Feeding nine billion: How can we achieve Global Food Security?

By 2050, the world’s human population will reach over nine billion. Nearly all of this increase will occur in developing countries. Urbanisation is going to rise at an accelerating rate and income levels could multiply. With an extra two billion mouths to feed each day, how can we ensure Global Food Security is achieved by 2050?

Harsh increases in global and national markets, and the resulting surges in hungry and malnourished people have sharpened the awareness of the general public and policy-makers on the issue that is the global food system. Political will and effective responses must be utilised to render the system better prepared for long-term demand and to ensure it is more resilient towards risk factors that confront world agriculture and adequate food supply.

On average, around five million children die each year due to poor nutrition. According to the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), almost 1 billion people suffer from chronic hunger.  Before addressing the issue of our rapidly increasing population, we should question the current situation. As an international community who want to eliminate world hunger, the problem should be viewed from a human rights perspective, and those who have previously been disregarded in development planning must have a place: equality, human rights and economics must frame the sustainable development goals, (SDGs).

Increased food production is not sufficient to achieve global food security. The fight against hunger requires policies to enhance access to fighting poverty, safety net programmes, health and sanitation, food assistance, education and training improvements. Research and development for sustained productivity growth, infrastructure and institutional reforms, environmental services and sustainable resource management necessitate increased investment. Policies should not only focus on supply growth, but also the access to food the world’s poor and hungry need to ensure them an active and healthy life, a journal from Nature stated.

As rural populations expand quicker than agricultural employment, there will be an increased demand for jobs out of the agricultural sector. As competition for space between water and agriculture increases, it must be recognised that we need more from less land. Issues such as climate change, natural habitat preservation and biodiversity need to be taken into account, especially as converting tropical rainforest to agricultural land is a very destructive process, one which we have already exploited. It needs to be asked, what can be done for countries with high demand growth, fragile environments and limited commercial capacity to import food or feed from the world markets?

With increased prosperity in developing countries, diets will shift from grains and other staple crops to vegetables, fruits, meat, dairy, and fish. It has been estimated that meat production alone will have to rise by over 200 million tonnes to reach the required 470 million tonnes worldwide.

It is not only food production that is an issue; many regions in East/North Africa and South Africa have pronounced water scarcity which is likely to worsen due to the effects of climate change. Higher temperatures, carbon dioxide elevation, precipitation changes, increased weeds,pests and disease pressure are some of the products of climate change, which can hold dangerous implications on achieving global food security.

It seems, realistically, that is not necessarily all about space. Agricultural expansion does not appear as a sustainable solution for the problem. Improvements in organic and commercial farming, increasing yields on less productive farmlands, preventing deforestation, shifting to less meat-intensive diets in countries where meat is consumed regularly and reducing waste can all hold positive impacts, say the National Geographic.However, there are many factors that also need to be taken into account. The use of biofuels, pollution, overall capacities, foreign investment capacity in developing countries and the fact that the FAO estimates future consumption levels country by country should be considered.

We have the resources and technology required to eradicate world hunger. However, in order to utilise these resources, proper socioeconomic frameworks and political will is required. The way we shape the future for the global food system is up to us. The time for change is now.

Source: nouse

Bid to monitor sanitation service

A DRAFT policy which elevates sanitation as a priority and holds municipalities to account has received the backing of social justice groups.

The last time the policy on sanitation was reviewed was 10 years ago.

The Department of Water and Sanitation has drafted a new policy, and opened it for public comment until March14, with some of the focus areas being the right to access to basic sanitation services and prioritising hygiene and basic sanitation services to vulnerable people and unserviced households.

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Marie Brisley, the department’s water policy chief director said it will play a stronger role in ensuring municipalities budget properly and meet the standards in terms of wastewater works.

There has been no substantive policy regulating sanitation provision in South Africa, which has left implementation haphazard and without basic standards, Social Justice Coalition (SJC) spokesperson Axolile Notywala said on Tuesday.

Brisley admitted that sanitation provision had not received the necessary attention it required, and was usually the last thing municipalities budgeted for.

“That is why a lot of the wastewater treatment works are neglected and the water that goes back into the water resources does not meet the standards,” Brisley said.

