Agriculture & Food Security
Food Security means that all people at all times have physical & economic access to adequate amounts of nutritious, safe, and appropriate foods, which are produced in an environmentally sustainable and socially just manner. But, sadly, a huge percentage of the world's population has zero access to food.
According to the United Nations (UN) report, more than 836 million people in the world live in extreme poverty.
There are still many people in the world who lack adequate food and need to lead active and healthy lives.
Sustainable agriculture is an immediate solution to increase production efficiency and meet the demand of the world’s population. Without sustainability in the Agri-value chain, the world would lack availability, stability, and access to the food supply.
The deployment of sustainable renewable technologies in agriculture and food production is the key to driving sustainable agriculture in enhancing food security in the pre-production, production, and post-production stages.
Food Security Problems In Nigeria
Many Nigerians do not earn $1 per day. Nationally, about 43% of Nigerians (89 million people) live below the poverty line, while another 25% (53 million people) are vulnerable. For a country known as the giant of Africa with massive wealth and a huge population to support commerce, a well-developed economy, and plenty of natural resources, the level of poverty remains unacceptable.
A report by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation has said, "About 19.4 million people will face food insecurity across Nigeria in 2022."
Nigeria is one of the most populous countries in the world with more than 200 million people. To maintain the health and well-being of this growing population, certain things must be available; basic amenities, food, and shelter. These are to be available, affordable, and accessible to all citizens, especially poor and vulnerable groups.
Unfortunately, this is not the case in Nigeria. There are various challenges along the food value chain of production, distribution, processing, and storage. These include climate change, energy crises, insurgency and conflict in many parts of the country, natural disasters, pandemic-related shocks, and more recently; flooding, which all affect food production and push food prices up. Given the scale of these challenges for Nigeria, achieving Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 2 of zero hunger and other related SDGs may be a tall order.
Renewable energy technologies are capable of eradicating energy crises, climate change, food processing, and storage deficiencies.
How Renewable Energy Technologies Can Enhance Food Security
Energy has a huge role to play in putting food on your plate. It is not only used for cooking, heating, electricity, and transport in many places around the world, but it also aids farming & food production.
Energy is needed in the production of crops, fish, livestock, and forestry products, food storage and processing, food transport and distribution and of course, food preparation.
Because of the environmental and social problems the use of fuels and diesel generators have caused in the nation, the most viable solution for reducing agri-food systems’ use of fossil fuels while enhancing food productivity is a shift towards more sustainable, renewable energy sources.
By broadening access to clean energy and technologies along, the agri-food value chain can produce more and better quality food and reduce food losses. What are these technologies and how can they help?
Solar Irrigation Technology
Solar irrigation technology is a growing technology being adopted by large and small farms to irrigate their farmlands.
Each solar-powered irrigation system can supply 40liters of water per minute, with the solar panel collecting up to 500 watts of energy per day. The system can irrigate fields more than four kilometers from the dam. Cutting down on some of the time-consuming manual labor, and also allows farmers to use their time more efficiently, increasing the productivity of their farms.
Solar powered electricity
Solar energy as one of the renewable energy sources is considered not only for the production of food in agriculture but also for the production of electricity, which is widely used in agriculture as a substitute for conventional fossil fuels. Energy can be converted to electricity through the installation of PV panels which would generate enough power to supply constant power for watering farmland, preserving crops, and cooling farm produce.
Solar hybrid energy systems can be a cost-effective and environmentally friendly alternative for off-grid rural and agricultural electrification.
Solar Powered Cold Rooms
We see these in the number of solar-powered cold rooms and solar dryers and solar kilns springing up amongst tomato farmers and grain farmers across Nigeria.
Solar refrigeration technologies
Solar refrigeration technologies use solar power to run a cooling system. In areas with a high degree of solar radiation and a low supply of electricity, solar-powered refrigerators can be a suitable solution for the cooling of food and vaccines as well as medicines. There are mainly two different kinds of solar refrigerators: Solar PV Refrigerators and Solar Thermal Refrigerators.
Solar Processing systems
Great shares of a crop can get lost due to incorrect post-harvest treatments and transport. Solar processing systems have huge potential to improve the postharvest treatment of products. Technologies like solar dryers are designed to be more efficient than traditional methods and prevent crops from getting damaged by insects.
An investment in renewable energy technologies and energy efficiency after shifting renewable energy sources is the key for Nigeria to produce enough food to feed its growing population. This means embracing innovation, taking advantage of renewable energy technologies, and creating more efficient food value chains to boost sustainable development globally and enhance food security.
Torchmark is on a never-ending mission to provide governments and businesses in the Agri-value chain with the renewable energy technologies needed to boost crop productivity, sustainable farming, and ensure food security.