Problem: Pesticides, fertilizer, GMO’s, seeds, put high costs on farmers. How can we increase crop yields, and create better lives for farmers by increasing their productivity without harming their incomes?
Pesticide costs: According to National Geographic, it costs 500 000 Tanzanian shillings, more then $300, to buy enough pesticide to treat a single acre. This is a crippling expense in a country with an annual per capita income is less than $1,600. The use of pesticide also traps farmers in a cycle of dependency. Referred to as the "pesticide trap," farmers get caught on the treadmill as they are forced to use more and more — increasingly toxic — chemicals to control insects and weeds that develop resistance to pesticides.As "superbugs" and "superweeds" develop in response to widespread and continuous use of chemicals, a farmer will spend more on pesticides each year just to keep crop losses at a standard rate.
Overall, pesticide resistance is increasing. In the 1940s, U.S. farmers lost seven percent of their crops to pests. Since the 1980s, loss has increased to 13 percent, even though more pesticides are being used. Between 500 and 1,000 insect and weed species have developed pesticide resistance since 1945.
Delegates should consider whether pesticides, fertilizers, GMO’s, and other farm equipment, are viable methods of improving food security, or if they do more harm (to the environment, human health, and farmers incomes) then they do good.
Alternatives: Planting more varied crops to reduce the risk of one group of pests destroying an entire crop. Planting “refuge fields” filled with plants pests like - thus luring them away from cash crops. Biological pest control, using natural predators to deter insects.
Consider that the world's population will grow to 9 Billion by 2050. The United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization has predicted that the world needs to produce 70 per cent more food to feed all these extra people. Today, 9 million people die annually from starvation. Food security affects every country, from Canada's north, to famine in South Sudan, to saltwater infiltrating cropland in pacific island nations.
Check out this great local organization that fights to improve food security in Newfoundland and Labrador!
Poverty contributes greatly to the lack of resources to purchase or produce food, but there is no single root cause of poverty. Famines are historically caused by problems in food distribution, rather than insufficient food production. The problem does not come from not having enough food, but not having the political will to distribute the food to low-class citizens. These citizens are often blamed for their lack of food (i.e. they breed too rapidly and contribute to the rapid, and supposedly dangerous, increase in global population), but this is not the case. When the price of food increases, the number of people who are food insecure also increases, making it a much harder problem to solve.
Food price in the North:
Indigenous peoples living all across the North experience food insecurity at 5-6 times the Canadian average
Food prices also connect to health and can contribute to poor health in these populations. Healthy items are in general more expensive, so people who are food insecure are generally unable to afford healthy items. Consumption of unhealthy foods contributes to health problems, which harshly affects one’s life. By controlling someone’s food, you are controlling their life.
There is no doubt a need for agricultural lands across the world in order to continue to produce food for us to live. However many of these agricultural lands cause environmental harm that threaten the environments well-being along with issues concerning food security. These agricultural regions such as farms take up lots of land base which takes away from natural areas. This then impacts the world's natural biodiversity. Quite often once a crop has been grown and the soil has lost most of its nutrients so farms continue to expand onto new land.
Many farmers in developing countries are forced to turn their crops into cash crops. Cash crops are crops produced for large scale sales instead of for the farmer who owns them. These large companies that take over cash crops use genetically modified plants that are resistant to pesticides. All other things besides the plants on the crops die. The large companies own the rights to these types of genetically modified plants which means countries who don’t use these types of plants will fall behind because their food is to expensive to grow so it can’t compete. This leads to more and more farms using harming pesticides in order to be able to continue to grow their crops. When farmers sell their crops to be turned into cash crops, their communities become dependent on trade in order to get their food sources. They are dependent on imported foods instead of their own local farms. Large amounts of water gets used for the large crops and lots gets wasted with farming technologies such as irrigation.
1. Fair trade practices are important in ensuring that small town farmers are getting full value for the product they are selling. This means that local farms would not have to hand over their crops to large industries. They would be able to regulate their own crops and would eliminate much of the harmful effects caused by mass use of pesticides along with wasted water.
2. Educating farmers about environmentally friendly farming habits such as how to add nutrients to soil instead of continually moving farms after the nutrition runs out of the soil, would reduce effects on natural areas surrounding farms.
3. Shopping locally for produce can have major benefits. For one it allows local farmers to generate revenue while also generating food for their communities. Many places that rely on outside sources for food supply face problems when there are major weather events that happen in the supplying regions. If people began to start shopping locally when weather events like these happened, they would not be nearly as effected as they can continue to receive food from their local farms. As more and more people started shopping locally, more and more farms would begin to appear which would help their own region’s economies. Shopping locally has benefits for everyone involved.
General situation of world fish stocks United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)
Based on FAO’s analysis of assessed stocks in 2016 the share of fish stocks within biologically sustainable levels has exhibited a downward trend. Stocks were 90 percent sustainable in 1974. By 2013 however, this figure had dropped to 68.6 percent.
Of this 68%, 58% were fully fished, leaving no room for growth, even as global population grows to over 9 billion by 2050. Only 10.5% of fish stocks worldwide are underfished.
In total 31% of fish stocks are overfished. We catch over 90 million tons of wild fish yearly, this huge source of human nutrition must be protected.
Aquaculture & marine protection/sustainable fisheries.
World per capita fish supply reached a new record high of 20 kg per person in 2014, thanks to vigorous growth in aquaculture, which now provides half of all fish for human consumption, and to a slight improvement in the state of certain fish stocks due to improved fisheries management.
Aquaculture brings its own host of problems, but we’ll leave it to you to investigate that and write a resolution on it if you so choose.
In small communities in Baja Mexico, fisherman took it upon themselves to increase the sustainability of their fisheries. They established self policed, self studied areas of marine protection. These areas, tiny in comparison with most marine reserves, are hotspots of marine biomass and diversity. Fishermen also self regulate their fishing seasons, opening later, and closing earlier, than the Mexican government officially allows. These two policies have resulted in increased harvest and wealth for fishermen. “Today Abreojos and a few like-minded Baja communities following the same strategy catch more than 90 percent of Mexico’s abalones”
“The idea is to have like a savings account,” says José Manuel Rondero, a 35-year-old fisherman who has watched lobster and fish populations plummet.
Now he is watching them rebound. Can Baja be a model for global fisheries?
This Section focuses on Food waste, Regulation of agricultural industry (GMOs, pesticides (neonicotinoids/bee die off), and Government's Role in distribution of food and how they (sometimes) create food scarcity.
Countries that have better food security commonly have a government that emphasizes agriculture and has economic incentives for agricultural development.
An important role that the government plays in the protection of food access is through the policies they implement. Governments have the power to create policies that regulate prices on foods to ensure that goods are being fairly priced. They also have the power to regulate what substances are being used in agricultural production. In the EU there's an understanding that agriculture and food development are facing many risks in coming years therefore have prioritized food security for the EU’s long term development.
Different Governments around the world have different regulations on pesticide use. Pesticide use is known to link directly to the death of Bees! Which are an essential part of almost every ecosystem which in turn affects agriculture.