The use of technology to enhance access, connect growers to buyers, reduce cost and improve efficiencies.
According to the World Economic Forum, the global food security challenge is straightforward: by 2050, the world must feed 9 billion people. The demand for food will be 60% greater than it is today. This reality is one of the driving reasons why the United Nations has set ending hunger, achieving food security and improved nutrition, and promoting sustainable agriculture as the second of its 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for the year 2030.
We in the Caribbean are particularly susceptible to this as many of our countries harbour incredibly high food import bills. This is a clear indication that much of what we currently consume is imported. The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted those very supply chains in many ways with the full impact still unknown. With such a reliance on imports we create large economic and political risks. What would it mean for small island states if countries were to freeze their exports to supply shortages in their own countries? We need as a matter of urgency and our survival to make food security a priority. To achieve this objective will certainly require addressing a host of issues, from gender parity and ageing demographics to skills development and global warming. Our agriculture sectors have to become more productive by adopting efficient business models and forging better public-private partnerships. How can our startup communities rise to the challenge to develop sustainable solutions which address greenhouse gas emissions, water use and waste? How can we create better systems to improve production and nurture value creation in supply chains? How can we employ the use of available technologies to broaden access and connect small growers to buyers?
This is a time we can use to focus on delivering sufficient local food to our national populations and reduce the cost of food and become less reliant on imports and birth new sectors for export and value-added production.