Jul 2, 2009

Food and Water Crisis

This is official. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and World Bank President Robert Zoellick have already sounded the alarm. Delegates in the Davos meeting this year were requested to respond. The food and water crisis is set to hit the world hard and if corrective actions are not taken on time, it can take the form of a catastrophe.

Food prices continue to go up and in a world where 1.02 billion people are hungry (WFP), this is definitely not a good news. At a time when thousands of people are made homeless every day due to conflicts in different parts of the world, this crisis is taking a toll of many lives. Food riots have become common phenomena in Sub Saharan Africa, Haiti, Bangladesh and in many other developing countries. The situation is already so severe that even big organizations like World Food Programme (WFP), UNICEF and UNHCR are struggling to curb this crisis.

How did we reach this point? The world is running out of water and this has severely impacted food production. The demand for food is ever increasing, particularly from emerging populous economies like India and China. Countries with food surpluses few years ago are now struggling to feed themselves. India, for instance, used to export rice to Bangladesh till few years ago. Owing to decreasing food production and increasing prediction of food shortages, India now imports rice from Australia, triggering rice crisis in Bangladesh. On top of that, increasing food production for bio fuels has further complicated the matter and raises more questions than solutions. It has given rise not just to ethical dilemmas and controversies but also to steep price hikes making food out of reach from the hands of world’s poorest population.

Having realized the gravity of this issue, Asia America Initiative launched several agricultural projects in Mindanao, Philippines. We empower agricultural communities not just to be self-sufficient but also to provide surplus to other communities in desperate need. Join AAI as we create models of communities that can be followed all over the world to best tackle food and water crisis.

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