Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Ugandans: World’s second most hungry people

According to the 2010 Popula­tion Reference Bureau’s (PRB) World Population Data Sheet, Uganda has the sec­ond youngest population in the whole world after Niger. The data sheet ranks Niger with 50.1 per cent of its population below 15 years, while Uganda fol­lows closely with 48.7 per cent. In third place is Burki­na Faso, followed by DR Congo, Zambia and Ma­lawi. Niger, which has the youngest population, also has the highest fertility rate in the world at 7.4 chil­dren per woman. 


Uganda is again in second position with a fertility rate at
6.5 children per woman in thput a stress on the global food production. Last year the global pop­ulation was said to have risen to 6.9 billion from 6.1 billion 10 years ago, with high population growth rates recorded in develop­ing countries, Uganda in­clusive. The increase in popula­tion had a corresponding increase in malnourished people who were estimat­ed at 925 million in 2010, higher than they were 40 years ago.  


Now the Food and Ag­ricultural Organisation (FAO) is calling for a shift in the world farming meth­ods. In a recently released report, the FAO says the world needs a major shift to more sustainable prac­tices as intensive crop pro­duction has degraded soils, depleted groundwater and caused pest outbreaks e world. All these figures if trans­lated into mouths to feed put a stress on the global food production. Last year the global pop­ulation was said to have risen to 6.9 billion from 6.1 billion 10 years ago, with high population growth rates recorded in develop­ing countries, Uganda in­clusive. The increase in popula­tion had a corresponding increase in malnourished people who were estimat­ed at 925 million in 2010, higher than they were 40 years ago.


 Now the Food and Ag­ricultural Organisation (FAO) is calling for a shift in the world farming meth­ods. In a recently released report, the FAO says the world needs a major shift to more sustainable prac­tices as in since the 1960s.  In the report the FAO says, “It is clear that the current food production and distribution systems are failing to feed the world.” The world population is forecast to climb to 9.2 bil­lion people in 2050 from an estimated 6.9 billion in 2010, requiring a 70 per­cent jump in world agri­cultural production. With virtually no spare land in parts of Asia and Africa, yield increases and more intensive cropping will be needed, said the UN agency. 


Between 2015 and 2030 an estimated 80 percent of the required food production increase will have to come from inten­sification in the form of yield increases and high­er cropping intensities, added the agency. According to FAO, tensive crop pro­duction has degraded soils, depleted groundwater and caused pest outbreaks about 70 percent of the area that is available to increase agricultural pro­duction mostly in sub Saharan Africa and Latin America suffers from soil and terrain constraints. 


More farmers need to reduce ploughing and alternate cereals with soil-improving plants, and use an ecosystem ap­proach, based on natural systems to promote crop growth, save water and fight pests, FAO said in a guide to policy makers published yesterday. The agency says in the document, “the so-called Green Revolution that started in the 1950`s and spread in the 1960`s introduced more pro­ductive wheat, corn and rice varieties and relied on high levels of fertiliser and pesticides”. It adds, “This boosted cereal yields and food pro­duction saved an estimat­ed one billion people from famine and jump started the Asian economies”. 


Those enormous gains in agricultural production and productivity were often accompanied by negative effects on agri­culture’s natural resource base so serious that they jeopardised its productive potential in the future, the FAO said in the book on farming called, “Save and grow.” According to the agency, the negative effects of the green revolution include land degradation, salt build-up in irrigated ar­eas, and depletion of groundwater, pest resist­ance and pollution. The report comes when the Malaysian govern­ment recently said it was to acquire 60,000 hectares of land in Uganda to grow rice for its home needs and that Uganda would only get 20 per cent of the crop produced. 


An Industry observer talking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the matter told The Razor, “If gov­ernment goes ahead and gives away that land, it will be the gravest mistake it has ever made”.


Source: The Razor

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