Agriculture, Food & Nutrition, People

Five innovative tech solutions to help end global hunger

Responsible Business | Oct 16, 2018

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“The world’s hunger is becoming ridiculous. There are more fruits in the rich man’s shampoo than on a poor man’s plate.”

The World Food Day 2018, which is held every year on October 16, connects people from around the world to declare their commitment to eradicate worldwide hunger from our lifetime. This year’s theme is “Our actions are our future. A #ZeroHunger world by 2030 is possible”.

Facts about world hunger:

Here are 5 innovative ways organisations are addressing world hunger by 2030:

1. Gene-Edited Crops

Photo credit: Ousa Chea

How will we feed 9 billion people by 2050? Gene editing is essentially a much quicker form of breeding. New companies are being set up to help evolve the nutrition of food with the promise of delivering high quality, trusted ingredients that are traceably produced for complete transparency. The powerful new gene editing technology known as CRISPR allows researchers to correct genetic defects, treat and prevent the spread of diseases and improve crops. The latest advancements could result in healthier food alternatives for consumers with the same great taste that they love.

2. Precision Agriculture

Photo credit: Joao Marcelo Marques

Advancements in precision agriculture, a farming management concept that incorporates internet of things (IoT) technology into farming techniques, offers another way to help feed the planet. It uses high precision positioning systems (like GPS) that are the key to achieve accuracy when driving in the field, providing navigation and positioning capability anywhere on earth, anytime under any all conditions. Agriculture companies are currently implementing technology ecosystems that combine unmanned tractors, drones, and other precisions equipment so that future farmers will be able to make smarter production decisions and increase crop yields, making farms more efficient.

3. Peer-to-Peer Networks

Photo credit: TUAN ANH TRAN

There are 500 million small-scale farmers around the world, who together grow more than 70% of the world’s food. A new wave of social enterprises has risen to allow small-scale farmers connect with one another to solve problems, share ideas, and spread innovation. Wefarm, the world’s largest farmer-to-farmer digital network, allows farmers to ask questions in their own language on anything related to agriculture, from battling a crop disease to best practices for growing cash crops. It uses machine learning and the power of the crowd to source the very best content and knowledge from a network of over 660,000 farmers, even via SMS.

4. Urban Farming

Photo credit: Jonas Jacobsson

Food production must increase by 70 percent in spite of the limited availability of arable lands if we are to feed the 9.6 billion people projected to inhabit the planet by 2050. Vertical farming refers to the practice of growing crops indoors in vertically stacked layers or on vertically inclined surfaces inside structures. These indoor farming systems are designed to maximise crop yields while minimising environmental impacts. Moreover, by bringing farms closer to where people live, this farming method is expected to be both efficient and cost-effective by reducing transportation expenses. Elsewhere, year-round growing is possible with the Aquaponics process, which combines growing plants in water with fish cultivation and is also suitable for growing in urban spaces.

5. 3D Food Printing

Photo credit: creil91

3D food printing offers a range of potential benefits. It can be healthy and good for the environment because it can help to convert alternative ingredients such as proteins from algae, beet leaves, or insects into tasty products. As long as the ingredients can be puréed, it can be printed. Recent innovations have made possible machines that print, cook, and serve foods on a mass scale. The innovative technology also offers many possibilities to make the consumption of products like meat more sustainable and space travel more comfortable by introducing new ways of preparing a meal in space.

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