Producing food for the world’s growing rural and urban populations starts with agricultural land. Reducing current high levels of hunger and malnutrition, as called for by the Sustainable Development Goals, will depend on land use decisions and governance from the global to the local level. Although about 40 percent of the world’s land is used for crop production and pasture, today some 800 million people remain food insecure and as many as 2 billion are malnourished. Achieving food security requires physical, social, and economic access to safe and nutritious food.
The world at a glance
For over fifty years, Hamisi Bidii farmed a small piece of land 50km north of Mombasa in Kilifi County, Kenya. Hamisi grew cashew nuts, palm and mango trees on his four-acre plot – which provided a modest income for his family – and served his community and country as a local Administration Chief in the years immediately following Kenya’s independence.
Forest foods are in high demand in haats or tribal community markets and nearby rural markets. Forest produce such as honey, amla and several fruits are in great demand in urban malls. Though this may appear as an opportunity for economic empowerment of the tribal communities, this may lead to degradation of the forests, hampering availability.
The Marathwada region of Maharashtra is known for its drought-stricken conditions. Farmer suicides have been on the rise and families of the farmers are always on the fear that they would be losing their loved ones to the drought.
To add to plight, if the farmer belongs to the Dalit community, the struggles of the individual are more pronounced. The story of Kantabai Ichake entails similar struggles – a 70-year-old Dalit woman who is among many who have spearheaded the fight of Dalit women across Marathwada.