Browsing by Subject "food security"

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  • Timberlake, Thomas P.; Cirtwill, Alyssa R.; Baral, Sushil C.; Bhusal, Daya R.; Devkota, Kedar; Harris-Fry, Helen A.; Kortsch, Susanne; Myers, Samuel S.; Roslin, Tomas; Saville, Naomi M.; Smith, Matthew R.; Strona, Giovanni; Memmott, Jane (2022)
    1. Smallholder farmers are some of the poorest and most food insecure people on Earth. Their high nutritional and economic reliance on home--grown produce makes them particularly vulnerable to environmental stressors such as pollinator loss or climate change which threaten agricultural productivity. Improving smallholder agriculture in a way that is environmentally sustainable and resilient to climate change is a key challenge of the 21st century. 2. Ecological intensification, whereby ecosystem services are managed to increase agricultural productivity, is a promising solution for smallholders. However, smallholder farms are complex socio-ecological systems with a range of social, ecological and environmental factors interacting to influence ecosystem service provisioning. To truly understand the functioning of a smallholder farm and identify the most effective management options to support household food and nutrition security, a holistic, systems-based understanding is required. 3. In this paper, we propose a network approach to understand, visualise and model the complex interactions occurring among wild species, crops and people on smallholder farms. Specifically, we demonstrate how networks may be used to (a) identify wild species with a key role in supporting, delivering or increasing the resilience of an ecosystem service; (b) quantify the value of an ecosystem service in a way that is relevant to the food and nutrition security of smallholders; and (c) understand the social interactions that influence the management of shared ecosystem services. 4. Using a case study based on data from rural Nepal, we demonstrate how this framework can be used to connect wild plants, pollinators and crops to key nutrients consumed by humans. This allows us to quantify the nutritional value of an ecosystem service and identify the wild plants and pollinators involved in its provision, as well as providing a framework to predict the effects of environmental change on human nutrition. 5. Our framework identifies mechanistic links between ecosystem services and the nutrients consumed by smallholder farmers and highlights social factors that may influence the management of these services. Applying this framework to smallholder farms in a range of socio-ecological contexts may provide new, sustainable and equitable solutions to smallholder food and nutrition security.
  • Fitzgerald, Heli; Palme, Anna; Asdal, Åsmund; Endresen, Dag; Kiviharju, Elina; Lund, Birgitte; Rasmussen, Morten; Thorbjornsson, Hjortur; Weibull, Jens (2019)
    Crop wild relatives (CWR) can provide one solution to future challenges on food security, sustainable agriculture and adaptation to climate change. Diversity found in CWR can be essential for adapting crops to these new demands. Since the need to improve in situ conservation of CWR has been recognized by the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) (2010) and the Global Strategy for Plant Conservation (2011-2020), it is important to develop ways to safeguard these important genetic resources. The Nordic flora includes many species related to food, forage and other crop groups, but little has been done to systematically secure these important wild resources. A Nordic regional approach to CWR conservation planning provided opportunities to network, find synergies, share knowledge, plan the conservation and give policy inputs on a regional level. A comprehensive CWR checklist for the Nordic region was generated and then prioritized by socio-economic value and utilization potential. Nordic CWR checklist was formed of 2553 taxa related to crop plants. Out of these, 114 taxa including 83 species were prioritized representing vegetable, cereal, fruit, berry, nut and forage crop groups. The in situ conservation planning of the priority CWR included ecogeographic and complementarity analyses to identify a potential network of genetic reserve sites in the region. Altogether 971,633 occurrence records of the priority species were analysed. A minimum number of sites within and outside existing conservation areas were identified that had the potential to support a maximum number of target species of maximum intraspecific diversity.
