SDG 2 Case Study: Increase Food Security through Sustainable Community Agriculture

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The goal of SDG 2, “Zero hunger” is to end hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition, and promote sustainable agriculture. Between 2014 and the start of the COVID-19 epidemic, the number of people experiencing food insecurity and hunger had constantly been rising. There were between 720 million and 811 million hungry people in the globe in 2020, an increase of about 161 million over the previous year. The percentage of nations with high food costs increased significantly from 16% in 2019 to 47% in 2020. 

 The governments are working on improving the food security situation, and implementing policies to increase the agriculture sector’s productivity and competitiveness. However, economic crises and political risks have worsened the food insecurity rate worldwide. For example, in recent years, there has been a rise in the number of people affected by the COVID-19 pandemic in Malaysia, which has led to economic uncertainty and job loss for many. In addition, the number of people facing food insecurity increased drastically with the frequency of natural disasters and inflation.

In this article, we share some of the sustainable strategies to achieve SDG 2, Zero Hunger and a case study on how sustainable agriculture and community garden concepts solve hunger issues among the indigenous communities in Malaysia. 

SDG 2’s Targets

2.1 By 2030, end hunger and ensure access by all people, in particular the poor and people in vulnerable situations, including infants, to safe, nutritious and sufficient food all year round.

2.2 By 2030, end all forms of malnutrition, including achieving, by 2025, the internationally agreed targets on stunting and wasting in children under 5 years of age, and address the nutritional needs of adolescent girls, pregnant and lactating women and older persons.

2.3 By 2030, double the agricultural productivity and incomes of small-scale food producers, in particular women, indigenous peoples, family farmers, pastoralists and fishers, including through secure and equal access to land, other productive resources and inputs, knowledge, financial services, markets and opportunities for value addition and non-farm employment.

2.4 By 2030, ensure sustainable food production systems and implement resilient agricultural practices that increase productivity and production, that help maintain ecosystems, that strengthen capacity for adaptation to climate change, extreme weather, drought, flooding and other disasters and that progressively improve land and soil quality.

2.5 By 2020, maintain the genetic diversity of seeds, cultivated plants and farmed and domesticated animals and their related wild species, including through soundly managed and diversified seed and plant banks at the national, regional and international levels, and promote access to and fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from the utilization of genetic resources and associated traditional knowledge, as internationally agreed.

2.A Increase investment, including through enhanced international cooperation, in rural infrastructure, agricultural research and extension services, technology development and plant and livestock gene banks in order to enhance agricultural productive capacity in developing countries, in particular least developed countries.

2.B Correct and prevent trade restrictions and distortions in world agricultural markets, including through the parallel elimination of all forms of agricultural export subsidies and all export measures with equivalent effect, in accordance with the mandate of the Doha Development Round.

2.C Adopt measures to ensure the proper functioning of food commodity markets and their derivatives and facilitate timely access to market information, including on food reserves, in order to help limit extreme food price volatility.

Sustainable Strategies to Achieve SDG 2

Individuals, communities, governments, and organisations can take several actions to help achieve SDG 2 and end hunger, achieve food security, and improve nutrition. We summarise the sustainable strategies for achieving SDG 2: 

  1. Promoting sustainable agriculture: Sustainable agriculture practices can help increase productivity, protect the environment, and adapt to climate change. By investing in sustainable agriculture and supporting farmers who use these practices, we can help ensure food security for present and future generations. 
  2. Supporting local and small-scale farmers: Local and small-scale farmers, particularly those in developing countries, are often the most vulnerable to hunger and malnutrition. By supporting them through initiatives such as access to land, water and markets, as well as training and education, we can help increase their productivity and incomes. 
  3. Reducing food waste: Food waste is a major contributor to hunger and malnutrition. By reducing food waste at all levels of the food system, from production to consumption, we can help ensure that more food is available for those who need it. 
  4. Encouraging and supporting investments in rural infrastructure and services, including transport, storage and market facilities, can improve the resilience of food systems and support sustainable agriculture. 
  5. Support research and development of sustainable technology, seeds, planting material and farming methods can improve food production and increase resilience in case of natural disasters or climate change.

