• Food security and agriculture for a world without hunger

Food security and agriculture for a world without hunger

Today nearly 800 million people in the world go hungry and do not have enough food to lead a healthy active life, most of them are living in rural areas. In addition, two billion people suffer from malnutrition. Poverty and a lack of access to food are the current main causes of food insecurity. A growing world population and rising incomes lead to a higher demand for agricultural products which puts natural resources – land, water and biodiversity – under increasing pressure. New developments such as urbanization, modern technologies, biofuels or large scale investments in land further challenge traditional modes of rural development.

Food security and agriculture play a central role in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). SDG-2 calls for ending hunger, achieving food security and improved nutrition as well as promoting sustainable agriculture until 2030.

The livelihoods of most food-insecure households worldwide are still largely based on agricultural activities. Growth in the agricultural sector has a much greater effect on food security than growth in any other sector. Agriculture can thus play a key role in many countries for accelerating overall economic growth and job creation – particularly in Sub-Saharan Africa. But agricultural development would need to respect environmental challenges. Furthermore, for the poorest people social protection schemes are an essential part of food security, especially in conflict regions. For other households social protection can be a social safety net that enables them to invest and preserve productive capital during periods of crises, thereby increasing resilience.

How to achieve food security until 2030? How can agricultural production be increased sustainably? How can the impact of climate change or other stressors be mitigated? What are the future perspectives for smallholders and large-scale agro-investments, which interdependencies exist? Do we need a structural transformation in rural areas? Which mix of social, economic and technical policies is needed to reach different household and farm types in rural areas in order to support their different needs and potentials in an optimal way? How can the design and implementation of social protection schemes be improved to achieve both relief and longer-term objectives?

In a large research and consulting project, funded by the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), the German Institute of Development and Sustainability (IDOS) analyzes how development cooperation can become more effective and contribute to increased food security in rural areas of Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA).