Consider the Significance of Food and Fostering "Pro-active Farmers" In the Current Inflation
- Amameishi Shinjiro, Executive Senior Research Fellow, JICA Ogata Sadako Research Institute for Peace and Development
The recent surge in prices is hitting Japanese households like a body blow, creating financial strain for many. In October, the revision of alcohol taxes, particularly the increase in the tax rate for "third-category beer," has compelled avid drinkers, myself included, to curtail our alcohol consumption. Additionally, in October the price hikes for over 4,500 food items, marking one of the most significant increases since the burst of the economic bubble in early 1990s. Many individuals are tightening their purse strings and enduring these challenges. I’m experiencing the harsh realities of the world as my preferred accompaniment for alcohol drinks increased by 40 yen, and what is worse, the quantity has decreased.
The COVID 19 crisis, which worsened in 2020, plunged the world into turmoil and triggered a global food price increase. In addition, the invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 caused food prices to skyrocket. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), at its peak (October 2022), global grain prices were more than 1.5 times higher than in 2014-16. In Africa, particularly many countries are not self-sufficient in food and are highly dependent on imports, resulting in the "African Food Crisis," which has become a major problem in many countries.
As a result, additionally influenced by factors such as extreme weather conditions and conflicts, the number of people facing hunger continues to rise. According to reports from FAO and other organizations, estimated 7.35 billion people worldwide faced hunger in 2022, an increase of 122 million compared to pre-COVID-19 levels.
While Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) aims to achieve zero hunger by 2030 in its ‘Goal 2’, the current situation is far from accomplishment. This is in stark contrast to the era of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the predecessor of the SDGs, which targeted to halve, between 1990 and 2015, the proportion of hunger people, and saw a steady decline. Access to stable and sufficient food is essential for all people and is very important from a "human security" perspective.
PERCENTAGE (left vertical axis): Percentage of the starving population
MILLIONS (right vertical axis): Starving population (in millions)
Black line (on the line graph): Number of starving people (in millions)
Orange line (below the line graph): Percentage of the starving population
*From the "State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World 2023 Report" by FAO, IFAD, UNICEF, WFP, and WHO.
The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World 2023 |KORE - Knowledge Sharing Platform on Resilience| Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (fao.org)
In Africa, where food security is challenging due to various risks such as climate change and conflicts, achieving resilient agricultural production is more critical than ever. What is needed is the capacity to respond appropriately at both the national and household levels, considering the prevailing circumstances. For farmers, this involves producing crops demanded by the market based on market information to increase income and making the best decisions and actions based on planting seasons and crops according to weather conditions.
JICA is actively promoting the "SHEP (Smallholder Horticulture Empowerment & Promotion)" approach, which encourages a shift in the mindset of small-scale farmers from "grow and sell" to "grow to sell", thereby advancing agriculture as a business. During a visit to Kenya in September of this year, a farmer group was embracing the effectiveness of the SHEP approach. They sought opportunities for learning, actively engaged in discussions without gender barriers, produced in-demand tomato and okra varieties to boost income, and even installed water tanks for cultivation.
As the capacity of farmer groups is gradually strengthened, it is anticipated that their ability to cope with various risks, including extreme weather conditions, will increase."
With farmer groups practicing SHEP.
Farmers installed water tanks for cultivation.
I have started working for JICA Ogata Sadako Research Institute for Peace and Development since this October, and I will commit to conducting research, including the SHEP approach, that contributes to the advancement of true sustainable development.
＊About SHEP Approach
With farmer groups practicing SHEP.
＊Ogata Sadako Research Institute is engaging in research on SHEP
An empirical research on the impact of the SHEP approach on small-scale farmers - JICA Ogata Research Institute