By 2050 9 billion people are expected to inhabit our planet. Quality of living is also expected to rise substantially. What does this mean? Food production needs to increase 3 fold in the next 35 years.
This issue, that has often been brought up in my human geography and environmental science classes, called for a global conference recently. The World Food Prize held in Des Moines, Iowa, annually brings farmers, scientists, political leaders, and students together from around the country, and around the world. For an entire week, the issue of global food insecurity is discussed through a series of panel discussions, lectures, conferences, and symposiums. With farmland shrinking and population increasing, our generation must come up with a solution to feed all the people on our planet.
As part of the Global Youth Institute (GYI) I had the privilege to confer with these experts and present the research that I had done. The GYI is a program tagged along to the back-end of the World Food Prize, to encourage the youth to pursue the agrarian field and help solve the inevitable issue of food insecurity with a growing population. In January, I picked a country and a factor that affects food insecurity there and based on the research I conducted about the chosen topic, I wrote a paper. This paper addressed the life of a typical farmer in the regions, how the factor impacts food productivity, and plausible solutions for the presented issue.
My research began when I heard the Mannevaru family story, the plight of a small, rural farm family from the south-Indian state of Andhra Pradesh. They experienced year, after year, of disappointing agricultural yields. While the reoccurring low yields was a culmination of a variety of factors, a major concern was water scarcity. So I decided to write my paper about water scarcity in Andhra Pradesh.
Over the course of two months, as I wrote the paper, I felt as though I had taken a trip to India myself, and interacted with these farmers who had been decimated by water scarcity. I was in the fields planting the rice paddies, anxiously awaiting harvest. I was with the Chandra Reddy family, celebrating when the Rural Livelihood Project entered the Medak District and helped save the family farm.
In the process of writing this paper, I fell in love with the land of Andhra Pradesh and cultivated a passion within me for the well-being of these farmers.