PROF. MUHONGO: SCIENCE IN THE SERVICE OF HUMANITY

 

                                          


Africa's current population is 1.4 billion, and that of the world is 7.9 billion, as of May 2022. Its projected population in 2030 is at 1.68 billion people and that of world will stand at 8.5 billion.


In 2050, the estimated population of Africa will be of 2.5 billion people and that of the World will be at 9.9 billion.


WORLD'S FOOD CRISIS


Researchers have made numerous estimates of food consumption per person per day.


It is argued that most humans consume, for their satifications, between 1.4 and 2.3 kg per day.


It has also been reported that the world's food consumption has increased from 2,360 calories/person/day in the mid-1960s to the current 2,800 calories/person/day.


The quantity of food required in a day for survival: The U.S. Food and Drug Administration, estimates survival levels as follows -  food to provide 1,600 to 2,400 calories per day for adult women, 2,000 to 3,000 calories per day for adult men, and 1,000 to 2,000 calories per day for children.


GLOBAL FOOD CONSUMPTION


Estimates for some current GLOBAL quantities of foods being consumed per annum are as follows:


*RICE: approximately 509.87 million metric tons


*WHEAT: 787.4 million metric tons


*MAIZE: more than 116 million metric tons (70% of this in sub-Saharan Africa). Animal feed (corn) is excluded here.


*FISH: consumption rose from 9.0 kg per capita in 1961 to 20.3 kg in 2017. It is estimated that by 2029 global human fish consumption will reach 180 million metric tons.


*MEAT: 324 million metric tons in 2020


*MILK: 190 million tons in 2020 with India leading the consumption (81 million tons in 2020 and 83 million in 2021)


INCREASE OF GLOBAL FOOD DEMAND


Some studies show that global demand for food could sharply increase by almost 80% due increase of human population (7.9 billion in 2022 to 9.9 billion in 2050) and size of human body


By 2050, FAO estimates that the world will need to produce 60%  more food to feed its population. This would involve an additional quantity of nearly 1 billion tonnes of cereals and 200 million tons of meat.


MAJOR CAUSES OF GLOBAL FOOD CRISIS


There are numerous reasons causing  hunger and food insecurity around the world. They differ from one country to the other, and from one region to the other. They include:


*Prevailing poverty


*Conflicts including wars


*Economic turbulences, e.g. abrupt increase of commodity prices.


*Human-induced climate change (e.g. global warming) and natural hazards, and their negative consequences. 


Global energy-related carbon dioxide emissions (due to the increase use of coal) rose by 6% in 2021 to 36.3 billion tonnes, their highest ever level, as the world economy rebounded strongly from the COVID-19 crisis.


SCIENCE HAS THE SOLUTIONS FOR FOOD INSECURITY


Almost all fields of science (and engineering) with their concomitant technologies and innovations provide solution to the global food insecurity.


Some of the relevant fields of science akin to reliable and predictable food production and sound food security are:


Biotechnology



is the deployment of biological processes for agricultural and industrial purposes for the improvement of our lives. It may involve genetic manipulations


Space Sciences and technologies

Involve study of natural phenomena (e.g. weather, natural hazards - droughts & floods), communication tools, space exploration, study of objects in outer space, etc


Soil Science (pedology) and Soil Management

they include many aspects of studies ranging from its (soil) formation, classification, fertility and biological properties.


Seed science and technology

include the comprehensive scientific understanding of seed biology 


In 2021, CAGR reported that the global seed market size was estimated to be valued at US$ 63.0 billion and is projected to reach US$ 86.8 billion by 2026.


AFRICA'S COMPARATIVE ADVANTAGE


Africa can feed the whole world. Its major comparative advantages include:


*SIZE: Africa is the second-largest continent on Earth, with a total land area of roughly 30,365,000 km² . Asia is the biggest in terms of both size and population. 


*AGE: approximately 60% of Africa's population is younger than 25 years, and more than a third has ages between 15 and 34 years old.


Contribution by:

Sospeter Muhongo


*Officer, Ordre des Palmes académiques (Order of Academic Palms, a recognition established in 1808 by Emperor Napoleon)


*Fellow of The World Academy of Sciences (FTWAS)


Date:

Saturday, 21.5.2022



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