World hunger Samarkand Conference calls for collaboration and innovation Participants at the Samarkand International Food Security Conference have called on the world to act to solve one of the world’s biggest challenges: ensuring access to food for all.
Samarkand, in Uzbekistan, hosted the International Conference on Food Security. In 2022, 735 million people on the planet were hungry. Lack of access to food and healthy nutritional diets is a global problem that remains unsolved.
Conference participants called for joint action to ensure food security for people around the world.
The event was organized by Uzbekistan with the support of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). Ministers of agriculture from many countries participated, as well as international food security experts.
How realistic is it to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goal 2, zero hunger, by 2030? This question was one of the main topics discussed.
“Unfortunately, it looks like at this stage we will not achieve Sustainable Development Goal 2 – that’s what the data tells us.” said Corinna Hawkes, Director of FAO’s Food Systems and Food Safety Division. “What is urgently needed is cooperation,” she pleaded. “We have food systems that do not guarantee food security: to solve problems related to the economy, the environment, health or social problems that are part of food systems, it is necessary for people who work on these issues to speak and cooperate,” she pointed out.
Armed conflicts, disruptions in supply chains, poverty, climate change… There are many threats to food security and more and more people on the planet are facing hunger. Since 2019, there have been more than 122 million additional people in this case, due to conflicts, pandemics, and repeated climate crises.
“The reasons for the current food insecurity in countries like Afghanistan and Yemen are climate change and social and economic instability,” commented Yerlan Baidaulet, director general of the Islamic Food Security Organization. “We are talking about a global partnership: this is the main solution for us: bringing resources, people, and scientific methods to the field,” he said.
The Samarkand Declaration adopted at the Conference indicates that, according to current projections, in 2030, 670 million people will still suffer from hunger.
“There is the issue of food accessibility and price; it is very important to look at ways to improve the incomes of farmers and other people living in rural areas by diversifying livelihoods and creating opportunities,” said Aly Abousabaa, director general of the International Center for Agricultural Research in Arid Zones (ICARDA).
New technologies, innovations, and science could play a key role in the transformation of agri-food systems, one of the pillars of secure access to food.
“It’s very important to take this strategic thinking about innovation, technology, and science and bring it to the community level to ensure they have access to it,” said Vincent Martin, director of FAO’s Innovation Office.
“One of the big gaps we see,” he says. he continued, “It’s just that the people who need these innovations the most are the ones who can’t qualify for them. There’s an access gap, an information gap, and we need to fill that gap.” he insisted.
Uzbekistan faces the challenge of water in agricultural production
Food security is a top priority in Uzbekistan, a doubly landlocked country facing various challenges related to climate change. The strategy of its authorities aims to reduce water consumption in agriculture through the implementation of modern technologies to save it.
The issue of water resources is one of the most complex for the countries of Central Asia.
“Together with our neighbors we are already working in this direction, that is, in saving water resources.” Aziz Voitov, Uzbekistan’s Agriculture Minister, told Euronews. “But we have also discussed with our neighboring partners the effective joint use of land and food production so that together we can work effectively towards food security.” he specifies.
Focus on the most suitable crops
In Jomboy district, the Bogbon Agricultural Complex contributes through innovation to the implementation of the country’s food security strategy. This structure, which cost $2.6 million to build, is one of thousands of beneficiaries of the Uzbek government’s vast horticultural development project, supported by the World Bank and the European Union.
In its in vitro laboratories, clonal rootstocks of different fruit trees are grown, resistant to climate change and diseases, according to scientists.
“Our rootstock can survive soil salinity and water scarcity – you just take it and plant it in any soil,” says Daler Subjanov, general director of the Bogbon Agricultural Complex.
In the laboratories, soil samples from different regions of the country are analyzed. Farmers can then purchase the rootstocks that best suit their land.
“The advantage of these rootstocks,” he says. says Saberjan Akramov, farmer, “They are free of viruses and fungi. The rootstocks of these seedlings are specifically adapted to the local soil, which guarantees a good harvest,” points.
The Samarkand Conference sent a strong message to the entire world: the time has come to raise awareness and collaborate to guarantee food security for millions of people around the world.