In this second part I will examine how several contributing factors and new solutions have matured to form the basis for this worldwide revolution that can help feed the world’s growing population for years to come.
New solutions to these challenges
Lately, we have been seeing a dramatic change, which has created the basis for solving the challenges mentioned in my previous post:
Water shortages and droughts
Water shortages and droughts are not theoretical anymore and are not only perceived at a global/macro level. Today, these water shortages are affecting the individual farmer.
In order to cope with water problems, regulators cannot afford to remain on the sidelines, and in many areas they are imposing water quotas and other types of restrictions.
UN and NGO involvement
According to an official UN report, the world’s population has exceeded seven billion, and is expected to rise to 9.3 billion by 2050! This means that in fifty years, the world will need 100% more food than that produced today to feed the world’s population. Since this increase in yields can only come from modern and more efficient farming practices, the UN, several NGOs, and global financing institutions have been launching several global initiatives to cope with this serious problem and assist in the adoption of modern technologies among smallholders. These initiatives include assistance in capital investments, raising awareness, training, and more. Netafim has been playing an important role in this process, by participating in the CEO Water Mandate and in the UN Global Compact, facilitating the access to these modern practices and technologies among the developing countries.
Involvement of the global industries
Global food enterprises have a vested interest in sustaining their supply chains and are taking action to ensure the adoption of sustainable practices throughout their supply chain. From imposing sustainable practices to actively investing in the adoption of modern technologies throughout their supply chain, it is clear that they play an important role in this process.
Making drip irrigation more accessible
We have addressed the accessibility challenges in developing countries. In addition to our involvement with NGO-led training and educational programs, we are developing solutions that are more available to these growers – less costly to purchase, install, and maintain, and simpler to operate, such as the Family Drip System (FDS). In Kenya, for example, this system, which requires no additional investment in infrastructure, has maximized the farms’ productivity using their existing resources, to the point that smallholders are on the way to becoming commercial farmers.
A focus on staple foods
Due to the reasons mentioned above, we believe that now is the time for a massive global change. It is not only a pressing global need; it is also vital for the farmers themselves in order to sustain their farms in increasingly challenging conditions. Our focus on staple foods has already presented substantial positive results.
We have installed drip irrigation systems in rice, maize, cassava, and sorghum fields throughout the world, including Turkey, India, Thailand, Nigeria, US, Australia, the Philippines, and Israel. Results have been astounding – very significant water savings, higher yields, increased land availability by growing on slopes, higher nutrient efficiency and savings (minimized soil and water contamination), and lower greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.