Food safety is integral to food security and sustainable development. The liberalization of trade in agriculture has given rise to the need for science-based food safety programs. The Codex Alimentarius, the standards and texts of which serve as the benchmark for food safety in the World Trade Organization, provides guidance in developing science-based measures to preempt or mitigate food safety risks. Within the Codex framework, risk analysis is the iterative and highly interactive process of ensuring that measures to assure the safety of food, i.e., standards, are scientifically and legally defensible. Despite a lack of resources to provide the ideal food safety infrastructure, institutions of higher learning in developing countries are in a unique position to respond to food safety challenges, as the specialized expertise needed for risk assessment, risk management and risk communication resides in these institutions. The tripartite function of teaching, research and extension of agricultural universities allows their resident experts to contribute to all aspects of risk analysis. Curricular programs in agriculture and food technology can accommodate a specialized course in food safety. With global concerns on food safety increasing, it is inevitable that food safety topics will be infused into a number of course offerings in related programs. University-based research can generate the data needed for robust risk assessment that adequately covers peculiarities in health status and vulnerabilities; such research can also provide information for designing appropriate risk management systems. Networking for the dissemination of information on food safety to all stakeholders and the provision of expert services will be key contributions to university extension programs on risk communication. Despite the expertise that resides in agricultural universities, university-based experts still need to be familiarized with established approaches to ensuring food safety. Both disciplinary and integrated approaches are needed for academe to participate effectively in risk-based national food safety programs.
In comparison with other regions, productivity levels for many food products in sub-Saharan Africa are extremely low. As a consequence, production has not kept pace with a rapidly growing population. Chief among the reasons for the low productivity is the low level of training of the agricultural extension professionals who are responsible for advising farmers on better farming methods. The role of universities is to ensure that the wheels of food production and the entire value chain are well oiled with the necessary knowledge and skills to ensure a continuous and sustainable supply of safe food. In this paper, we argue that lifelong learning ensures that professionals in the field are able to cope with continuously changing needs. We draw from the experience of the Sasakawa Africa Fund for Extension Education's work with universities in Africa promoting the establishment of lifelong learning programs for mid-career agricultural extension professionals over the past two decades. An on-going initiative aimed at embracing the emerging “value chain” concept in agricultural training is used to illustrate the process of curriculum revitalization, which is one of the greatest challenges to universities. The process requires, among other things, dialogue among the main stakeholders to develop a consensus on strategic vision, goals, and priorities for action; critical analysis of the knowledge and skills needed to meet the changing needs; reform of agricultural education policies; revision of university curricula to make them more responsive to the needs of society; and strong partnerships between universities, employers, and the agricultural industry.
Food insecurity affects proportionally more people in Africa than in any other region of the world. The incidence of food insecurity is greater in sub-Saharan Africa than in other regions of Africa. Nigeria is still far from achieving food security. Most food consumed in Nigeria is still produced by small-scale or household farmers who, in most cases, lack the know-how and resources to use modern techniques and procure the necessary farm inputs for maximum yields. Thus, their productivity remains very low. Nigerian universities have been actively involved in agricultural research and development and in training and extension services. The Nigerian Government has established agricultural universities whose primary objective is to tackle food security problems in Nigeria and beyond. However, the response to this challenge is constrained by inadequate research and training facilities. This paper expounds on the impacts and challenges confronting Nigerian universities in addressing food security in Nigeria in the context of the important role of university education in maintaining food security, and in the light of the changing needs of developing economies. It proposes, among other things, that increased collaboration between Nigerian universities and their counterparts in more developed countries will help Nigeria in its quest to achieve food security. A substantial percentage of foreign aid should be used to support developing sustainable agriculture through funding of agricultural research and training.
We suggest the reorientation of agricultural higher education in light of some emerging issues in the context of globalization, such as food security, diversification, sustainability of ecosystems, and agribusiness. These issues will pose challenges to future agricultural scientists, particularly in the developing countries. The curriculum of agricultural higher education needs to be made more broad based by including topics such as biotechnology, genetic engineering, agro-meteorology, environmental science, agro-ecology, computer application, information technology, conservation of natural and human resources, specialized job-oriented courses, and trade and export in agribusiness in the context of globalization. Manpower has to be trained scientifically to develop technologies in various areas. Finally, adequate emphasis should be placed on practical skills and entrepreneurial capabilities among the students to achieve excellence.
