Food security: Why is biodiversity important?
Biodiversity and food security are connected in many ways. perspective and seeking synergies between them are likely to generate multiple. Agriculture and biodiversity have often been regarded as separate concerns. Although biodiversity underpins much of modern agriculture, the developmen. Biodiversity is essential for human food security. To begin with, humans depend on several species of insects to pollinate crops. These include many See full.
Exploiting Asia's biodiversity can ensure food security, end hunger
Economic access to animal-source foods or other nutrient-rich foods such as fruits and vegetables may therefore contribute to improved dietary diversity [ 57 — 59 ].
Conclusions In this study, agricultural biodiversity showed a significant positive association with dietary diversity but its effect was moderated by the economic status of the household. The effect of production diversity on dietary diversity was significantly higher in households of lower socioeconomic status. Therefore, improvement of agricultural biodiversity could be one of the best approaches for ensuring diverse diets especially for households of lower socioeconomic status in rural areas of Northern Ghana.
Agricultural research and policy efforts that focus on an aggressive promotion of home gardens, poultry keeping and small livestock rearing especially among poor households is needed to improve dietary diversity. The data could not have been obtained without the cooperation and support of the programme communities, especially the mothers and caregivers who took time off from their busy schedules to respond to the interviewers.
Their involvement and cooperation is highly appreciated. Disclosure statement No potential conflict of interest was reported by the authors. Meeting the international hunger targets: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations; International Food Policy Research Institute; Agricultural policy and nutrition outcomes — getting beyond the preoccupation with staple grains. Household sanitation and personal hygiene practices are associated with child stunting in rural India: Factors associated with anemia among children aged 6—23 months attending growth monitoring at tsitsika health center, Wag-Himra Zone, Northeast Ethiopia.
Food security and nutrition: Malnutrition among children in southern Ethiopia: Ethiopian J Health Dev. Econutrition and utilization of food-based approaches for nutritional health. Determinants of nutritional status of women and children in Ethiopia. Dietary diversity is associated with child nutritional status: Agricultural biodiversity, nutrition, and health: Dietary diversity score is a useful indicator of micronutrient intake in non-breast-feeding Filipino children.
Dietary diversity is a good predictor of the micronutrient density of the diet of 6- to month-old children in Madagascar. Guidelines for measuring individual and household dietary diversity. Human food choice and nutritional interventions. Post-green revolution food systems and the triple burden of malnutrition. Integrating agricultural and nutritional Interventions for improved nutritional status of rural families in northern Ghana: Farm production diversity and dietary quality: University of Goettingen; World Health Organization, Dept.
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Am J Clin Nutr. J Am Coll Nutr. The general threats to biodiversity are in the forms of deforestation and habitat fragmentation, encroachment, pollution, invasion of alien species, wild fires, logging, and hunting. Over time, agriculture emerges the greatest threat to biodiversity. Using this framework, this paper presents a scientific argument, backed with empirical evidences, by exploring the role that agricultural extension can play to realise the goals of biodiversity conservation on South African communal and farm lands.
Exploiting Asia's biodiversity can ensure food security, end hunger
Drawing on relevant published works, this paper argues that extension is particularly well positioned to address both food security and biodiversity conservation concerns through the instruments of linkages, local knowledge facilitation, social capital and education. Agricultural extension, Biodiversity conservation, Food security, Sustainable agriculture 1.
Environmental sustainability and food security are both parts of the Millennium Development Goals MDGs which must be achieved concurrently. Food and nutrition securities feature in Target 2 of Goal 1 which seeks to "halve the proportion of people who suffer from hunger", while biodiversity conservation features as Target 7 which seeks to "ensure environmental sustainability" United Nations Development Programme, Alleviating worldwide food insecurity without compromising natural biodiversity resources remains an elusive objective wherein further research is needed.
The fact that the extremely poor and food-insecure populations reside in countries with the largest biodiversity resources World Summit on Sustainable Development, ; United Nations Division for Sustainable Development, suggests that efforts towards solving the problems of food security and biodiversity conservation should not be in isolation from each other. They have initiated a concept of biodiversity for food and nutrition in order to design and implement plans of action relating to food and nutrition securities while simultaneously encouraging the sustainable use of biodiversity resources.
Through this, they highlight the importance of biodiversity and the role it has to play in achieving sustainable development Esquinas-Alcazar, While food security is an issue of concern in all developing countries, it is of particular concern in Africa where food insecurity is severe. One major underlining factor severally reported in literature as warranting this is that the per capita food production in Africa grows at a declining rate; it is not keeping pace with population growth.
