FOOD security has been and will continue to be a huge challenge because
it is vital to the health and well-being of people throughout the world.
In today’s world, because of climate change and changing weather patterns and an increasing global population, proper food security governance has become a crucial issue.
Agriculture not only suffers the impacts of climate change, it is also responsible for 14 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions. But agriculture has the potential to be an important part of the solution, through mitigation — reducing and/or removing — a significant amount of global emissions. Some 70 percent of this mitigation potential could be realized in developing countries.
According to the United Nations (UN) Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), climate change poses many threats to agriculture, including the reduction of agricultural productivity, production stability and incomes in areas of the world that already have high levels of food insecurity and limited means of coping with adverse weather. Being able to transform agriculture to feed a growing population in the face of a changing climate without hindering the natural resource base will not only achieve food security goals but also help mitigate the negative effects of climate change. More productive and resilient agriculture will need better management of natural resources, such as land, water, soil and genetic resources through practices, such as conservation agriculture, integrated pest management, agro-forestry and sustainable diets.
At a recent meeting in Nairobi, Kenya, the Director-General of the FAO, José Graziano da Silva, told a ministerial meeting on food price volatility that continuing food price volatility requires improved global governance of food security.
“Food prices and volatility have increased in recent years. This is expected to continue in the medium-term,” he said, according to an FAO statement.
“In this context, it is important to improve governance of food security. In the globalized world we live in, it's not possible to have food security in one country alone,” he added.
French Minister Stéphane Le Foll, who moderated the meeting, said: “In the course of its G20 Presidency and in the face of the risk of tension on the grain market, President François Hollande called for a high-level meeting on global agricultural governance.”
“France will continue to support any political initiatives and any concrete plans in this direction,” Hollande was quoted as saying.
In Guyana, due to good agricultural governance, policies and programmes, this country has been able to achieve self-sufficiency in food and as well as being a net exporter of food.
However, this should not allow us to fall into a sense of complacency, especially in the context of current global trends whereby in several parts of the world food shortages and lower agricultural production is a frequent occurrence.
On this note, Agriculture Minister, Dr. Leslie Ramsammy has correctly pointed this out recently when he delivered his address at the World Food Day observance at his ministry.
Dr. Ramsammy cautioned that Guyana’s food security should not lead to nonchalance, imprudence and arrogance. For while the nation is producing enough food to feed every person in the country, pockets of people do exist who are not food secure.
He acknowledged that sometimes the supply and distribution chain does not work to ensure that all persons have what they need, and this is an issue that needs to be addressed.
The minister warned that while Guyana may be food secure, citizens must be careful to make healthy choices in the foods they eat. Malnutrition has been reduced drastically across the country, to single digit percentages; and Vitamin A deficiency, which has plagued other countries around the world, no longer exists in Guyana.
This is indeed a very trite observation by the minister, because while we are producing enough food, the question of accessibility and affordability do arise in certain instances and it should be addressed expeditiously.
Perhaps, a good approach in dealing with this very important issue is through a collaborative and collective effort by the Ministries of Agriculture, Health, Education, Human Services and Social Security and Amerindian Affairs.