At a public consultation in the city yesterday, SJC deputy general secretary Dustin Kramer said he liked aspects of the draft policy, and Ses’Khona People’s Rights Movement leader Loyiso Nkohla said the policy considered a wide range of issues.

Ses’Khona spearheaded a campaign for the installation of permanent toilets in informal settlements by dumping human faeces in public areas, notably the Cape Town International Airport.

“The government has done a wonderful job in covering issues on a wider spectrum. But they have neglected to include consultation from groups before drafting the policy,” Nkohla said.

In a statement, Notywala said: “Over several years, the SJC has led a campaign for clean and safe sanitation in informal settlements.

“Access to clean, safe and dignified sanitation facilities for all is one of the most basic rights. It is not a luxury. The continued violation of this right is one of apartheid’s greatest legacies and today’s most difficult challenges.

“We encourage communities and relevant stakeholders to make submissions and to ensure that the policy ultimately adopted is appropriate, and has the impact so urgently needed.”

Brisley said the country was expected to experience increased urbanisation, which will put strain on urban sanitation systems.

But at the same time, growing and changing settlements in rural areas are also putting pressure on small and limited sanitation systems.

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Green buildings, urbanization top agenda of Africities Johannesburg summit

Accelerating the pace of urbanization and migration and the disproportionate level of poverty and under development in Africa will top the agenda of the United Cities of Local Governments of Africa, UCLGA, summit slated to hold between November 29 and December 3, 2015 at the Sandton Convention Centre, in Johannesburg, South Africa.

The summit will also explore issues relating to public transportation, urban agriculture, informal trading, neighbourhood development, green buildings, parks and open spaces, and public safety in urban settings.

Green building, according to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, US EPA is the practice of creating structures and using processes that are environmentally responsible and resource-efficient throughout a building’s life-cycle from siting to design, construction, operation, maintenance, renovation and deconstruction.

Recently, the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change came up with a report which revealed that green buildings could be a key means of reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

According to the report, green buildings could play an essential role in any efforts to reduce the impact of anthropogenic global warming, particularly given projected gains in the emission levels of the international construction sector.

The construction sector which is a key contributor to global warming is expected to undergo a doubling of energy consumption and related emissions by mid-century across the globe, if it proceeds along its current path.

The Johannesburg summit tagged Africities 2015, according to the Secretary General, UCLGA, Jean-Pierre Elong-Mbassi, would be attended by the representative head of local governments across the continent and will be used to push for the principles of Pan-Africanism as well as to promote unity, solidarity, cohesion and cooperation among African people and African States.

Elong-Mbass told newsmen that the Africities Summit which is now in its 7th edition, will create a platform for tackling issues affecting urban“and economic development across the continent with a sharp focus on“collaborative partnerships, best practices, innovative and strategic thinking and solutions to the challenges of development and urbanisation.

He said: “With a vision of building the unity of Africa and promoting “its development through the grassroots, the UCLGA’s dedication“throughout its history has been driven by its commitment to the empowerment of local people in local communities and their“participation in the development of Africa and its governance.

“We have been campaigning for the decentralisation of power, referred to as, ‘the second liberation of the continent,’ as well as advocacy for citizenship through participation and collaboration, best practice and transparency in local government. “The summit is held every three years. This year, more than 5,000 participants are expected from across Africa and the globe, and over 25 open sessions for stakeholders ranging from the World Bank on one side, to slum dwellers on the other.
The theme of this year’s summit is “Shaping the Future of Africa with the People: Africa’s Local Government Contribution to the Africa 2063 Vision.”

Those expected to participate in the summit include local and national government officials, Heads of State, economists, city and financial planners, as well as investors and other stakeholders.

Source: vanguardngr

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SA’s water treatment works in critical state

Pretoria – SA’s water treatment works are in a poor to critical state and monitoring water quality was also becoming an increasing problem.

These were among some of the issues the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research [CSIR] raised on Wednesday.

CSIR senior researcher specialising in water quality and aquatic ecology James Dabrowski said there were 8 000 different pesticide products registered in the country.

“The Department of Water Affairs is responsible for registering them, but does not look at how it will impact water quality. The water department has to try and figure out how to monitor and deal with those things,” he said.

Monitoring the country’s water quality was also “an incredibly difficult task logistically”.

