Currently showing: Food security

25 Nov 13 10:58

The floods of Haiyan are receding - and slowly it's becoming known how big the disaster is; not only in the short but also in the long-term.

While the focus is currently on putting a roof over the heads of the victims - to supply them with water, food and medical aid - the challenges for the upcoming years step gradually from the background into the forefront.

Haiyan not only swept cities away, it also devastated the agriculture in the affected area inland. Plantations are down, equipment is destroyed, harvests are lost.

While we working in services or industry are relatively quickly "back in business", in countries like the Philippines the people are not. It takes longer to restore a farm because plants have to grow and reach maturity before they provide income again.

So what are the people living from until farms are restored – especially when one takes into account that agriculture is also the largest field of employment for many in developing countries?

In mature markets we rely on insurance – in the developing world this idea is slowly taking hold as this article in the Guardian shows:

Still, insurance alone is not the solution.

We need risk-management before disaster strikes. We need to protect the mangroves so the coast is protected. We need farmers to plant the right plants at the right time, so that soil is covered against the onslaught of torrential rains. We need plantations that withstand tremendous storms.

Still all of this comes at a price because protection does not come for free. Output may be lower in resilient agriculture – which in turn makes food more expensive.

The question is which price are we rather willing to pay? And the long-term cost for disasters will go up since climate change is expected to trigger more and more severe natural catastrophes.

The decision won't be easy, especially since the short term economic benefit often goes ahead even if in the long term they turn out to be a loss.

That's why at a recent FAO meeting in Rome the question of the business models in agriculture came up.

The topic is on the agenda – and we'll have to find a solution soon. Maybe we'll find some ideas at the session on Food Security in Rüschlikon on Dec. 3 2012.

So join the debate – the more smart minds we have on this the sooner we may take steps to build a more resilient planet.

Could micro-insurance help the poorest communities deal with climate change?

Dramatic storms like Haiyan are becoming normal and affecting the poorest populations; micro-insurance promises to increase their resilience

Category: Food security

Location: Philippines


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