The world is currently experiencing a food crisis of unprecedented magnitude, driven by a combination of conflict, economic shocks, climate extremes, and soaring fertilizer prices. A staggering 828 million people are uncertain about where their next meal will come from. The situation demands immediate action and investment in solutions like commercial greenhouse structures that can ensure food security, stability, and peace for all, lest we witness a rise in global hunger.
According to the World Food Program, the scale of the ongoing hunger and malnutrition crisis is immense. In the 79 countries where WFP operates and has data available, more than 345 million individuals are facing high levels of food insecurity in 2023. This number is more than double the figure recorded in 2020, representing a shocking increase of 200 million people compared to pre-COVID-19 levels.
The alarming truth is that over 900,000 people worldwide are currently struggling to survive in dire hunger conditions, teetering on the edge of famine. This number has multiplied tenfold in just five years, signaling a rapid escalation that necessitates immediate intervention. The global community cannot afford to falter in its commitment to eradicate hunger and malnutrition by 2030.
The WFP is confronted with multiple challenges, as the number of acutely hungry individuals continues to rise at a rate that is unlikely to be met by available funding. Moreover, the cost of delivering food assistance has reached an all-time high due to increased food and fuel prices. Failure to meet these unmet needs will significantly amplify the risk of hunger and malnutrition, leading to loss of life and the regression of hard-earned development progress. Swift action and the allocation of necessary resources are imperative to avert this humanitarian crisis.
Holistic Approach To Tackle World Hunger
Countering food shortages requires a multi-level approach involving individuals, corporations, and governments. At the individual level, awareness and education about sustainable food practices, reducing food waste, and supporting local agriculture is crucial. Individuals can make conscious choices in their consumption patterns and advocate for policies promoting food security.
Corporations play a significant role by implementing sustainable and inclusive agricultural practices, supporting small-scale farmers, and investing in research and development for resilient crops. They can also contribute through corporate social responsibility initiatives and partnerships with organizations addressing food insecurity.
Governments must prioritize food security by developing and implementing effective agricultural policies, investing in infrastructure, and supporting farmers. They should foster international cooperation, establish safety nets for vulnerable populations, and allocate resources for emergency relief and long-term solutions.
Collaboration among individuals, corporates, and governments is essential to ensure a comprehensive and coordinated response to food shortages, addressing both immediate needs and long-term resilience in the face of challenges like climate change and economic shocks.
Call To Action By Small Business Owners
Small businesses and individuals can contribute to addressing food shortages in the following ways:
- Establish Greenhouses
Small businesses or individuals with access to land can set up greenhouses. Greenhouses provide a controlled environment for cultivating crops, extending the growing season, and protecting plants from adverse weather conditions. By growing food in greenhouses, even in areas with limited arable land or harsh climates, individuals and small businesses can increase local food production and contribute to addressing food shortages.
- Support Local Farmers
Small businesses and individuals can support local farmers by sourcing their food from nearby farms. This direct support helps sustain local agricultural communities and reduces reliance on long and energy-intensive food supply chains. By purchasing locally produced food, individuals and small businesses can strengthen local food systems, promote food security, and contribute to mitigating food shortages in their communities.
Starting A Small Greenhouse Business
Starting a small greenhouse business involves several key steps. Here are four essential steps to consider:
Research and Planning
- Conduct thorough research on greenhouse farming, including crop selection, market
demand, and greenhouse construction methods.
- Understand the local climate, growing seasons, and potential challenges.
- Create a comprehensive business plan outlining your goals, target market, and
financial projections, and marketing strategies.
- Determine the size and type of greenhouse that suits your needs, considering factors
like available space, budget, and the crops you intend to grow.
- Assess the financial requirements of starting and operating a greenhouse business,
including greenhouse construction, equipment, utilities, seeds, and ongoing operational expenses.
- Explore financing options such as loans, grants, or partnerships with investors.
- Prepare a detailed financial plan, including startup costs, revenue projections, and
cash flow analysis, to demonstrate the viability of your business to potential lenders or investors.
Greenhouse Construction and Setup
- Acquire the necessary permits and licenses for greenhouse construction and
operation, complying with local regulations.
- Choose a suitable location with ample sunlight exposure, good drainage, and access
to utilities like water and electricity.
- Construct the greenhouse structure, ensuring it is durable, well-ventilated, and
equipped with the necessary irrigation and climate control systems.
- Purchase or install greenhouse equipment, such as heating systems, fans, lighting,
and irrigation systems, based on the specific needs of your chosen crops.
Crop Selection and Cultivation
- Select crops based on market demand, profitability, and your region’s climate
- Consider factors like disease resistance, productivity, and niche market opportunities.
- Source high-quality seeds or seedlings from reputable suppliers.
- Implement proper cultivation practices, including soil preparation, planting, watering,
fertilization, pest and disease control, and crop rotation.
- Continuously monitor and manage the greenhouse environment, ensuring optimal
temperature, humidity, and ventilation to promote healthy crop growth.
There is a saying that a single sparrow cannot make the spring. But the grit of mankind has surpassed several natural and unnatural calamities and humans have emerged victorious every time. So, we need to keep our thoughts positive and think about the big picture where every drop in the ocean counts. Hence, believe in the fact that your small greenhouse business is not just feeding your family and employees but also supplying fresh produce that is so much appreciated by another person’s family who may have picked the greens grown by you in their salad bowl for dinner. Hunger is a universal problem, and food is the language the world understands.