This was done by collecting regular samples from the hundreds of monitoring points that formed part of the water department’s National Chemical Monitoring Programme.

All the samples had to be sent to one laboratory for testing. Dabrowski cited research that only 41% of the samples collected as part of the programme were of an acceptable quality.

He said about half the country’s waste water treatment works were in a poor to critical state, due to infrastructure, capacity, and governance issues.

Due to urbanisation, the treatment plants could not handle the volume of effluent.

“It’s an infrastructure problem that will need large amounts of money to sort out.”

Other problems related to the manner in which water was managed, with CSIR researchers saying that players in the water sector were responding to problems in a fragmented way.

The National Water Act and the Blue and Green drop certification process was helping to create pockets of success, but there were problem areas, it said.

“At local government level, there are serious challenges. We are not addressing inefficiencies [in terms of how it is managed],” said Harrison Pienaar, the CSIR’s competency area manager for water resources.

Marius Claassen, principal researcher of resource specific scientific measures, reiterated the sentiment, saying it seemed as though government was caught in a “short term spin”, where problems were dealt with but there were no long-term solutions.

One example of the fragmented response in dealing with problems like water pollution caused by farming was in the lack of integration between the departments of water affairs and agriculture.

Source: news24

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France can aid SA in growth challenge

I VISITED SA this week to heighten our economic partnership and further strengthen our already rich relationship.

SA is a key player in Africa’s economy, a model for democracy and a major emerging power. We are aware of it, and this is why the rainbow nation is our first economic partner in sub-Saharan Africa.

More than 300 French companies, employing close to 30,000 people, are based here.

Some great successes, such as the Alstom contract with the Passenger Rail Agency of SA, which will create more than 30,000 new jobs, illustrate the dynamics for the greater benefit of our two nations.

France is also represented by its expatriate community. More than 9,000 people strong, it is incredibly dynamic and provides a connection between our two nations.

In various sectors, France can support SA and help it address its development challenges.

The transport sector, one of France’s sectors of excellence, is paramount to South African ambitions regarding urbanisation and sustainable development. There are huge opportunities to strengthen our partnership in that respect.

Energy represents a crucial challenge for the South African economy. France has extensive expertise in this field, especially regarding renewable energies, and French companies are already involved in the South African programme.

The same applies to the nuclear sector, with the Koeberg power plant built by France.

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Agribusiness is a vital sector for both our countries. Our markets must remain mutually attractive and regulations must be relaxed.

Since we can still learn from each other, continuing education is a key factor of our co-operation.

The future creation of a bilateral higher agricultural training institution, F’SAGRI, is an outstanding example of this common will.

Obviously, this co-operation must take place in accordance with South African rules.

Our companies are very committed to the training and broad-based black economic empowerment requirements defended by South African authorities.

Otherwise, our relationship would have no meaning.

But we can still do better and increase our co-operation. It is also the goal of my visit.

France is the world’s sixth-largest economy and represents a dynamic market of close to 70-million consumers. Yet, few South African companies have decided to set up business in France. We must welcome South Africans better.

When we speak of France, we always think of tourism. As the first world’s destination, and second European destination for South Africans, France and especially Reunion Island, so close to SA, are yours to visit. Come and discover it.

Likewise, France is only the fourth European supplier to SA, even though your country is experiencing full economic expansion.

We must do more. During my visit, I participated, with (Trade and Industry) Minister Rob Davies, in a meeting during which French and South African companies shared their commitment and paid tribute to their partnerships.

It is our joint responsibility to continue coming together.

My trip allowed me to reiterate France’s ambitious objectives about climate change in the context of the Conference of the Parties-21, taking place in Paris in December.

Our motivation can only be compared with that of SA, and together we shall join forces to mobilise the international community and obtain an ambitious agreement.

It is my hope that this profitable dialogue between our two countries will strengthen our relationship. Indeed, my coming to SA must be seen as a step, a link in the chain that unites two friendly nations.

Let us work together to consolidate this connection.

Source: BDLive


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South Africa construction market to be boosted by 10-15 year new city project in Modderfontein

The South African construction market is to be boosted by a new 10-15 year project funded by Chinese company, Shanghai Zendai, to build a new city in Modderfontein in eastern Johannesburg. Once compete, the city will include 35,000 new houses, an education centre, a hospital, and a sports stadium and will house around 100,000 residents.