In other developing countries food production is keeping pace with population growth FAO, In South Africa, food security can be viewed in two levels: In fact, South Africa has been food secured nationally for more than twenty years and is even an exporter of some foods. It excels in the production of some varieties of agricultural food products like maize and potatoes and it imports products which it lacks or produces inadequately; all contributing to meeting its national food requirements Hirschowitz, At the household level however, South Africa is not universally food secure; with some Many of these people are largely dependent on the natural resources available to them for their livelihoods.
These resources are often used unsustainably. And it is in this context that the South African government has expressed its desire to ensure that food security is achieved at the household level Altman, Hart and Jacobs; concomitantly with its conservation objectives Botha, South Africa is blessed in terms of biodiversity wealth. It is recognized as one of the 17 "mega diversity" nations of the world. For example, out of vegetation types found in the country, are not protected at all.
In the light of the food and conservation needs of South Africa outlined so far, there is an urgent need to explore solutions to fulfilling both objectives simultaneously. This paper is thus aimed at identifying possible contributions that agricultural extension could make to achieve this dual objective. Biodiversity implies the disparity among genes, species and ecosystems, and variation in organization, role and composition at each of these cadres Biggs, et al.
Food security, on the other hand, refers to "a situation that exists when all people, at all times, have physical, social and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food that meets their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life" FAO, The two objectives overlap in the concept of "agricultural biodiversity".
Agricultural biodiversity - henceforth referred to as 'agro-biodiversity'- encompasses the variety and variability of animals, plants and micro-organisms which are necessary for sustaining key functions of the agro-ecosystem, its structure and processes that are associated with food production and food security FAO, This indicates that biodiversity, both agro and wild, supplies the food we consume and the means to produce it.
It is the conglomerate of the different components of this biodiversity wealth that are becoming extinct, thereby creating food shortages in the world. It is posited that achieving food security is hardly realistic in the context of the unprecedented rate at which the agro-biodiversity resources are being lost. Pimm and Raven note that between and 10 million species become extinct globally each decade.
In the context of South Africa as well, the impact on biodiversity sustainability of wild biodiversity removal and trade is considerable Shackleton, The pressure biodiversity faces in South Africa coupled with the world-wide threats to biodiversity forewarns of a serious decline in biodiversity and highlights the enormity of the challenge ahead if achieving food security at the grass root, both globally and nationally, is to be realized.
Apart from the fact that human existence depends on food derivable from biodiversity, it is important to note that biodiversity resources also serve a source of numerous raw materials which enhance survival and development of the human world.
Such materials include fibre for clothing, materials for fuel, medicine, transportation, fertilizer, shelter, to mention only a few Shand, Notwithstanding these physical benefits, biodiversity also serves as the centrepiece upon which the smooth functioning of the planet earth depends. Globally, sufficient food is produced to make it possible to achieve food security Islam, ; FAO, The World Bank indicates that due to food price increases inan additional 44 million people have fallen below the poverty line of USD1, 25 per person per day.
The FAO argues that the second of the factors identified by the WBFPW the cost of food production is directly related to the current extensive agricultural practices which rely on external inputs. The FAO further argues that this extensive farming systems need to be substituted by a low external input production system FAO, The external inputs pose great threats to biodiversity and essential ecosystem services MEA, Nellemann indicates that unless and until sustainable agricultural practices are adopted widely, food prices will continue to soar high.
Thus it can be argued that the extensive system contributes to maintaining persistent unsustainable production of food and the consequent food security crisis. The depletion effect on significant biodiversity of most agricultural production systems currently in use have left major agricultural lands impoverished and at the mercy of perpetual use of external inputs for appreciable production.
If this trend continues, about 1 billion hectares of natural ecosystems would have to be converted for agricultural uses FAO, However, as a note of caution on the current rate of phosphorus' usage, Vaccary warns that phosphorus will be a limiting factor to agricultural production by the end of this century, as Vaccary suggests, the present stock of phosphorus is nearing exhaustion.
Many management practices have been developed and identified as ways forward from the status quo.
- Center for International Forestry Research
These include integrated pest management, improved soil and water management, eco-agriculture, conservation agriculture, and organic agriculture FAO, All these practices are intended towards enhancing biological processes such as nutrient cycling, pest control, pollination, carbon sequestration Power,and involve increased but more efficient use of biodiversity for food and agriculture FAO, In addition, such an agricultural system needs to recognize the multifunctional role of agriculture, the broad-range services including provisioning, regulating, supporting, and socio-cultural services supplied by agro-biodiversity, and the importance of smallholder farmers as one of the major stakeholders that could bring about the desired change FAO, These farmers engage in different forms of agricultural production ranging from pastoralism, aquaculture and artisanal fishing FAO, Morton indicates that the farming systems used by smallholder farmers are often complex and diverse which may even assist them to cope better with risks.
