World Population Day: the Global Challenge of Feeding 9 Billion People in 2050

The
world’s population was estimated at 7,137,661,030 on the 1st of January,
2014; but it is expected to hit 9.1 Billion by the middle of the century. Observers
and stakeholders are of the opinion that the population explosion may have
some catastrophic effects on human habitation and the continuous existence of
our dear planet- Earth.
In
our desperate bid to survive at all cost, extreme measures and selfish tactics
have been employed to provide for the inhabitants of this planet without any
serious consideration for the general well-being of the host itself. The
effects/results of these actions are far reaching to say the least and they
have led to endless episodes of horrible disasters which we continuously witness
in disturbing proportions. Global Warming, Gas Flaring and Oil Spillage
among other extreme climate issues could annihilate the universe if they
are not seriously addressed before the end of the century.
The
Challenges
·       
Poverty-
The shocking reality is that poverty is a major challenge, some 85% of the
world’s population live in abject poverty. I shudder when I think about the rate
of people who cannot afford to have a meal in a day and the figures are
accelerating in geometric proportions, particularly in developing countries.
The ability to afford the basic necessities of life, which food and feeding
are very important parts of is centered solely on the availability of money to
purchase these items. The United Nations and other powerhouses are playing a
prominent role in the fight against global poverty and hunger but more still
needs to be done.
·       
Gender
Inequality- Gender disparity is a major concern, the world is structured in a
way that supports chauvinism and women are particularly disadvantaged. In my previous
write-up, “Gender Equality: Let’s Make
It Happen
” this topic was extensively addressed. According to reliable
statistics, the number of female farmers to male farmers is 3:1 but their
male counterparts have unequal access to arable lands, high-tech tools and
farm equipment, credit facilities and other available incentives to the
detriment of the female folks.
·       
Uneven
distribution of wealth- By 2050 the world’s population will reach 9.1 billion,
34 percent higher than today. But one of the barriers to inhibiting the
desired food security needed for feeding these people is the unequal
distribution of income. Life is not fair; that is nobody’s fault but the world
is structured in a way that favors the rich and its helps them to get richer
to the detriment of the poor and downtrodden because socialism tends to
promote monopolistic tendencies.
The meritocratic situation of the
Nigerian economy provides abundant reference, the richest man in the Africa (Alh.
Aliko Dangote) is from this country and the richest woman in the continent is
also a Nigerian (Mrs. Folohunsho Alakija) but, this unbelievable feat does
not impact positively in the life of the average Nigerian because more than 70%
of the total Nigerian population still wallow in abject poverty. According to
a UN report, they live on less than a $1 a day. I would like to state
categorically that I do not blame any of these typhoons or both of them for
what is obtainable in the country, I only blame the system that does not
provide a level playing ground for everyone to excel at their own pace
irrespective of race, gender, skin color, family background among other social
parameters. The need to ensure an unparalleled access and equitable
distribution of wealth cannot be overemphasized. The correlation between
poverty, hunger, unemployment and crime rate can attest critically to this
fact.
·       
Climate
Change- The scourge will affect agriculture and forestry systems through
higher temperatures, elevated carbon dioxide (CO2) concentration,
precipitation changes, increased weeds, pests and disease pressure. Global
mean surface temperature is projected to rise in a range from 1.8°C to 4.0°C
by 2100. Such changes will have more or less severe impacts on all components
of food security: food production and availability, stability of food
supplies, access to food and food utilization.  
At the current state of knowledge and
in view of the wide consensus among scientists that climate change is already
ongoing, climate change is more than a risk. It is a challenge to take
effective action both to mitigate its effects and to adapt to its unavoidable
consequences.  
The impacts of climate change on crop
production are geographically very unevenly distributed. Although the
countries in the Southern hemisphere are not the main originators of climate
change, they may suffer the greatest share of the damage in the form of declining
yields and greater frequency of extreme weather events (droughts and floods).
It has been estimated that the aggregate negative impact of climate change on
African agricultural output up to the 2080-2100 period could be between 15
and 30 percent. On the positive side, in the temperate latitudes, mostly the
Northern hemisphere, higher temperatures may benefit agriculture: the areas
potentially suitable for cropping will expand, the length of the growing
period will increase, and crop yields may rise.
On
a lighter note, the World Population Day is an annual event, observed on July
11 every year, which seeks to raise awareness of global population issues.
The event was established by the Governing Council of the United Nations
Development Program in 1989. It was inspired by the public interest in Five
Billion Day on July 11, 1987-approximately the date on which the world’s
population reached five billion people. (Source; Wikipedia.com).
The
main purpose of this significant day is to serve as a wakeup call to decision
makers to ensure that efforts are put in place to ensure that our continuous
existence as a humans and the general well-being of our host planet is given
the utmost attention it sole deserves.
Not since the end of the Second World War
have so many people been forced from their homes across the planet. With
nearly 60 million individuals having fled conflict or disaster, women and
adolescent girls are particularly vulnerable. Violent extremists and armed
groups are committing terrible abuses that result in trauma, unintended
pregnancy and infection with HIV and other diseases. Shame and accountability
rest squarely on the shoulders of the perpetrators who wage cowardly battles
across the bodies of innocents.
These women are far from just victims.
They have hopes, plans and the potential to make important contributions to
our common future. We must staunchly protect women’s health, including their
sexual and reproductive health, and address their needs as a priority in
emergency relief operations. At the same time, we must continuously advance
women’s human rights in times of both turmoil and calm in order to enable
them to help avert conflict, stand strong should it strike, and foster the
healing that is so badly needed in war-torn societies.
“As the United Nations marks its 70th
anniversary this year, let us take strength from our founding mission to give
hope and support to the most vulnerable. On this World Population Day, I urge
countries to commit to bold results that will make 2015 a time of global
action, putting people first so that they help build resilience, peace and
sustainable prosperity for generations to come.”
United
Nations Secretary General, Ban Ki Moon (speaks on the World Population Day
and its significance)
Let’s
Make the World A Better Place
Olusanya
Oluwole Sheriff
Oluwole Olusanya
Oluwole Olusanya is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of one of the fastest-growing lifestyle and entertainment website in the country. He is a banker, writer, blogger, public affairs analyst and a tax consultant. He anchors Trending Topics on SHEFFA where he shares his thoughts and opinions on trending issues. He is currently studying for a Master’s Degree in Business Administration at the University of South Wales, Wales, United Kingdom. He has diplomas in Banking and Finance, Investigative Journalism, Creative Writing, and Linguistics from Lagos State Polytechnic, Isolo, Lagos, University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, Scotland and The Open University, Milton Keynes, United Kingdom.