifetimes.

This article is part of a series on “solvable problems” within the context of the UN Sustainable Development Goals. The Global Engagement Forum: Live takes place this October 10–11, 2018, bringing together leaders from across the private, public, and social sectors to co-create solutions and partnerships to address four urgent, yet solvable problems—
closing the skills gap in STEM, reducing post-harvest food loss, ending energy poverty, and eliminating marine debris and ocean plastics. 

The post Raising Agrifood Yields is Not Enough to Achieve Global Food Security appeared first on PYXERA Global.

New Study Demonstrates Significant Role Food Banks Play in Improving Food Security

Feeding America concluded a two-year, randomized controlled research trial to help low-income Americans better manage and control type 2 diabetes. The study, which was recently published in the , concluded that food banks can significantly improve food security and dietary intake for people served. After six months, study participants in the intervention group had significant improvements in food security, fruit and vegetable intake, food stability, and tradeoffs between food and diabetes management supplies.

The goal of the trial was to determine the effectiveness of a food bank-based intervention in improving blood sugar control and other outcomes for clients living with uncontrolled type 2 diabetes.  Although there were no significant differences in clinical outcomes related to diabetes between the two groups at six months, there was one exception: intervention group participants who fully engaged in all project components did experience significant improvements in HbA1c (a measure of long-term blood sugar control) levels compared to less engaged participants.

“The results of FAITH-DM reinforce Feeding America’s strategic focus on increasing access to nutritious foods and improving diet quality for the people we serve,” said Carol Medlin, Chief Impact Officer at Feeding America. “With a network of 200 food banks across the country, we are in a unique position to address hunger and improve the health and well-being of the 46 million people who turn to us for help.”

Dr. Hilary Seligman, senior medical advisor at Feeding America and associate professor of medicine at UCSF, was the Principal Investigator for the study. Dr. Seligman is one of the nation’s foremost experts on the health implications of food insecurity. Her work focuses on the intersection between food insecurity and health, particularly on the prevention and management of chronic disease.

“This is the first rigorously conducted study of which we are aware that demonstrates food banks improve food security,” said Dr. Seligman. “But in order to also improve health outcomes for people facing food insecurity, we need to better integrate the work of food banks, healthcare, and other organizations addressing social health determinants. Feeding America is committed to developing those partnerships and the evidence for what is effective.”

More than 30 million Americans have diabetes and research shows that individuals who are low income and food insecure have an increased risk of developing diet-sensitive chronic diseases, like type 2 diabetes, and are at higher risk for poor management of these chronic diseases.  Moreover, Feeding America’s report  found that a third of households that receive assistance from food banks had at least one member with diabetes.

The trial builds on the results from a previous observational study conducted by Feeding America between 2011 and 2014. The findings of that study were published in the November 2015 issue of Health Affairs.

The components of the six-month FAITH-DM intervention were:

  • Screening adults at community food distributions for diabetes and monitoring of blood sugar control
  • Distributing diabetes-appropriate food, amounting to enough food to meet approximately 25% of a household’s monthly food needs
  • Referring clients who lacked a usual source of medical care to local primary care providers
  • Providing formal diabetes self-management education and support

Funding for the trial was provided by Feeding America, the Laura and John Arnold Foundation, the Urban Institute via a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation grant, National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases of the National Institutes of Health, and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Feeding America is the nation’s largest hunger-relief organization with 200 member food banks.


ADB to support Uzbekistan’s agro industry, ensure food security

ADB to support Uzbekistan’s agro industry, ensure food security

Baku, Azerbaijan, July 27

By Fikret Dolukhanov – Trend:

The Asian Development Bank’s (ADB) Board of Directors has approved a new long-term corporate strategy, Strategy 2030, that sets out the institution’s broad vision and strategic response to the evolving needs of Asia and the Pacific, the Bank’s press office stated.