Chinese firm Shanghai Zendai bought the 1,600 hectare plot of land back in November 2013 for R1.06 billion from South African chemical and explosive company AECI and has plans to develop the site into a world financial centre to rival New York City and Hong Kong. The project is forecast to take around 15 years to complete and will provide jobs for local contractors, engineers and other workers in its construction, as well as 100,000 jobs in the new services available upon completion. The new city site is located on the Gautrain route between the OR Tambo International Airport and the central business district of Sandton in eastern Johannesburg, and will soon include a new Modderfontein station to enable easy access.

The transaction to purchase the property was one of the single largest foreign investments ever in South Africa. Shanghai Zendai is a Hong Kong listed investment company that develops and manages property projects in northern China, Shanghai City and Hainan province and hopes that the Modderfontein project will create a new hub for Chinese firms looking to invest in sub-Saharan Africa.

South Africa is the second largest economy on the African continent and the construction sector is set for a boost due to the South African government’s National Infrastructure Plan which focuses investment in energy, transportation, telecommunication and housing sectors. The construction sector experienced a major boost in 2010 when South Africa hosted the Fifa World Cup, but the economic downturn caused a slow down of growth. Recent government focus on infrastructure development has seen a rapid urbanisation in the country and the project at Modderfontein illustrates the significant influence of foreign investment. Foreign investment is one way by which the South African construction industry is overcoming the challenge of cost overruns that many domestic companies face due to the unavailability of funds, the time-consuming roll out of labour, labour unrest, and major project delays.

Key players in the South African construction market should be aware of the upcoming trend towards ‘green’ buildings. In an effort to promote sustainable development, construction companies are increasingly focusing on developing energy-efficient buildings and sustainable construction solutions.

Source: Companies and


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Four innovative African architects bring a new wow to buildings on the continent

Ever heard of a floating African city? Now you have.

African architecture is as diverse as the different cultures and peoples that make up the continent.

Islam and Christianity have produced astounding churches and magnificent mosques. The mix of colonial and modern influences have clashed in the urban environment, in some cities economic or political turmoil resulted in an eclectic clash of styles and little consideration of aesthetic beauty, and in rural areas the local environment was often the driver in the influence of design and structure.

Recently, however, something different has sprouted on the continent. There is a new breed of architect whose work is suffused with social responsibility, and the designs that emanate from them are nothing short of genius.

Their structures created are carefully crafted to fit in with the various demands or pressures of modern day society in Africa.

Here we take a look at a few examples of these extraordinary architects:

Diébédo Francis Kéré

Even though he’s had international success and is based in Berlin, Germany, this hasn’t stopped Burkinabé architect Kéré from making waves back home, in Burkina Faso. Founded in 2005, Kéré Architecture is dedicated to supporting the educational, cultural, and sustainable needs of communities in Burkina Faso through sustainable building practices. Using his formal training as an architect, Kéré has developed strategies for innovative construction by combining traditional Burkinabé building techniques and materials with modern engineering methods.

His projects in Burkina Faso are impressive. In the village of Gando, his birth place, Kéré made a great push for education by constructing schools, along with the help of the local community, and the necessary teacher housing, library and wells to support them.

Image courtesy of
Image courtesy of

Each structure was carefully conceived to support the learning environment and be as adaptable as possible to the areas geography. Mud brick walls combined with raised tin roofs use material which is locally available and keep the buildings cool and dry. The school library has a roof with traditional clay pots that have been cut in half and inserted in the ceiling, letting in light and allowing air to circulate.

In June this year the “Surgical Clinic and Health Centre” was opened, serving a population of over 50,000 people from the town of Léo and its surrounding communities. In planning for the most sustainable building solution with least ecological impact, the main construction of the centre is compressed earth bricks.

Image courtesy of
Image courtesy of

Their high thermal mass capacity allows them to absorb the cool night air and release it during the day, helping keep the interior spaces cool. The clinic also features ten large overlapping roofs that protect the walls from rain and shade the interiors from the hot daytime sun. The vibrantly-coloured buildings are sited around a central outdoor corridor – a friendly characteristic which is important for the success of the centre, as it attracts patients who would normally not seek medical attention.

