Can the world cope with the food insecurity crisis in 2021?

Credit: Miriam Gathigah / IPS.
  • Opinion by Esther Ngumbi
  • Inter Press Service

As a new year begins, I can’t help but think about what needs to be done to alleviate these disturbing trends?

First of all, we must continue to monitor the statistics of food insecurity. Real-time data to know where food insecurity is highest and the interventions most needed should continue to be collected by agencies such as the Food and Nutrition Service of the Department of Agriculture. United States, Feeding America, United Nations World Food Program.

Additionally, real-time data collection and the use of data intelligence to tackle food insecurity can be extended to the entire agricultural food chain – from production, distribution, processing, supply and consumption.

As an example, the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future has a real-time mapping platform that shows the production, distribution, processing and consumption within Maryland’s food system through its Maryland Food System Map Project. Around the world, the United Nations World Food Program continues to track and monitor hunger and food insecurity in real time HungerMap.

Ultimately, this kind of data collected in real time should be used to identify gaps. In addition, the information obtained should be used to inform decision makers in country governments, nonprofit institutions, food banks and others responsible for designing programs and policies to address food insecurity in 2021. and beyond. In the long term, data obtained from real-time food insecurity mapping can be used to distribute food more equitably and reliably.

The accompanying data and the reality on the ground should be the continuation of the actions that have proved essential in 2020 in the efforts to fight against hunger. Throughout 2020, Feed America and many food banks and pantries have taken up the challenge of feeding ordinary people.

It is important that they are restocked and that the people who work there are well enumerated. Food bank replenishment can be achieved through government funding and donations from businesses and individuals who are able to do so.

Among the strategies that proved to be important in 2020 were the home and community gardens. These gardens flourished for the better part of the year in many states, with many people venturing into plant their own gardens. In 2021 and beyond, citizens who want to garden in the spring should be encouraged and supported with resources and knowledge on how to successfully cultivate the crops they choose.

Fortunately, many states have Universities granting land as the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign and Purdue University who can help through the Cooperative Extension Service. As such, universities should find ways to present useful and guiding knowledge in formats that are easily usable by citizens looking to start gardening.

Consistently, throughout the pandemic, many citizens relied on local food solutions and their local farmers and producers to meet their food needs. In 2021, ordinary people should continue to think locally whenever possible.

Of course, thinking locally when it comes to dealing with food insecurity is not always possible, especially with food deserts in many underfunded areas and with prices generally higher at farmers’ markets. .

Finally, there is room for more innovativesolutions such as food vending machines, food search and redistribution applications, and as such, we must continue to seek solutions from food security experts and ordinary people facing the challenge of food insecurity and highlight those who have an impact.

The fight against food insecurity will continue to require our all mobilization. Every action, every strategy counts.

Dr. Esther Ngumbi is an assistant professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign and a senior food safety researcher at the Aspen Institute, New Voices.

© Inter Press Service (2021) – All rights reservedOriginal source: Inter Press Service

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