“Asia and the Pacific has made great progress over the last half century in poverty reduction and economic growth, but there are unfinished development agendas,” ADB President Takehiko Nakao said . “Under Strategy 2030, we will combine finance, knowledge, and partnerships to sustain our efforts to eradicate extreme poverty and expand our vision towards a prosperous, inclusive, resilient, and sustainable region.”

ADB’s aspirations are aligned with major global commitments such as the Sustainable Development Goals, the Financing for Development agenda, the Paris Agreement on climate change, and the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction. Given the size of Asia and the Pacific, achieving such commitments will depend critically on the region’s success.

Strategy 2030 recognizes that the ambitious global development agenda must be tailored to specific local circumstances. ADB will strengthen its country-focused approach, promote the use of innovative technologies, and deliver integrated interventions that combine expertise across a range of sectors and themes and through a mix of public and private sector operations.

ADB will continue to prioritize support for the region’s poorest and most vulnerable countries. It will apply differentiated approaches to meet the diverse needs of various groups of countries: fragile and conflict-affected situations, small island developing states, low-income and lower middle-income countries, and upper middle-income countries. Across these country groups, ADB will also prioritize support for lagging areas and pockets of poverty and fragility.

Infrastructure investments, particularly those that are green, sustainable, inclusive, and resilient, will remain a key priority. At the same time, ADB will expand operations in social sectors, such as education, health, and social protection.

ADB’s support will focus on seven operational priorities: addressing remaining poverty and reducing inequalities; accelerating progress in gender equality; tackling climate change, building climate and disaster resilience, and enhancing environmental sustainability; making cities more livable; promoting rural development and food security; strengthening governance and institutional capacity; and fostering regional cooperation and integration.

At least 75 percent of the number of ADB’s committed operations (on a 3-year rolling average, including sovereign and nonsovereign operations) will promote gender equality by 2030. ADB will ensure that 75 percent of the number of its committed operations will be supporting climate change mitigation and adaptation by 2030. Climate finance from ADB’s own resources will reach $80 billion for the period 2019 to 2030. A new corporate results framework, expected to be ready in mid-2019, will include more targets for ADB’s other operational priorities.

To support the seven operational priorities under Strategy 2030, ADB will expand and diversify its private sector operations to reach one third of ADB operations in number by 2024.

“We will expand our private sector operations in new and frontier markets, such as fragile and conflict-affected situations and small island developing states. We will also support more public-private partnerships,” Nakao said.

ADB’s private sector operations will help improve environmental, social, and governance standards; provide financing that is not available from the market at reasonable terms; improve project design and development outcomes; and mitigate perceived risks. In addition to innovative infrastructure, they will increase support for agribusiness, and support social sectors such as health and education through private ventures.

ADB will continue to be a reliable financier and catalyzer of finance.

“A key measure of our success will be the volume and quality of additional resources we mobilize on top of our own financing,” Nakao added.

ADB targets a substantial increase in long-term cofinancing by 2030, with every $1 in financing for its private sector operations matched by $2.50 in long-term cofinancing.

The institution will also work closely with its developing member countries to produce the most relevant knowledge products and services. It will proactively engage in research, provide high-quality policy advice, strengthen countries’ institutional capacity, and expand knowledge partnerships.

As it strives to be stronger, better, and faster, ADB will pursue a dramatic modernization of its business processes by taking advantage of available technology. It will expand its products and instruments, strengthen human resources, and accelerate its digital transformation. ADB is committed to diversity in the workforce, including promoting gender balance and a respectful work environment for all. ADB will institute a “One ADB” approach, bringing together knowledge and expertise across the organization. It will collaborate with civil society organizations in designing, implementing, and monitoring projects.

In preparing Strategy 2030, extensive consultations were carried out with a wide and representative group of stakeholders across ADB’s membership, leading development experts, and civil society organizations.

ADB is committed to achieving a prosperous, inclusive, resilient, and sustainable Asia and the Pacific, while sustaining its efforts to eradicate extreme poverty. Established in 1966, it is owned by 67 members, 48 from the region. In 2017, ADB operations totaled $32.2 billion, including $11.9 billion in cofinancing.

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