  • Salmivaara, Maikki (Helsingfors universitet, 2013)
    Food has featured in the global development agenda for several decades. However, increasing food prices and the global food crisis of 2007-2008, fuelled the debate around food security, which was also one the main thematic priorities of Finn Church Aid's strategy in 2009-2012. This thesis was commissioned by FCA in order to examine food security in the context of their development cooperation project in Cambodia. The purpose of the study is to support FCA and their local partner organization, the Lutheran World Federation Cambodia’s work on food security. The study has two objectives: to contribute to the understanding of the intertwined issues of rural development and food security, and to the understanding of the food security approach and intervention logics. Firstly, food reality is scrutinized in a Cambodian rural village. The focus is on the functioning of the food system at the local level, and as part of a wider food system reaching beyond the village boundaries and even the national level. In addition, the household level food security is analysed from the perspective of livelihoods - means of gaining a living - and different ways of commanding or accessing food. This level allows scrutinizing how village level changes in the food system affect different kinds of families. Secondly, the study analyses the food security approach of LWF, with regard to the village food reality and in the light of politicised international discourses on food security. The thesis is a contextual case study of the village of Chrokhlong, based on one month’s field work period in November and December 2010, as well as LWF Cambodia’s program documents and interviews with the staff. The field work material consists of 43 interviews with the villagers, 76 informal discussions and personal observation. Food security and general development themes in Cambodia are explored through literature and personal interviews. The study found that the local food security is affected by important changes of the wider food system. Population growth and economic liberalization increase pressures on land and natural resources in the village context. Accumulation and fragmentation of land and degradation of common resources are related to the increasing commoditization of the village food system. Food security has become an issue of purchasing power. Land for rice cultivation appears as the most important factor contributing to household food security. The most food insecure families lack land and means of generating incomes in order to purchase food, such as family members in working age and good health. The poorest families are the most affected by the depletion of common resources and the increasing food prices. At a strategic level, LWF has adopted a holistic approach to food security and defines their objective as 'right to food' in line with a rights based approach to development. However, at the practical level the approach seems narrower, and the work on food security focuses on enhancing food production. This focus risks not taking into account the food insecurity of the land-poor families who do not benefit from increasing productivity. The centrality of the land issue and the specific situation of the most food insecure families is no considered sufficiently. Based on this case study, an integrated and holistic rural development approach would seem to provide relatively more benefits to households that are able to produce to markets, while the food security of the poorest families can be even further threatened by a greater dependence of markets. While LWF’s ideals seem to reflect a 'food justice' discourse, their practical work is more in line with the hegemonic discourse labelled as 'food security', that does not aim at affecting the structural causes of food insecurity at different levels.
  • Belinskij, Antti; Iho, Antti; Paloniitty née Korvela, Tiina; Soininen, Niko (2019)
    Animal agriculture is shifting toward larger farms and regional agglomerations in many countries. In step with this development, manure nutrients have started accumulating regionally, and are leading to increasing eutrophication problems. Nevertheless, the same trend may also prompt innovations in manure treatment. For example, Valio Ltd (the largest dairy processer in Finland) is planning a network of facilities that would remove water from manure, fraction the nutrients in it, and produce biogas from the excess methane. One of the main hurdles in developing this technology is that the current regulatory framework does not support a shift from diffuse loading, which is seen in the traditional application of manure on fields, to point-source loading; the regulations may even prevent such a change. This article analyzes a governance framework that addresses this dilemma in EU–Finland, and discusses how the governance described could curtail the nutrient loading of agriculture to waters. The approach is based on adaptive governance theory. We argue that traditional top–down regulation, which emphasizes food security, contains serious shortcomings when it comes to managing agricultural nutrient loading to waters, and that the current regulatory framework does not necessarily have the adaptive capacity to facilitate new, bottom–up solutions for manure treatment. Interestingly, the strict water quality requirements of the EU Water Framework Directive (2000/60/EC) open new windows of opportunity for such solutions, and thus for improving the overall sustainability of animal agriculture.
