A roundtable on `Rural Transformation: Climate Resilient and Low Emission Food Systems’ during the UN Climate Change Conference (COP23) in Germany has addressed the Sustainable Development Goal on Zero Hunger by linking food security to improved rural transport
A roundtable on `Rural Transformation: Climate Resilient and Low Emission Food Systems’ during the UN Climate Change Conference (COP23) in Germany has addressed the Sustainable Development Goal on Zero Hunger by linking food security to improved rural transport.
COP23 has gathered national representatives from around the world to progress the aims of the Paris Agreement and its Sustainable Development Goals for social, political, economic and environmental advancement.
Commonwealth countries, particularly Least Developed Countries in Africa, struggle with populations suffering from poverty-induced hunger.
The Research for Community Access Partnership (ReCAP) contributed its findings on the impact of sustainable agriculture, rural-urban transport links and renewable energy to securing access to food at the roundtable on November 14, 2017.
ReCAP and its partners, the Partnership on Sustainable Low Carbon Transport (SLoCaT), UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and the Global Resilience Partnership (GRP), proposed changes needed in rural areas to reduce emissions and build up rural transport infrastructure.
As part of its proposal, ReCAP shared a blog post by Manu Sasidharan, a PhD researcher for the Roads Research Group at the University of Birmingham’s School of Civil Engineering.
The Roads Research Group focuses on the provision of reliable, safe, economic and climate resilient access to rural areas to support the growth of their developing economies, concentrating on asset management and geotechnical engineering as its two principal research areas.
In his post, Sasidharan concentrated on the creation of an integrated risk and asset management framework to aid in the maintenance of rural transport infrastructure.
He said that almost one billion rural residents, or 68% of the global rural population, do not have access to all-season road networks.
Developing countries’ rural economies are predominantly agrarian and access markets through supporting infrastructure and supply chains.
However, 45% of land areas in low income countries, and 51% in middle income countries, are situated more than five hours away from such markets, limiting the agricultural sector’s ability to meet local food needs.
Improved all-season road infrastructure and transport services would increase food security and allow farmers to sell produce more frequently to a wider market at competitive prices.
They also enable support goods and services to reach farms more efficiently, such as fertilisers, high-yield seed varieties, mechanised equipment, veterinary services and agricultural extension workers.
This reduces costs, wastage and produce damage during transportation, as seen in Kenya where improved roads reduced transport costs for bananas by 14%.
Additionally, rural road investment in the 1970s led to a 25% agricultural produce growth in India and had a substantial impact on poverty reduction.
More generally, easing methods of mobility helps more vulnerable social groups such as women, children and the elderly, to achieve greater income generation and complete daily tasks, and has encouraged the development of more small-scale businesses and farms.
Sasidharan concluded that more affordable, accessible and reliable rural transport can help low-income families source affordable food and farmers to access markets.
He said that rural transport networks increase agricultural productivity, empower women and children, and improve the efficiency of food production and distribution to provide nutritious food and end hunger.
Read More: The High-level Advisory Group on Sustainable Transport, co-chaired by Martin Lundstedt, CEO of the Volvo Group, and Mayor Carolina Toha of Santiago, Chile, provides a focused set of recommendations on how the transport sector can advance sustainable development with poverty eradication at its core, promote economic growth, and bolster the fight against climate change