Student Spotlight – Bernard Abeiku Sam

How I can bring food security to my community

The issue of food security has been life-threatening in many parts of the world. In many countries’ individuals are facing food crisis and as a result it is also devasting for their local economies. Food security has become a global challenge with many dimensions.

What then is Food Security?  Food security refers to the availability of food and one’s access to it. A household is considered food-secure when its occupants do not live in hunger or fear of starvation.

According to the World Resources Institute, global per capita food production has been growing substantially for the past several decades. The ultimate objective of food security should be to ensure that all people at all times have both physical and economic access to food that they need. Food Security has three basic aims: ensuring production of adequate food supplies, maximizing stability in the flow of supplies, and ensuring access to available supplies on the part of those who need them.

At the global level, Hunger results from political and economic inequality, environmental degradation, unjust trade policies, inappropriate technology, and other factors depending on local context. Weaknesses in the variables of access, availability, and proper utilization of food leads to what individuals and households experience as hunger. In my country Ghana, most roads leading to rural areas of food production are in bad shape, which limit the transportation of food from those areas to the urban centres. In addition, the storage and processing technologies used to store and process this food are not well established leading to waste of fresh food produce. Furthermore, pursing agriculture related programs are seen as programs that are pursued by poor people and much attention are not paid to them.

The desire and intense passion in me to address these issues carved out my career path into the field of study of swine nutrition.  In addressing the situation, I can create an awareness through teaching and extension services. For instance, extension agents need to be well trained and equipped with adequate knowledge and information (workshops, in-service training etc.) on effective and efficient farming practices to convey the message to peasant farmers who might be depending solely on traditional or conventional knowledge. To modify their farming activities in order to achieve the desired results and goals using modern farming practices, this knowledge and information must be available to them through appropriate channels (phone calls, SMS, etc.). Also, the roads connecting the rural areas to the urban centres needs to be well established and fixed to ensure easy access of food from the rural areas to the urban centres.

The need for backyard farming by households must be encouraged to facilitate easy access to fresh produce food and meat to majority of the populace. Moreover, providing educational opportunities for community members to learn more about food production and food waste which is focused on proper nutrition and more effective farming practices assist in supporting income generation and healthy lifestyles and keeping an eye on and adjusting the way that food is purchased, prepared and distributed is important in reducing food waste, and building on global food security.

Contributing towards women’s empowerment in the agricultural sector by helping them access capital through the right sources (cooperate organizations, microfinance, etc) is also a way to strengthen the agricultural workforce. In fact, the UN reports that if women had the same access to farming resources as men, we could prevent 150 million people from living in hunger.

Finally, volunteering with various organizations as agricultural researcher has enabled me to facilitate nutritional workshops, assist in setting up community food gardens, and contribute towards establishing sustainable farming practices. Education-focused community projects also build on a community’s food security foundation, and work to address the social causes of food insecurity.

Thus, it is my mission to bring food security to my community, Ghana.

Editor’s note: Bernard Abeiku Sam is one of those people that never gives up on his dreams. He desperately wanted to pursue a doctorate degree in swine nutrition. That is why I am so excited to announce that he will be attending The University of Arkansas starting in January to fulfil his dream. His project is being jointly funded by DSM, PIC and JBS. It will focus on gilt development nutrition and he will continue my work in sow longevity. He is truly an inspiration how a little thing of connecting our students to our professional networks can lead to big things and allowing their dreams to fly. Thank you all for the continued support.

One of the first things I will need to teach Bernard is how to call the hogs! Woo Pig Sooie!

animal black and white pig wild animal
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