  • Mäkelä, Laura (Helsingin yliopisto, 2018)
    The Khwe San, the residents of Bwabwata National Park (BNP), were hunter-gatherers who used to acquire their food by hunting and collecting veld food in the past. However, they are not allowed to practice their traditional methods anymore due to the status of the park as a national park and the army trying to prevent increased poaching in the bush. Nowadays they are highly dependent on food aid provided by the Namibian government. In addition, small-scale subsistence agriculture is practiced but due to drought and wild animals, harvests are insufficient to meet required food demand on a daily basis. The objective of this research was to investigate gardening opportunities of the Khwe San in the Eastern part of BNP. The data were collected through semi-structured interviews with 38 respondents and several stakeholders. Four different groups were found which were home gardeners, community gardeners, participants of gardening workshop and non-gardeners. The data were analysed using a thematic content analysis, a SPPS statistic programme and a sustainable rural livelihoods framework. In addition, one positive deviance gardener was selected, and his production methods is described in more detail. The main results highlighted the importance of having gardens. All the respondents indicated that gardening is important or very important in terms of food production and income generation. However, the majority of the residents are willing to have home gardens due to the challenges of community gardens in the past e.g. the lack of cooperation, jealousy and stealing as well as the lack of needed goods. Current challenges are that there are only one or two water sources in each village and the distances from the boreholes to gardens are long, which complicates irrigation. In addition, poor fences and lack of seeds and tools are the major challenges that home gardeners face. Future training should include specific things because the interviews showed that the general gardening knowledge is presented. As a conclusion, the focus of gardening should be on home gardens, not on community gardens due to their challenges. However, in order to make gardening sustainable, several activities need to be addressed, including an active agriculture extension officer for monitoring, training on specific things and seed distribution provided by the government. In addition, the gardening support needs to be aimed to dedicated people who are willing to practice gardening
  • Etongo, Daniel; Epule, Terence Epule; Djenontin, Ida Nadia S.; Kanninen, Markku (2018)
    Farmers in the Sahel have been acknowledged for reclaiming degraded lands and improving food security by ingeniously modifying traditional agroforestry, water, and soil management practices. Despite the advantages offered by this range of farming techniques, their adoption rate is influenced by several factors. Using multivariate probit models and a correlation coefficient, this article examines the factors influencing the adoption of five land management practices based on 220 household and 40 farm surveys in four adjacent rural communities in southern Burkina Faso. The model results indicate that household labor force, education of household head, land tenure security, livestock holding, and membership in farmers' groups influence the adoption of zai practice, composting, improved fallow, stone bunds, and live hedges. However, two of the surveyed factors - number of farms and visit by agricultural extension staff during the 12 months prior to the survey - were not significant. Furthermore, a significant correlation was found between different land management practices, e.g., the decision to practice zai is significantly linked to that of live hedges and composting. Zai practice and stone bunds are considered labor intensive, which explains their significant correlations with household labor force at the 1% and 5% levels of significance, respectively.
  • Candy, Seona; Turner, Graham; Larsen, Kirsten; Wingrove, Kate; Steenkamp, Julia; Friel, Sharon; Lawrence, Mark (2019)
    Dietary change has been suggested as a key strategy to maintain food security, improve health and reduce environmental impacts in the face of rising populations, resource scarcity and climate change impacts, particularly in developed countries. This paper presents findings from a quantitative modelling analysis of food availability and environmental implications of shifting the current average Australian dietary pattern to one of two alternative, healthy dietary patterns, the 'healthy mixed diet', with a mixture of animal and plant foods, and the 'healthy plant-based diet', with only plant foods. Both were constructed in accordance with the Australian Dietary Guideline recommendations, and four sustainability principles: Avoiding over-consumption, reducing intake of discretionary foods, reducing animal products, and reducing food waste. It was assumed that all food was provided domestically where possible, and export of foods only occurred when there was a surplus to domestic requirements. The authors compared the impacts of each dietary pattern on direct food availability, water use, land use, greenhouse gas emissions, fuel and energy use and fertiliser use. The plant-based diet had the best overall environmental and direct food availability outcomes, however had key vulnerabilities in terms of fertiliser and cropping land availability. For the agricultural sector overall, changes in diet had little effect on environmental impact due to the amount and nature of Australian exports, indicating that changes to production methods are also necessary. Likewise, changing diets had little effect on the existing environmentally intensive Australian economy, indicating that changes to other sectors are also necessary.
  • Aserse, Aregu; Markos, Daniel; Getachew, Genet; Yli-Halla, Markku; Lindström, Kristina (2020)
    While pulses are staple food-legumes in Ethiopia, their productivity is low due to low soil fertility. Elite rhizobial strains that significantly increased shoot dry weight and nitrogen (N) contents of common beans and soybeans in greenhouse were selected for two-year field trials to evaluate their effect on yields of the pulses in the field. Each pulse had six treatments, namely four rhizobial inoculants, uninoculated control, and synthetic N fertilizer. In the drought-affected year 2015, inoculated pulses tolerated moisture stress better than non-inoculated controls. Inoculation was conducive to higher or equivalent yields compared to synthetic N fertilizer. At Halaba, bean inoculated with strain HAMBI3562 gave the highest grain yield (1500 ± 81 kg ha−1; mean±SE) while the control yielded only 653 ± 22 kg ha−1. At Boricha, HAMBI3570 gave a grain yield (640 ± 35 kg ha−1) comparable to synthetic N. When rainfall was optimal in 2016, inoculation with HAMBI3562 and HAMBI3570 gave grain yields (around 4300 kg ha−1) equivalent to synthetic N. With soybean, strain HAMBI3513 produced consistently higher or comparable biomass and grain yields compared to synthetic N. In conclusion, HAMBI3562 and HAMBI3570 for beans and HAMBI3513 for soybeans can serve as inoculants for areas having similar conditions as the test areas.