Case Study: Improve Food Security among the Indigenous Communities through Sustainable Community Agriculture

Background

Indigenous peoples, also known as Orang Asli in Malaysia, are the country’s original inhabitants. In 2017, it was estimated that 13.8% of Malaysia’s total population of 31,660,700 people were members of the country’s indigenous people.

The indigenous people of Malaysia have a deep connection to the land and their traditional territories and have a unique culture, language, and way of life. They rely heavily on their traditional livelihoods, such as hunting, gathering, farming, and fishing, which are closely tied to their environment and culture. For example, the Jakun people are the majority of Malaysia’s Orang Asli members in Peninsular Malaysia. They have a balanced relationship with the forest, where they take care of it and only take what they need to survive. 

However, the Jakun communities have faced significant challenges over the years, including loss of land and resources, forced displacement, and marginalisation. This has resulted in many Jakun people living in poverty and food insecurity. Besides, their traditional lands and resources were taken over by logging, mining, and other extractive industries. They are losing their traditional territories and livelihoods and environmental degradation. The COVID-19 pandemic has worsened their source of income and their livelihood, leading to food insecurity.

Challenges

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the lockdowns and movement restrictions implemented to control the spread of the virus have caused economic disruption and livelihood challenges to the Jakun communities. The impact has been sustained even after the release of movement restrictions. 

Many Jakun people rely on small-scale farming, hunting, and gathering for livelihood. The pandemic has disrupted these activities and access to markets, resulting in economic hardship for the Jakun households. In addition, the pandemic has affected food supply chains, making it harder for indigenous communities to access food and other essential goods. The restrictions on movement have made it difficult for people to gather food from the forest, which can be an essential source of food for the Jakun communities. As government and private entities use the crisis to push through development projects that affect the communities, the pandemic has also resulted in the greater displacement of Jakun indigenous groups and land loss

Solution

To solve the food insecurity problem among the Jakun communities, a non-profit organisation collaborated with businesses to help the communities turn the limited land access into a community farm. The project focused on producing a sufficient food supply for the communities, enhancing the diversity of their sustainable agriculture and preserving cultural values.

The members of communities signed up as members of the community farms, contributing their traditional knowledge in farming and organising the community farm together. Youths were involved in family-sharing activities where the families came together to check on the health of the crops to learn plantation and environment sustainability knowledge through experiential learning. 

Regenerative agriculture was introduced to the communities where they improved soil fertility and health to produce more nutritious food. They produced their own compost with food, crop, and animal waste.

Impact

The Jakun communities involved in the project became less reliant on food donations and subsidies, where they could produce their own food. They had access to fresh, healthy food more easily. The community farm concept has improved the connection between the communities as they work together for one goal, which is to fight for food security. Sustainable agriculture – regenerative agriculture also eased the malnutrition issues among the communities, especially children. The result has been the achievement of Targets 2.1, 2.2, 2.3, 2.4 and 2.5.

Conclusion

In conclusion, SDG2 is a big task. Still, as a project like a case study with the Jakun indigenous community shared, it is achievable by implementing community-concept garden or farm, sustainable agriculture practices and providing smallholder farmers with the necessary support, training and resources. To achieve SDG 2, businesses could come in to provide access to resources, access to the market, the know-how on sustainable agriculture, and even practical operational solutions such as building a greenhouse for marginalised groups and local small-scale farmers.

References

  1. Goal 2: Zero Hunger – United Nations Sustainable Development. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/hunger/#:~:text=The%20figure%20increased%20by%20nearly,24.4%20per%20cent%20in%202015.

  2. United Nations. (n.d.). SDG indicators. Retrieved from https://unstats.un.org/sdgs/report/2022/

  3. The Indigenous World 2022: Malaysia. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.iwgia.org/en/malaysia.html

 

Case Study: SDG 2 Zero Hunger

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