An essay about Food Systems in Latin America
Hugo Alexander Moran Chavez
Department of Agricultural Leadership, Education, and Communication
129A Four Towers Building
University of Georgia
Presented in the Fall of 2016; updated and published on April 2018
Food systems is a crucial topic for International Agriculture Development. It is a complex opportunity in which the world can combine the most diverse and abundant agricultural systems of the world to create solutions for food security. In the years to come, the world will experience an increase in food demand and how to feed 9 billion people by 2050 will be the primary concern. Therefore, to gather those vibrant, diverse and complex food systems, it is imperative. According to FAO, “Food security exists when all people, of all backgrounds, at all times, have physical and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food for a healthy and active life.”
The four pillars of food security are food availability, access, stability, and sanitization. Combining the four pillars of food security leads to the need for conducting more research on Latin America’s food systems and agriculture. The world should combine Latin America’s food systems and agriculture to create solutions for food security, environmental degradation and social and economic sustainability. Food systems in Central America are abundant, from the vast variety of sugar production in Nicaragua to the most colorful beans plants in Central America.
However, most important, Central America has a potential of providing solutions to climate change problems that increase yields and help feed 9,000,000, 000 people by 2050. Recently, the Agricultural Technology Center (CENTA) of the Country of El Salvador, created the “miracle red beans.” Encourage by El Niño effects and a prolonged drought that hit Central American countries this year; the Agricultural Technology Center (CENTA) together with other small farmers of El Salvador developed a variety of beans that resist up to 15 days of droughts and up to two flooding and still have incredibly high harvests yields.
The beans are one of the primary food sources of Central American citizens. El Niño has been hitting the region with more intense effects than ever before and creating varieties of beans that resist those effects is crucial. In the last five years, the Agricultural Technology Center (CENTA) has been combining indigenous knowledge of small farmers to develop a new variety of beans that resist the effects of climate change. Among the effects that this new variety resist are elevated temperatures, droughts, flooding, pests golden mosaic virus and web blight.
Central America’s food systems and agriculture are rich in three of the essential elements for agricultural production: land, water, and human capital. It generates together with South America the 33 percent of the world’s water resources and if Central America continuous in the journey of meeting its food demand, there will be enough food to help fight hunger and decrease the rates of food insecure people around the world.
As depth and breadth of knowledge in food systems, agriculture, and natural resources becomes increasingly important to address food security problems, and minimize the effects of El Niño, the world needs to combine different food systems of Central America together with the indigenous knowledge to help meet the food demand and feed 9 billion people by 2050.
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