Leuphana U in Germany Associate Researcher Talks on Food Security and Diversity at CSU

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Food Security and food abundance is oftentimes assumed to be related to food production. However, research shows that, that is not always the case. There is enough food produced to feed every person in the world and yet, malnutrition and hunger are still prevalent. Most often or not, social, political, cultural and demographic issues are but some of the many overlooked underlying factors. It is in this regard that a researcher from Leuphana University, Lüneburg, Germany, Ms. Aisa O. Manlosa, conducted a worldwide lecture-workshop to understand the underlying causes of food scarcity affecting each region.The “Systems-Mapping Workshop on Food Security and Biodiversity of the Caraga Landscape” was held at the CEIT Audio Visual Room and the lecture on “Livelihood Strategies and Food Security in Rural Southwest Ethiopia” was held in CSU Conference Room on December 12 and 13, 2017 respectively.

The workshop focused on the most basic but the most important element to sustain life – water. Butuan City’s water source is the Taguibo watershed; the group deliberated the factors affecting the shed. Since the watershed supplies both the household and aqua-agriculture needs of the area, it plays a direct and crucial role in food security. Various activities in the area pose a major threat to its biodiversity like forest conversion, illegal mining, quarrying and constructions of infrastructures like dams and all others.

Cultural and political issues also beset the area this includes the Indigenous People (IPs) who occupy a substantial portion of the watershed while lawless rebels hide in its recesses. Policies on protection and the conservation of the shed are overlooked or under-sustained while majority of the residents of Agusan remain unaware of these critical issues. It is hoped that the results of the workshop would significantly contribute awareness, understanding and concerted effort to address the prevailing concerns.

On the other hand, the lecture on “Livelihood Strategies and Food Security in Rural Southwest Ethiopia” was attended by students from CASNR, CAS and CEIT, with some faculty members of the Environmental Sciences Department of CSU. Dr. Varela welcomed everyone and introduced the resource speaker, Ms. Aisa O. Manlosa, who is a former faculty member of CSU and is currently a fellow from Leuphana University, Lüneburg, Germany.

Dr. Varela stressed that food security and diversity are critical issues affecting everyone and that each one has a role to play in addressing or at least in minimizing its impacts. She further highlighted the works of CSU and Ms. Manlosa in combating food scarcity and biodiversity in the region.
Ms.Manlosa talked on the best food strategies practiced in the world’s major coffee producer – Ethiopia. Her research showed that, though planting coffee alone produces significant revenue to Ethiopia, it however exponentially lowers food security. It further revealed that instead of producing one variety of food crops like maize and one variety of cash-earning crops like coffee, farmers should maintain a diverse and varied crops like maize, teff, sorghum, coffee and khat to be more food secure. Her study proved that it is not only the coffee which drives food security in Ethiopia but it is mostly governed by crop variety. It is thereby empirical to revisit the existing government policies in Ethiopia which are promoting only the production of coffee and to instead promote crop diversity. LEA/jASSH

The round-table discussion during the workshop moderated by Ms. Manlosa

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