  • Puputti, Katri (Helsingin yliopisto, 2020)
    Introduction: Food insecurity (FI) is a quite common problem in high income countries. Many studies have indicated that some groups tend to be more vulnerable for FI than the others, for example food pantry clients. Aim of the study: To determine the prevalence of FI among Finnish food pantry clients, and to define if there were sociodemographic and lifestyle factors associated with FI. We also aimed to assess if FI is associated with dietary diversity. Materials and methods: A convenience sample of 129 food pantry clients (43% men and 57% women) was collected around Finland. Most of the participants were over 54 years old (77%), retired (72%) and had secondary education (58%). Participants completed a questionnaire which included questions about their gender, age, nationality, level of education, employment status, mode of housing, smoking and drinking habits, adequacy of income and perceived disadvantage. Questionnaire included also a seven-item food frequency questionnaire. Household Food Insecurity Access Scale (HFIAS) based on 9 validated questions was used to determine the prevalence and severity of FI. Results: The prevalence of FI was 72%. Of the participants, 46% were severely food insecure. Gender and mode of housing were associated with FI. Men were twice likely to experience severe FI compared to women (OR 2,29; 95% CI 1,09−4,80). Participants who were homeless or living in a rented property were more likely to experience severe FI compared to them who were owner-occupiers (OR 7,12; 95% CI 2,42−20,95). Severely food insecure participants consumed less often fruits and berries (OR 0,36; 95% CI 0,15−0,90), vegetables (OR 0,33; 95% CI 0,13−0,82), dairy products (OR 0,22; 95% CI 0,08−0,63) and edible fat (OR 0,24; 95% CI 0,09−0,65) compared to food secure participants. Conclusions: FI seems to be quite common among Finnish food pantry clients. Severely food insecure clients had poorer dietary diversity than the others, which indicates that food pantries cannot respond to the needs of food pantry clients.
  • Robson, T. Matthew; Pieriste, Marta; Durand, Maxime; Kotilainen, Titta K.; Aphalo, Pedro J. (2022)
    Societal Impact Statement The effective management of light is beneficial for growers of plants in greenhouses, polytunnels and under cloches. The materials and structures used to construct these environments often create light-limited conditions for crops and change the spectral composition of sunlight they receive. Combining practical measures, drawn from knowledge of plant photobiology, allows growers to monitor, forecast and optimise conditions in their growing environment according to its geographical location and the crop grown. Improved management of light through these measures could be expected to improve food quality and yield, and potentially reduce use of energy, water and pesticides. Horticultural production in greenhouses and in polytunnels expands the viable geographic range of many crop species and extends their productive growing season. These semi-controlled growing environments buffer natural fluctuations in heat, cold and light and hold potential to improve food security with a low environmental footprint. Over the last decade, technological advances in cladding materials, smart filters, photo-electric cells for energy production and LED lighting have created opportunities to improve the light environment within these structures. In parallel, there have been large advances in plant photobiology, underpinned by progress in identifying the mechanisms of photomorphogenesis and photoprotection, mediated by plant photoreceptors and their interactions, across regions of the spectrum. However, there remains unexploited potential to synthesise and transfer knowledge from these fields to horticulture, particularly with respect to tailoring the use of sunlight to specific locations and production systems. Here, we systematically explain (1) the value of modelling and monitoring patterns of sunlight to allow for informed design of the growth environment; (2) the means of optimising light conditions through selection of materials and structures; (3) the requirements of different crop plants in terms of the amount and spectral composition of light that will benefit yield and food quality; (4) the potential to combine this knowledge for effective management of the sunlight; and, finally, (5) the additional benefits these actions may bring to growers and society at large, beyond the crops themselves, in terms of water use and energy efficiency.