The world population is expected to reach anywhere between 6.8 and 9.1 billion by 2050, creating a growing demand for food. Thus, Thailand exports food products throughout the world and we are just as concern as many other people are around the world about “Food Quality and Safety”. By investigating agricultural products, Thai's government has requested that farmers and exporters understand the procedures of Good Agricultural Practices (GAP), the processes for food in Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) and Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) to minimize contaminated food products. Thailand is a world leader in growing safe food products and this gives Thailand the best opportunity to become the “Kitchen to the World” and support the Thai's National Strategy for food production “From Farm to Table” principles. Kasetsart University and other associated universities throughout Asia have implemented programs for dissemination of technological information and exchange of ideas to help develop the versatility of agriculture for solving agricultural problems in Thailand and Asia. These programs also provided procedural information and opportunities for farmers in the Central Plains of Thailand as case studies for producing safe vegetables for both international and domestic markets. Thailand, as many other countries has challenges with food security and safe production including but not limited to: 1) failure of leaders to attract a new generation of farmers; 2) combating food contamination; 3) low quality food nutrition; 4) adaptation of pests in agriculture production to combat agriculture pest problems; 5) changes in market shares between food and non-food production (bio-fuel); 6) training of farmers and scientists; 7) education of farmers and scientists; and last but not least, 8) eradication of poor agricultural practices. These are the essential tools for constructing, maintaining and improving food safety and secure production in Thailand. In short, we all as educators, scientists, government officials, corporations and their representatives, down to the individual farmers need to do our part to ensure food safety and security for our countries and for the rest of the world. As I have stated, Thailand is striving to become the “Kitchen to the World” and that is our continuing goal.
Growing evidence of global climate change, specifically in the Philippines, has forced us to respond to its impacts to ensure the wellbeing of our people. Scientists are in agreement that, over the last 150 years, the Earth has warmed by 0.7°C. In the Philippines, the projected increase in temperature, based on the trend for the period 1951-2006, is in the range of 0.8-2.4°C by 2050. Reduced rainfall has also been noted in some areas, particularly during El Niño events, whereas there has been an increase in rainfall over Western Visayas. Also, the number of tropical cyclones appearing in the Western Pacific seems to be increasing, but no individual tropical cyclones can be directly attributed to climate change. Climate change is expected to have adverse impacts on many sectors. Sea level rise is a threat to coastal communities and island ecosystems. Weather changes and climate variability could severely affect coastal fisheries because of flooding and coral bleaching. Limited rainfall during the growing season and excessive rainfall during wet months are expected to cause a decline in agricultural productivity; coupled with population increases, this could place more people at risk from hunger. Typhoons such as Ondoy and Pepeng have caused extensive damage to life, property, and agriculture in the Philippines. These two typhoons have triggered speculation of food insecurity and have forced the national government to address the challenges brought about by climate change. This challenge is presented here with respect to the potential role of tertiary educational institutions—how do we enhance our people's capacity to adapt to changes in climate?
Indonesia is currently facing nutrition security and food safety problems. Although production of major food commodities has grown, Indonesia is still strongly dependent on imports for some commodities. Approximately 25.28 million Indonesians consume less than 70 percent of the recommended dietary allowance of 2000kcal/capita/day. The diet of Indonesians is also unbalanced, with a high contribution of rice and wheat to total energy intake but few tubers, vegetables, fruits, soybean, and animal foods. In addition, more than 100 million Indonesians currently face micronutrient deficiencies, including iron, vitamin A, and iodine deficiency. Most who are severely energy deficient and consume an unbalanced diet are rural farmers of small plots, and agricultural productivity is being affected negatively. Food safety of both fresh and processed products is another major issue. Textile coloring and other dangerous substances such as formalin are widely used, particularly by small-scale food industries. Solving the problems of food and nutrition security in Indonesia will require various strategic efforts, including improvement of higher education curricula and research in related fields. Bogor Agricultural University provides a wide range of education services in fields related to food and nutrition security. Courses related to food production are taught by the Faculties of Agriculture, Animal Husbandry, and Fisheries, and food safety courses are taught by the Faculties of Agricultural Technology, Animal Husbandry, and Fisheries. Nutrition security courses are offered by Faculty of Human Ecology. Content analysis indicates that the food safety courses are more suitable for medium to large food industries than small-scale operations that actually have serious food safety problems. However, many student and faculty research projects are less relevant to current food safety problems and few investigate new food alternatives and improvement of distribution and food accessibility, particularly among the poor. Improvement of curricula, course content, research, and community services are recommended.
In this paper, we focus on the risks to human health that may be directly and indirectly caused by food production. A typical example is the inappropriateness of the material balance of nitrogen and phosphorous in the Lake Kasumigaura Basin. Agricultural production and fishery activities prosper in the basin. Nitrogen and phosphorous overflow into the lake due to the industrial wastes as well as from other sources of water pollution such as household and manufacture wastewater even though they must be processed and treated following strict regulations on wastewater effluents into the lake set by the Prefectural Government. The water of Lake Kasumigaura is used for drinking even though inorganic nitrogen and phosphorous cause sudden growth of toxic Microcystis. Furthermore, underground water is contaminated with nitrogen nutrients and the contaminated water is hazardous especially if taken by children. Another example of contamination is the emissions of Greenhouse Gases (GHG) such as methane and dinitrogen monoxide due to improper or insufficient treatment of biomass wastes in the basin. In this paper, the material balance of nitrogen and phosphorous in the basin is shown and the potential of the biomass resources in the lake estimated. Feasibility and effectiveness of composting and methane fermentation technologies are analyzed from their impacts on GHG emissions in the basin and the flow of nutrients into the lake.