Kunlé Adeyemi

Kunlé Adeyemi is a Nigerian architect and urbanist – heavily influenced by the fast-paced urbanisation of African cities. After studying at the University of Lagos in Nigeria, followed by Princeton in the US, Adeyemi founded NLÉ – an architecture and design practice based in Amsterdam, Netherlands.

One of his recent projects has focused on his homeland and its fast urbanisation rate. In 2013 Adeyemi completed the “Makoko Floating School”, a prototype floating structure, built for the water community of Makoko, located on the lagoon heart of Nigeria’s largest city, Lagos. This pilot project took an innovative approach to address the community’s social and physical needs in view of the impact of climate change and a rapidly urbanising context.

Image courtesy of NLE
Image courtesy of NLE

At a cost of less than $7,000 the school accommodates 100 students, uses 256 plastic drums to keep it resting on top of the water, and the frame is constructed from locally-sourced wood. Electricity is provided by solar panels on the roof, and rainwater harvesting helps to keep toilets operational.

Adeyemi has been able to produce an ecologically friendly, alternative building system that could revolutionise Africa’s urban water societies. Now, he is taking the project a step further. He is now looking to expand on his pilot and create a group of floating structures in Makoko, allowing its estimated 250,000 inhabitants better access to sanitation, fresh water and waste disposal.

Image courtesy of NLE
Image courtesy of NLE

Another notable Adeyemi project is the community-built Chicoco radio, in Port Harcourt. The radio station is a floating media platform that provides a voice to 480,000 residents of Port Harcourt’s waterfront slums which line the creeks fringing the city. The governor plans to demolish them all. Not only is the innovative design sustainable and resistant to flooding, but the architecture has also merged with media to become a platform for modern communication and civic participation.

Mick Pearce

Zimbabwean architect Mick Pearce is dedicated to designing low maintenance buildings with low running costs, using renewable energy systems. His aim is to ensure buildings are suited to their natural environment and the people who use them. Over the past 20 years his work has focused heavily on bio-mimicry – an the imitation of natural processes and the use of natural materials.

Image courtesy of
Image courtesy of

One of his most famous examples is the Eastgate Centre in Harare. Largely made of concrete, the Eastgate Centre has a ventilation system, which operates similarly to the self-cooling mounds of African termites. Because of its altitude, Harare has a temperate climate and the typical daily temperature swing is 10 to 14 °C, making a passive cooling system a viable alternative to artificial air-conditioning. Passive cooling works by storing heat in the day and venting it at night as temperatures drop. Without relying on conventional air-conditioning or heating the building stays regulated all year round, dramatically reducing energy consumption and the building uses 10% of the energy a conventional building of its size would use.

Tsai Design Studio

Architectural genius is most of the time a combined team effort, on the part of a firm or when two firms come together. It would be impossible to have a list looking at architectural efforts linked to social reform or environmental sustainability without mentioning South Africa’s Tsai design studio. Even though it was established in 2005, this small team of architects has earned a number of design accolades and awards for its architecture and design work – though their community work, re-purposing shipping containers is what stands out.

Image courtesy of Tsai design Studio
Image courtesy of Tsai Design

The studio first became famous for this in 2010 when South African shipping company Safmarine commissioned the studio to develop several designs using recycled containers for community projects. The first Sport Centre prototype was built under a month to coincide with the 2010 FIFA World Cup. The centre allowed disadvantaged children and communities to be twinned with a Dutch football club who trained local coaches with football techniques and life skills.

The design included a grandstand seating social area, a sheltering roof and an advertising billboard and movie screen as an extension of the roof structure that folds down vertically at one side. This can be used as a possible source of income for the sports centre or be converted into a movie screen for the children. Since then, the containers have been re-purposed for a variety of other community projects.

One example is “Vissershok primary school”. Sponsored by three South African Companies; Safmarine, Afrisam and Woolworths, “Vissershok primary school” was created. Serving as a classroom in the morning and a school library in the afternoon, the container provides a well planned environment for the pupils. The large roof keeps out direct sunlight and reduces heat while the windows staggered along the sides of the container ensure cross ventilation.

Source: Mail and Guardian Africa



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