The most important enterprise in the world: Agriculture

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Yes, arguably, agriculture is the most important enterprise in the world. In spite of the growing industrialization and urbanization in the world, agriculture is one of the oldest and important activities of human beings. Otherwise how would humans have survived to date? Farmers are indeed an important part of our lives. If you ate today #thankafarmer. October 12th is National Farmer’s Day so ... Happy National Farmers day! Here is a little trivia: agriculture is a term derived from Latin words 'Ager' and 'Cultura'. Ager means land or field and Cultura means cultivation. Simply put agriculture refers to the science and art of producing crops and livestock. Don't forget to #thankafarmer. Shiri would like to acknowledge the hard work that goes into feeding and supplying a nation, thank you to all the farmers.

Untoss, we can reduce hunger.

In Africa, there are not enough ways to preserve, repurpose food, and there are not enough people educated on food waste and how we can preserve food. I have seen a lot of tomatoes, onions among other bruised fruits, just tossed away. The issue of food waste has been neglected for a long time.

Food waste is not good for the environment, food waste is not good for the people and food waste does not do justice to all the resources invested into the crop. In Africa, women, the gender mainly doing the farming to provide food for the family, can be helped in so many ways by preserving food. It helps them cut down costs of food expenses. Programs to encourage and help women improve their post-harvest farming skills should be in place. The more we tackle food preservation and prevent food waste we decrease food insecurity in populations. This improves health, functioning of children on school tasks and not forgetting the joy one has just from having a well fed stomach. When the food is not good enough for any sort of human consumption, we have to work with animal feed companies to see if they convert the food for animal feed.

Sub-Saharan hunger facts

  1. United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization estimates that 233 million people in sub-Saharan Africa were hungry or undernourished in 2014-6.
  2. Sub-Saharan Africa was the area with the second largest number of hungry people.
  3. The least progress toward reducing hunger is in the sub- Saharan region, where more than one in four people remain undernourished – the highest prevalence of any region in the world. 
  4. 40% of all children in Sub-Saharan Africa are stunted in growth due to hunger.
  5. The African continent has the highest population growth rate.

 

Womenomics in Agriculture

Gender disparities exist even in farming related activities. Underinvesting in women farmers leads to families living with malnutrition thus causing health hazards to families. Most women being subsistence farmers, if they are discriminated against then the whole family is at a loss of food sources. There is need to increase food security for women. Empowering women and providing assistance so they can have equally opportunities to men and independence is the tool which is key. If more women are empowered to be better farmers then there will be a decrease in the number of food insecure communities. As women nourish their children, policies and support should be given to women so that food security in the household is improved. 

WHAT WE'VE ACHIEVED SO FAR. . .

  • Semi-finalist Draper Collegiate Women Entrepreneurship Competition.
    • "The annual Draper Competition for Collegiate Women Entrepreneurs is designed to hone the skills that undergraduate women need to advance through the process from idea to venture creation. Through three rounds of competition, students demonstrate an understanding of a problem, why the problem requires a new venture to address it, how their idea presents the best solution to the problem, and what resources, partnerships and activities it takes to successfully launch the venture."- Draper Competition
       
  • Recognized as a technology commitment maker for upcoming Clinton Global Initiative University.
    • "Technology commitments harness innovation in order to democratize the flow of information, increase connectivity between populations, expand market-based solutions, and deploy a wide range of other sustainable development solutions."- CGIU

Upcoming conferences

  • Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing
    • "The Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing is the world's largest gathering of women technologists. It is produced by the Anita Borg Institute and presented in partnership with ACM. GHC 17 will be Oct. 4-6 in Orlando, FL."- GHC
       
  • Clinton Global Initiative University
    • "Each year, CGI U hosts a meeting where students, university representatives, topic experts, and celebrities come together to discuss and develop innovative solutions to pressing global challenges. It is a growing community of young leaders who don't just discuss global challenges--they take real, concrete steps toward solving them." -CGIU
       
  • OurCS Conference, Carnegie Mellon University
    • "This conference is organized by Carnegie Mellon's School of Computer Science and Women@SCS. It is a 3 day research focused workshop which provides opportunities for undergraduate women from the USA and around the globe to work on exploratory problems in teams led by researchers from industry and academia."- OurCS

Agriculture is critical to the food security of nations

‘Food security exists when all people at all times have physical and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food to meet their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life’ (FAO 1996).

Lack of food production has led to hunger and although the association is not so direct, agriculture plays a role in the fight against hunger. Getting rid of world hunger cannot be separated from improving the agricultural landscape, with transformations of farming and food systems. Agriculture, distribution of food and making sure markets work better, provides the potential to reduce poverty and hunger. It generates incomes for farmers and all those who work in agricultural and food chains providing inputs, transporting, storing and processing agricultural produce. Investments in agriculture are the best weapons against hunger because if do that we build on self sufficiency. A holistic approach to agricultural development is needed to address pressing development challenges such as food insecurity. 

Sustainable agricultural production can provide the foundation for achieving and maintaining access to food and for supplying people with adequate supplies of nutritious food. Many of Africa’s poor are engaged in farming or linked activities thus promoting agriculture is a good way to reduce poverty and, through that, hunger. All nations must work to make sure food must be locally available, abundant, and accessible to all of each country’s inhabitants. Such availability does not exist in many parts of the world despite the presence of millions of active farmers, both women and men, and extensive tracts of cultivable arable land. Although some of the reasons for food insecruties are weather calamities and war, helping smallholders adapt to modern techniques for agriculture is critical for global poverty reduction and food security.