In 1962, Japanese people consumed 118.3kg year−1 person-1 of rice. However, after decreasing continuously for four decades, consumption was only 61.9kg year−1 person-1 in 2003. Since the 1980s, Japanese people have preferred highly palatable, high-quality rice products instead of quantity. We investigated some palatability properties and characteristics of rice products in different regions around Japan. Thicker brown rice and heavier brown rice were thought to have high palatability and quality, traits that have been associated with low percentages of protein and/or amylose. However, our results showed that these two characteristics were not related to palatability in the case of thicker brown rice. The surface and the interior ultrastructure of cooked rice also affect palatability. In highly palatable cooked rice, thin fibrous and mesh-like surface structures are well developed; mesh-like and spongy structures are also detectable inside. In contrast, the surface of cooked rice of low-palatability is covered with gel-like structures and has less-developed fibrous and mesh-like structures; fewer mesh-like structures are detectable inside. Different cultivars and environmental conditions also affect palatability and quality. The major conditions are the effects of high or low temperature, water status, and strong rain or wind during the ripening period. Currently we are analyzing the ripening process and how environmental conditions during ripening affect rice palatability and quality.
The University of Tsukuba's Agricultural and Forestry Research Center (AFRC) is hosting the UNESCO-APEID International Symposium on Agricultural Education for Sustainable Development (Ag-ESD) from 2008 to 2013 to contribute an agricultural viewpoint to the United Nations “Decade of Education for Sustainable Development.” The goals of this activity are to promote the development of an energy and environmental education model suitable for use in developing countries by taking advantage of the knowledge and experience gained through the comprehensive programs of the University of Tsukuba's Senior High School at Sakado (UTSS). In 2008, we selected Bogor Agricultural University's Kornita Senior High School in Indonesia to cooperate with UTSS on developing an energy and environmental education model. We focused on bamboo, a common native material with deep roots in the country's culture, and developed courses based on the concrete results produced by the comprehensive programs at UTSS. During our first visit, we implemented the educational cooperation model, and developed a shared understanding of bamboo as a material for energy and environmental education. During our second visit, we presented a draft education curriculum and lecture contents, then provided a model lecture that introduced the multiple functions of bamboo, and demonstrated charcoal production and use. We created English teaching materials that combined an instructional objective with a lesson plan that combined theory from multiple scientific disciplines with hands-on experience applying this knowledge. By reviewing a native material using the approach used in the comprehensive programs at UTSS, this activity promises to develop an excellent, unique, energy and environmental education model to promote sustainable development based on the utilization of an alternative biomass material while simultaneously promoting environmental preservation.
The Thai government has established policies on food safety and food security in order to increase global awareness of these issues. A food-safety policy was declared in 2004, primarily to promote Thailand as the “kitchen of the world,” and a food-security policy was issued in 2008 to secure safe agricultural and food products. To achieve these goals, effective collaborations have been implemented among multiple organizations as networks in Thailand, including government agencies and the primary-production, food-manufacturing, food-supply and consumer sectors. Research and development (R&D) is one effective way to manage food-safety and food-security problems. The main topics of food safety research in Thailand are innovative preventive measures and rapid detection methods for agents in the food chain that cause food-borne illnesses. R&D on food security has focused on sustainable development based on the so-called “sufficiency economy”, and has focused on a combination of traditional and innovative biotechnology in all primary-production sectors. In conclusion, the success of R&D on food safety and food security in Thailand is dependent on many important factors, such as capacity-building, strengthening of joint collaboration among various sectors, and accessible communication with all related organization networks.
