Water and food security in the spotlight

2019-10-23 06:01

Access to water and food is a fundamental social justice issue. The importance of access to water and food is being highlighted by research done by a team of academics who have been hard at work exploring ways in which to secure water and food in Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (Brics nations).

These scholars from the University of the Free State (UFS) and the North-West University recently published a paper titled, Exploring the Political Economy of Water and Food Security Nexus in BRICS.

Dr Thulisile Mphambukeli, Dr Victor Okorie and Prof. Samuel Amusan are members of the Food Security Research Cluster of the South African Brics Think Tank that has been fervently tackling the water and food security challenge.

Mphambukeli is a senior lecturer at the Department Urban and Regional Planning at the UFS.

The team argues that unequal access and distribution of water has in the past led to violent conflict. The paper cites Qwaqwa as one of the many areas affected by water-service protests in the recent past.

“Water and food crises are worsening thanks to the intensification of climate change, rapid urbanisation, nutrition transition and population growth. Solutions to these crises partly lie in cooperation and collaboration among nation states, regional economic commissions, and global power brokers.

“For agronomic and husbandry practices, there is a pressing need for research activities on innovative ways of supplying water to crops and animals such that water loss through evaporation and run-off is significantly reduced,” according to the scholars.

In an effort to achieve food security, Brics aims to stimulate domestic capacity for production. Food and nutrition security cannot be achieved without water security, and vice versa.

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