Food Security

Food Security

There are two stories being told about food security. One story says we are food secure and the other says we are not. The stories are being told – and written – by various people with different intentions. There are those who weave dreams, where fiction reigns and happy endings preside. Then there are those who tell it like it is.

In February, Kenya edged closer to commercial cultivation of genetically modified (GM) crops after the National Biosafety Authority (NBA) approved open-air field trials of Bt-maize. If the new trials prove successful, it is likely that authorities will allow commercial cultivation. Consumers have been uninformed about their consumption of genetically engineered foods in the past and the regulating bodies that are supposed to protect our right to information fail to do so. We should ask ourselves, do we support or do we disagree with open-field testing and the move towards lifting the ban on producing genetically modified food in Kenya?  

Healthy soils are crucial to human nutrition and the fight against hunger. But worldwide 24 billion tons of fertile soil is lost annually. Barbara Unmüßig calls attention to the growing threat to one of Earth’s most important resources.

The United Nations has declared 2015 to be the International Year of Soils, and April 19-23 marks this year’s Global Soil Week. Such events, though not exactly glamorous, do not receive nearly the amount of attention they deserve.

“Over 80 per cent of Kenya’s population of 40 million derives their livelihoods from agriculture and pastoralism. Four million small farm households produce three-quarters of the country’s food. The key actors are women, who account for 75 per cent of the labour force in small-scale agriculture, manage 40 per cent of small farms and play the major role in food preparation and storage. Yet Kenya’s farmers face massive challenges. Their landholdings are small, productivity is low and most have little access to inputs, financial services and markets to sell any surplus produce. Poverty and hunger remain deep and persistent. Around 48 per cent of Kenyans, especially subsistence farmers and pastoralists, live in poverty and over 40 per cent – around 16 million people - lack sufficient food”.

Losing Ground

We are using the world’s soils as if they were inexhaustible, continually withdrawing from an account, but never paying in. At the start of the International Year of Soils 2015, the Soil Atlas - Facts and Figures about Earth, Land and Fields – demonstrate why the protection of soil is important to us all.

Women across all sectors of society are leading the way in efforts to build resilience and adapt to the impacts of climate change.

To highlight on effective climate actions, on 22 September 2014, UN Women and the Mary Robinson Foundation – Climate Justice, co-hosted the Leaders’ Forum on Women Leading the Way: Raising Ambition for Climate Action in New York City.

In order to shed more light on the Forum, the Heinrich Böll Stiftung (HBS) interviewed Ms Cecilia Kibe, the Executive Director Kenya Climate Justice Women Champions (KCJWC), who participated in this Forum in her capacity.

The farmers of 2050 will have to produce an extra 150 million tonnes of meat to satisfy our global hunger - This is one of the facts in the analysis of the big business of the global meat trade.

The Environment Forum on GMOs is a public platform to encourage the debate on issues of food security and to exchange knowledge among citizens and experts to inform the policy making process.

In order to bring together stakeholders in the agriculture sector to interact and exchange views on the pertinent issues affecting the sector, this workshop was organized by Heinrich Böll Stiftung East & Horn of Africa in Eldoret, Kenia.

Our Publications on Food Security

Meat Atlas: How over-consumption and intensive meat production wreck the planet

The publication Meat Atlas sheds light on the impacts of meat and dairy production, and aims to catalyse the debate over the need for better, safer and more sustainable food and farming.

Study: A Soiled Reputation: Adverse Impacts of Mineral Fertilizers in Tropical Agriculture

In view of the renaissance that fertilizer subsidies are experiencing in many tropical and subtropical countries, this study provides an overview of the economic and ecological barriers and of the potential for using mineral fertilizers in such regions.

Critique of the Green Economy - Toward Social and Environmental Equity

The idea of growth as the way to end poverty and escape economic and financial crisis remains largely undisputed and is currently reflected in the concept of the green economy. But not everything that is “green” and efficient is also environmentally sustainable and socially equitable. This essay outlines a policy of less, of wealth in moderation, to enable the Earth’s resources to make a life of dignity and without need possible for all.

Less hunger through more ecology: Feeding the world with organic farming

Although the world's population has reached seven billion people, there is sufficient food in the world to feed the global population. Still about 1 billion are undernourished. How can we feed the world? And what role do environmental issues in agriculture play?

Global Governance for World Food Security: A Scorecard Four Years After the Eruption of the “Food Crisis”

The 2007–2008 world food price crisis caused political and economical instability and social unrest in both poor and developed nations. This was only the latest example for a functioning food system being an indispensable pillar of a stable economy and a society capable of reproducing itself. A new study outlines steps how the intergovernmental Committee on World Food Security could be expanded towards a politically relevant international steering committee.

The Ocean Atlas illustrates the important role played by the ocean and its ecosystems – not only for people living on the coasts but for all of us. It aims to give a current insight of the state and the threat of the seas, that are our livelihoods.

Catch up with all our latest publications.

This edition of Perspectives contributes to the ongoing debate on infrastructure development in Africa by sharing snapshots of experience from around the continent, exploring questions about democratic participation, the role of human and environmental rights, and economic transformation.

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