Seed plays a vital role in most crop-production ventures. Various strategies for seed management are important for food security and safety. One of these is the use of organic seed. Organic production requires that farmers use fertilizers from natural sources and natural pest management techniques, but they must also use organic seed. Organic seed is locally adapted natural seed, not a product of genetic engineering. It should be farmer-bred, and its parents must have been grown organically for at least one generation. Organic seed production should be coupled with appropriate seed handling and processing, storage, and quality testing processes that are site-specific, cost efficient, and promote maintenance of a sound environment. Self-production of seed (seed saving) is another strategy that should be encouraged so that farmers are not dependent on private seed companies or government for their seed. This approach will also discourage the planting of hybrids and thus reduce the risk of genetic erosion. The role of seed in genetic conservation is particularly significant during times of disasters, famine, and climate change. Conservation of locally adapted and traditional seed varieties in community seedbanks will help to maintain sustainability in agricultural production and empower local communities by making them custodians of the genetic heritage of their crops. A university seed program that caters to the needs of students, researchers, farmers, and the private sector is needed. Tertiary education about seed should be improved and should focus not only on providing knowledge and skills but also on inculcating value systems. Current curricula should be examined to see if they address current needs. Informal seed education involving farmers in local communities should also be considered as this will empower farmers by increasing their control of the seed they use and the food they produce.
Women working in Indonesian tea plantations are usually part-timers with few skill and low income. In order to work, they have to leave their children at home or in day care. We examined the nutrient adequacy level and prevalence of stunting among children of these workers. The intake of most nutrients was below the recommended dietary allowance: energy 83.1%, protein 91.8%, fat 66.2% vitamin A 71.4%, vitamin C 50.4%, calcium 69.3%, and zinc 32.2%. Nutrient adequacy, especially energy and protein, was negatively correlated (P<0.05) with children's age. Nearly 22% of children had a low weight-for-age (WAZ; Z<-2), 9% had a low weight-for-height (WZ), and 53% had a low height-for-age (HAZ): that is, they were stunted. HAZ was correlated with the intake of protein, calcium, iron, and zinc (P<0.01). The population in this region lacked food and nutrition security.
The tamaraw (Bubalus mindorensis) is a wild buffalo endemic to Island of Mindoro, Philippines and one of the world's critically endangered animals. In the early 1900s the tamaraw could be seen all over the island of Mindoro, but its distribution is now restricted to only three protected areas, with a total estimated population of about 250. The main reasons for its population decline have been unrelenting habitat destruction and illegal hunting. Recent field surveys of the tamaraw have revealed that survival of the tamaraw in the Aruyan Preserve is critical, and the subpopulation in the Mount Iglit-Baco National Park seems to be the only core herd that can be subjected to a practical conservation program. Identification of the tamaraw by fecal DNA analysis would be useful in further studies to verify the animal's ecological behavior, including its existence, range, population dynamics, and genetic diversity.
Climate-induced disasters, such as floods and landslides, have negative impacts on agricultural sustainability and food security worldwide. Our aim was to promote awareness of climate change, evaluate some of its adverse effects, and suggest methods that could help enhance agricultural production in two areas in the Philippines. Soil erosion was examined in Bukidnon province and a flood assessment was conducted in the Metro REINA (Real, Infanta and General Nakar) area in Northern Quezon. In Bukidnon, spatial dataset analyses were implemented using GIS and remote-sensing techniques. The corresponding factor values of each parameter were computed and encoded to spatial datasets before calculation. The extent of soil erosion was then classified into different categories. About 37% of the total land area of Bukidnon suffers from very high to very severe erosion. Many farms in this area are located on slopes, therefore soil conservation measures and the use of suitable crops enumerated in a previous paper authored by Adornado and Yoshida (2008) were recommended. The effects of flooding in the REINA area were evaluated by using multi-temporal satellite and elevation data. About 4,600ha, including rice fields, in REINA were covered by more than 39 million m3 of sediments ranging from 0.017 to 1.5m thick. We recommend basket farming and the use of deep-rooted plants in areas heavily covered by sediments. Crops that thrive in sandy soil should be planted in areas with shallow sediment deposits to re-establish farming in those areas. A better understanding of climate change and its effects could increase the chances of developing appropriate strategies to abate the negative impacts of climate change, thereby enhancing both food security and agricultural sustainability.
The stockbreeding industry plays a vital role in the food production system, and it is expanding rapidly in the rural areas around large Chinese cities such as Beijing. On one hand, with rapid development of living standard, the demand for animal products dramatically increased; on the other hand, this industry carries a high environmental risk in terms of COD (Chemical Oxygen Demand) and T-N (Total Nitrogen) and T-P (Total Phosphorous) levels because of large amounts of pollutants released to rivers. However, as a typical biomass resource, stockbreeding waste can be used as an energy source in advanced technologies. We raised integrated basin management policy from the aspects of economy, society and water environment and we performed a computer simulation of this integrated basin management policy in Miyun County, Beijing. We modeled the integrated basin management policy with introduction of two new technologies to enhance the stockbreeding production and improve the environment from the sustainable development viewpoints. The model considered both the water environmental system in the region and the socioeconomic situational changes over a 10-year period. This paper briefly reviews our researches about biomass resource use and water environmental protection. The purpose of our research was to establish a method for effectively enhancing food security, with coordination between water environmental protection and economic development in order to contribute to sustainable development.