Cereals have for years, if not centuries been used as feeds for animals, fish and chicken. With the current shortage in production being a result of the prevalent drought especially in the tropical regions, it is imminent that a suitable alternative be found as soon as now.
There should be a significant reduction in the use of cereals as feeds. This can be done in a “green” economy by increasing food energy efficiency using fish discards, capture and recycling of post harvest losses, waste and development of new technology, thereby increasing food energy efficiency by 30-50% at the current production levels.
According to The Environmental Food Crisis, increasing the food energy efficiency provides a critical path for significant growth in food supply without compromising environmental sustainability.
As a result, the individuals living in drought stricken regions could have an extra meal or two contrary to what they can currently afford.
Inorder to decrease the risk of highly volatile prices, price regulation on commodities and larger cereal stocks should be created to buffer the tight markets of food commodities and subsequent risks of speculation in markets.
This includes reorganizing the food market infrastructure and institutions to regulate food prices and provide food safety nets aimed at alleviating the impact of rising food prices and food shortage, including both direct and indirect transfers, such as a global fund to support micro-finance to boost small-scale farmer productivity. The Environmental Food Crisis
We ought to support farmers in developing diversified and resilient eco-agriculture systems that provide critical ecosystem services (water supply and regulation, habitat for wild plants and animals genetic diversity, pollination, pest control, climate regulation), as well as adequate food to meet local and consumer needs.
This also includes managing extreme rainfall and using inter-cropping to minimize dependency on external inputs like artificial fertilizers, pesticides, irrigation water and the development, implementation and support of green technology for small-scale farmers. The Environmental Food Crisis.
Food waste contributes greatly to world hunger. One solution includes placing a greater emphasis on post-harvest food preservation methods such as solar refridgeration, intelligent packaging and creating a world food preservation center. Charles. L. Wilson, Ph.D
Drought normally hits crops at the flowering and seed stages, which is critical in determining the size of a crop’s harvest. Therefore, we need to look beyond the traditional food crops that we have become accustomed to, and start growing those that can withstand harsh weather conditions.
According to Science Daily, lead researcher Dr. Kai Xun Chan from the ANU Research of Biology said that the team discovered an enzyme that senses adverse drought and sunlight conditions, and how it works from atomic to overall plant levels.
This way the crops will be able to react and adjust in terms of nutrient intake. In turn, they will be able to grow to maturity despite the harsh weather conditions.
Given that we can only do much to change the current weather and climatic patterns, why not adapt to them accordingly?
The talk of food shortage in the tropical regions has dominated headlines of late. This has largely been because of the prolonged dry spell that has of recent faded away.
Irrigation has proven to be a viable remedy to the unpredictable prolonged dry spells across the globe. Many countries that are geographically located in hot and semi-arid regions ,like Egypt have established mega Irrigation schemes that support plantations in the hottest of times.
In my opinion, countries in East Africa with Uganda being the case in point, ought to borrow a leaf or two and go the Irrigation way. This way, production of food crops could be enhanced, especially among the large scale farmers.
As a result, not only will there be increased production, but the surplus produce could also counter increased demand in times of food shortage.
Market days were very exciting and filled with lots of anticipation. Trucks loaded with bags of potatoes, corn, huge banches of matooke (green bananas) moving in and out of the market. Men clad in muddy clothes carrying and delivering these bags to market vendors, who were waiting with big smiles on their faces.
“This is going to be a profitable day!” One would hear the vendors whisper. That’s me being nostalgic, dwelling on the good old days. Days where having three meals wasn’t a priviledge, because food was in plenty.
“Studies have shown that the combination of increased levels of Carbondioxide in the atmosphere, rising temperatures and changes in precipitation may result in significantly lower yields for staple crops such as corn and wheat, particularly in the tropical areas where food production is normally high.” Dr. Sam Myers told Live Science.
This is already evident in Uganda today. A local farmer in Agago District, while talking to BBC focus on Africa said that because of food shortage, a cup of beans previously selling at Ushs 800 now goes for Ushs 2700 for half a cup! In many parts of Uganda, lives are in peril with over 1.6 million people facing starvation and close to 10 million others being underfed.
Inspite of the current rains, this food crisis isn’t over yet because it will probably take 3-4 months before the next harvest.
Global warming is definately playing a big role in the food shortage in Uganda.