“Food security comprises all people having physical, social, and economic access to enough, secure, and nutritious food that suits their food choices and dietary needs for an active and healthy life at all times,” – United Nations Committee on World Food Security.
Four (4) components of food security have been identified as follows:
National Availability: It refers to the amount of food that is physically accessible in a certain region or location. Local production, imports, stock levels, and net trade-in food goods determine food availability.
Household Accessibility: This refers to all individuals having economic, social, and physical access to food at all times. The availability of sufficient food at the regional, national, or international level does not indicate that it is also available at the home level. It must be readily available and economical in the local area.
Individual Utilization refers to how the body uses and benefits from diverse food ingredients. Food quality, nutritional values, cooking technique, storage, and eating schedule all influence utilization.
Stability relates to the consistency with which food is available, accessible, and used through time. Even if a person has adequate access to high-quality food today, he has still deemed food insecure if he has periodic insufficient access to food, causing his nutritional status to degrade.
Food insecurity has become a chronic issue in many African countries due to the following factors: (1) political instability and crises; (2) short or long civil wars and conflicts; (3) institutional corruption; (4) misdirected economic policies and mismanagement; (5) lack of committed political leadership; and (6) neglect of farmers; and (7) lack of clear financial and economic investment into the agricultural sector.
Technology is a general term that describes procedures, skills, methods and techniques used to produce goods in various industries. The technology required to achieve food security varies from country to country. Technology is a crucial factor today, and its application in agriculture is even more critical in minimizing disease-related crop losses, extending market access, and achieving optimal pricing for agricultural inputs, services, and output. Agriculture’s use of technology may help increase crop output and develop more resistant varieties, ensuring that farmers get a good investment return.
Here are some of the ways Technology can help in solving Food Security in Africa:
Water Storage Technologies
Examples of Water Storage Technologies include:
This is the process of turning wastewater into water that may be reused for other uses, known as water reclamation. Irrigating gardens and agricultural areas, as well as replenishing surface and groundwater, are examples of waste reuse.
This entails little mechanical soil disturbance, permanent soil cover with living or dead plant material, and crop diversity through rotation or intercropping. It helps farmers maintain and increase yields and profits while simultaneously repairing land degradation, protecting the environment, and responding to the growing challenges posed by climate change.
As the name implies, it is a method of farming that allows for the development of a wide variety of crops, such as leafy vegetables, herbs, fruits, and flowers, totally indoors. It can produce crops all year. Indoor vertical farming systems provide organic food that is agrochemical-free.
It is a building with walls and a roof, mostly constructed with transparent material, such as glass, in which plants that require controlled climatic conditions are grown. This method is used to cultivate plants in a favourable environment. It also protects plants from harsh climatic conditions such as wind, cold, precipitation, extreme heat, insects, and diseases.
Agriculture Robotic Technologies
An agricultural robot is a machine used in agriculture. Some emerging agricultural uses for robots or drones include weed management, cloud seeding, seed planting, harvesting, environmental monitoring, and soil analysis. Read more on Agricultural Robotic and Drone Technology here.
Food Preservation Technologies
These include some technologies that help to limit the growth of germs like yeasts (although other methods work by adding harmless bacteria or fungus to the food) and reduce the oxidation of lipids that produce rancidity. Food waste may be decreased by preserving food, an integral approach to lower production costs and enhance food system efficiency, improving food security and nutrition, and contributing to environmental sustainability.
In as much as having these technologies does not guarantee total eradication of hunger that hunger. However, the purpose is to make all of these tools more widely available while also ensuring that they suit the needs of the farmers who use them. The effectiveness and impact of these tools and programs should be tracked and assessed, and unsuccessful ones should be modified or replaced.
To guarantee that food security is eradicated in Africa, many skilled experts with the necessary skills should be available and used.
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