These smallholder farmers, as may be deduced, play vital roles in the management of vast agricultural landscapes in the developing nations and are, therefore, central to the management of the biodiversity resources of these countries. Thus, it is suggested that improvement in farming systems needs to be relevant to the context of these smallholder farmers if significant progress is to be achieved in terms of reducing the number of the food-insecure while saving biodiversity from extinction.
Shand indicated that the hunt for a long-lasting food security measures has to begin with the regions where diversified food materials are produced and with the people behind the production, as they are best suited to innovating new technologies and farming systems that best suit their varied biological environments.
Shand furthermore notes that, instead of accentuating external technologies and other production inputs, sustainable food security for the globe is better achieved by improving on the local knowledge, resources and strength of the rural farming communities. In the light of this logical reasoning, attention to the needs and enhancement of the capabilities of the major stakeholders that are in charge of conservation and exploitation of agro biodiversity resources, the rural farmers, should constitute the focus of all agricultural policies being created to tackle the current state of world's food insecurity.
As South Africa sets out to combat degradation and unsustainable exploitation of its biodiversity species in the context of enhancing food security at household level, agricultural extension emerges a potentially influential tool to achieve this.
This is evidenced through the skills and approaches that extension possesses, and which it can use to create and facilitate necessary instruments of change as may be required by sustainable agricultural practices. Understanding the general objectives and approaches of agricultural extension will better shed light on the role that extension can play in addressing South African biodiversity conservation and household food security concerns. Swanson identified four categories or models of agricultural extension: Groot and Roling described a similar range of extension approaches.
Worth suggests a fifth approach: Table 1 provides a brief comparison of four of these approaches using eight critical factors: Figure 1 shows the intervention instruments available to agricultural extension to achieve biodiversity conservation in the context of promoting food security, through sustainable agricultural production and management. The key instruments are linkages, local knowledge facilitation, social capital and education.
This indicates that extension can assist rural landholders to set up a two-way relationship with biodiversity conservation institutes, in order to facilitate free flow of information between both parties. Swanson indicates that 'linkages' has an association with building social capital.
This is because all parties involved combine efforts towards achieving a common goal. Putnam however suggests terminologies like "bonding" and "bridging" in the description of possible linkages that extension may build for success to be achieved by farmers in any innovation adoption exercise.
For example, rural landholders can be linked with other rural groups like marketing, credit and consumer groups to facilitate participation in the different stages of food supply chain, thereby resulting in synergy where they derive greater strength from working together than they would by working individually. For example, suppliers of sustainable agriculture inputs can be linked bridged with rural farmers so that access to such inputs by farmers is facilitated.
These linkages will help farmers receive advice that is relevant to their local conditions, secure favourable deals with both the input and output markets, and be better placed to adopt new technology of minimum disturbance to biodiversity. He suggests four ways through which this responsibility is better achieved, namely: Stanley, Clouston and Baker undated indicate that landholders often do not share the same views with scientists who propose land-uses on the basis of scientific researches.
They claim that this situation springs up from the experiences of landholders that often go in contradiction to scientific claims over time. Supporting this view is the submission by Richards, Lawrence and Kelly which indicates that landholders' strong attachment to local knowledge and experiences affects their decisions relative to adopting new scientific innovations. With this in view, extension practitioners seriously need to acknowledge local knowledge and put it into perspectives when finding solutions to some of the problems that landholders experience on their farms.
Stanley, Clouston and Baker undated, quoting Khanna, also argue that inadequate knowledge of the derivable benefits from a particular innovation has a strong correlation with non-adoption of such technology by landholders. Therefore, extension practitioners need to seek suitable media that can adequately facilitate the exchange and collaborative sharing of knowledge and skills between landholders and scientists. Seeking improved media for knowledge sharing may also help solve the challenge of inaccessibility identified by Byron, Curtis and MacKay that landholders face relative to professional advice on new technologies.
Furthermore, Byron, Curtis and MacKay indicate that inaccessibility challenge constitutes a major constraint towards changing land management practices by landholders. Thus in order to significantly improve receptivity to new technologies by landholders, extension practitioners will have to provide access to dependable, practical and understandable information to landholders Lockie and Rockloff, This is not to suggest that knowledge sharing should only be one-sided, that is from researchers to landholders.
Rather, there should be collaboration between both groups wherein the different skills and knowledge of each group is shared with the other, thereby complimenting one another. Many researchers like Reijntjes and Waters-BayerSaadHoffmann, Probst and Christinck have pointed out the importance of local knowledge and the ability and capacity demonstrated by landholders to experiment and innovate successfully on their own.
However, Hoffmann, Probst and Christinck suggest that, the mutual comparative advantages of both farmers and researchers are more optimally harnessed and relevant agricultural knowledge and innovation are more efficiently generated when landowners and researchers collaborate.