organic products grown in a sustainable habitat

Food security

18 December 2013

environment, farmers, partnership

The need to address food security has never been greater: it is moving up national agendas around the world. Everyday, nearly 1 billion people go to bed hungry and even more are malnourished. And this figure could potentially rise with the global population expected to reach 9 billion by 2050.

But what is food security?
The World Food Summit of 1996 defined food security as a condition existing “when all people at all times have access to sufficient safe, nutritious food to maintain a healthy and active life”. This concept includes both physical and economic access to food that meets the individuals’ dietary needs as well as food preferences.
Food security is a complex sustainable development issue built on three pillars:

Food availability: sufficient quantities of food available on a consistent basis;
Food access: having sufficient resources to obtain appropriate foods for a nutritious diet;
Food use: appropriate use based on knowledge of basic nutrition and care, as well as adequate water and sanitation.

To feed this growing population, farmers will need to achieve at least a 70 percent increase in food production by 2050. Achieving food security will not be easy considering the megatrends of growing population, greater affluence, and increasing in urbanization. Not only are more people demanding more food, but they want greater variety.

This is where sustainability of agricultural food production systems comes into the mix, as it is critical to the future of the world. As population increases, more demand will be placed on farmers to produce even more food, while paying more attention than ever to the environment.

While demand for food is growing, the farmers' ability to increase productivity is facing unprecedented challenges. Scarcity of water, energy, and land is expected to define food production in the coming decades. Already, agriculture uses 40 percent of the world’s land surface and 70 percent of all available fresh water.

This is a one sided view of the solution to the food security problem. In contrast, another solution can refer not to increasing the quantity of food but to use the land efficiently and effectively by planting perennial crops with higher yields per hectare. These crops represent sources of proteins, carbohydrates and fats that have higher nutrition content as their lower yield substitutes. These crops include grains, nuts, starchy fruits and oilseeds such as palm among others. . For example, for 1 tone of palm oil 0.26 hectares are required, whereas for soya or sunflower oil 2 hectares are needed.

These perennial crops offer the unique possibility of satisfying basic human food and are resilient in the face of extreme weather, surviving drought, flooding and storms better than most annual crops. In addition, they can simultaneously sequester carbon, reduce soil erosion and protect biodiversity as they can mimic the structure of a forest most closely.

In general, the solution to food security has to be integrative focusing mostly on sustainable agricultural practices, that will use the current land more efficiently and effectively to protect biodiversity without expanding into natural ecosystems.
Thus, developing modern and sustainable agricultural solutions – combined with supporting infrastructure, access to markets, information and financial resources – is key to increase productivity and improve farm profitability and at the same time have a beneficial impact on water, land, and biodiversity. This sustainable production system helps farmers earn better incomes, live better lives, and be efficient stewards of the land.

For Natural Habitats, sustainable and organic farming practices are a core driver for responsible production to achieve the goals for 2050!

In Ecuador there are numerous Natural Habitats’ programs that focus on balancing the triple bottom line. This means, that all the programs are designed to contribute and improve the livelihood of the local community, by being economically viable, socially responsible and environmentally sound. Learn about our sustainability programs here .

Overall, Natural Habitats continuously demonstrates its commitment to the development of a sustainable world not only globally but locally as well!


Blog & News

Palm Oil Is Everywhere

Palm oil (Elaeis guineensis) originates from West Africa. Once planted, after 3-4 years’ palm oil trees start to producing its first fruits and will continue all year-round for up to 30 years. Oil Palm is high yielding; it produces more oil per hectare than any other major oil seed crop.

Did you know that half of your items in your house contain palm oil?
Palm oil is also the most widely consumed vegetable oil on the planet

farmers, social reponsibility, environment, organic

Why Farm Organically?

With a growing population, nearly 10 billion people by 2050, and an increasing demand for food, agriculture is placed under extreme pressure. We heavily rely on services that the industry provides to us, such as food, clothes, wood, and many others. Unfortunately, with biodiversity losses and deforestation practices that accompany modern agriculture, these services are currently at risk. Therefore, we must take actions to sustain biodiversity, soils and forests for the generations to come

social reponsibility, environment, farmers, organic

An Important Role of Intercropping in Modern Agriculture

Population of our planet is constantly growing. The threat of insufficient food supply in the near future encourages intensification of the search for more productive agricultural technics. At Natural Habitats, we believe that well-planned intercropping is one of the most effective and sustainable ways to increase agricultural productivity.

Intercropping, as well as other forms of multiple cropping, is an ancient method of intensive agriculture that involves cultivation of two or more crops simultaneously on the same field

environment, farmers

Mainstream Sustainable Palm Oil Production in Ecuador

Deforestation caused by many palm-oil producers, harming wildlife habitats, has been a widespread concern around the world. However, more and more palm oil is now being sourced sustainably with a help of the certification initiative promoted by a non-profit association Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) that aims to transform markets to make sustainable palm oil the norm. Natural Habitats as 100% organic and sustainable producer was certified with RSPO standard in 2013.

In May 2013, Natural Habitats in Ecuador (Exportsustent) together with Solidaridad and National Association of Oil Palm Growers (ANCUPA) developed a pioneering project Mainstream Sustainable Palm Oil Production in Ecuador

farmers, environment, partnership, social reponsibility

An Ongoing Education of Farmers

Natural Habitats believes in doing business in harmony with the environment. This is the reason for us to continuously encourage smallholder farmers in Ecuador and Sierra Leone into getting involved in organic and sustainable production of palm oil.

On a regular basis, we educate and train our smallholder farmers in nature preservation and organic farming practices for not only their own good but for the betterment of the society

farmers, partnership, social reponsibility

Fair Trade Explained

Today, we are surrounded by numerous certifications on the products we buy at supermarkets. It is getting more and more confusing to figure out what exactly most of them stand for. Some labels are self-explanatory and some are not. Fair for Life Social and FairTrade certification belongs to the second category. Therefore, most of the consumers do not even realize that while they purchase Fair for Life or FairTrade certified products they contribute to the empowerment of poor around the world

farmers, social reponsibility, environment

Why Healthy Palm Oil is not an Oxymoron

When people hear about palm oil the first thing that usually comes to their mind is heart disease. The logic is pretty simple: fifty per cent of the oil consists of saturated fat that supposed to be bad for the heart, therefore, palm oil causes heart disease. However, numerous studies continue to confirm that palm oil does not promote heart problems and, if anything, it protects against them

cooking, health

Sustaining Food Security

Pressure on the world’s food supply is constantly increasing due to population growth, changing diets and government policies promoting biofuels. Current estimates suggest that by 2050 the food demand will be twice what it was in 2005. Biotech companies have strongly promoted the idea that genetically engineered (GE) crops are the key to “feeding the world”. According to Environmental Working Group , recent studies show that this promise has fallen flat

environment, farmers, social reponsibility