The Future of Work Capsules: It’s time to support agric–business

0
Baptista Sarah Gebu (Mrs.)
  • Happy 37th National Farmers Day wishes to all farmers. We appreciate all your effort to working to feed humanity.

Food must be abundant, available and affordable as such let’s take steps to make agriculture more sustainable, productive and resilient now and for the future.  The 1996 World Food Summit agreed on this definition of food security: “Food security exists when all people, at all times, have physical and economic access to sufficient safe and nutritious food that meets their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life”. The definition encompasses four dimensions:

Availability of sufficient quantities of food of appropriate quality, supplied through domestic production or imports (including food aid), the access by individuals to adequate resources (also called entitlements) for acquiring appropriate foods for a nutritious diet, utilization of food through adequate diet, clean water, sanitation and health care to reach a state of nutritional well-being where all physiological needs are met. „ Stability in the availability of and access to food, regardless of sudden shocks (e.g. an economic or climatic crisis) or cyclical events (e.g. seasonal food scarcity). What will be the future of our farmers and what factors must be critically looked at as we celebrate the 37 National Farmers Day Event in Ghana.

Today there is little appreciation of biodiversity. Only organic food production promotes biodiversity. Some agricultural measures to protect biodiversity are already in place; however, the policy measures are still ineffective. For the future, our farmers must be concerned about food abundance, how climate change can threaten the future of farming if care is not taking now collectively to address the issues holistically.

The future will introduce us to meat alternatives. Are you a meat eater – you must learn to live without meat as protein replicas may be the future per research. Livestock monitoring and disease control is a big issue to be considered to promote food security. Imagine coivid-19 happened only in animals currently causing about 50% – 70% of all animals to die. Nutrition levels may be affected and food security also could be threatening per its definition.

Trade complexity and shift in commodity trade must propel us to address issues of transparency, honesty, secure transaction management backed by the right laws and secured payment systems developed by government for its citizenry. The future of agriculture will see us use sophisticated technologies such as robots, temperature and moisture sensors, aerial images, and GPS technology.

Perhaps, for the future a simple one stop shop technological gadget can cause us to test to know the moisture content, aflatoxin levels in grains, crop production year among many other requirements. These cutting-edge devices and precision agriculture and robotic systems will permit farms to be more profitable, efficient, safe, and environmentally friendly. This will be possible, if governments can play a key part in solving the food scarcity issue. They need to take on a broader and more prominent role than their traditional regulatory and facilitating function. The future of our farmers and agric business has good prospects. Are we ready for the change?

A lot has been moved online. As the world moves online. The future of agriculture and our farmers must be considered also within this same space. How secure will the payment systems be to support our farmers should they move business transactions online? These and many other thoughts have I been thinking. We need for the future of our farmers to consider a migration of our local stores and markets to apps and online systems and portals with the needed flexibility with consideration of drones for instance for our deliveries.

Agribusiness according to investopedia is a combination of the words “agriculture” and “business” and refers to any business related to farming and farming-related commercial activities. Agribusiness involves all the steps required to send an agricultural good to the market, namely production, processing, and distribution. Companies in the agribusiness industry encompass all aspects of food production.

The new definition of market for the future will include not only the local market you are aware of. It will encompass – virtual online markets, be agile. Climate change has placed intensifying pressure on many companies in the agribusiness industry to successfully adapt to the large-scale shifts in weather patterns. The use of new technology is vital to remain competitive in the global agribusiness sector. Farmers need to reduce crop costs and increase yield per square acre to remain competitive. New drone technology is at the cutting edge of the industry. Why is climate change such a big deal now.

Climate change poses a major and growing threat to global food security. The expected effects of climate change – higher temperatures, more frequent extreme weather events, water shortages, rising sea levels, ocean acidification, land degradation, the disruption of ecosystems and the loss of biodiversity – could seriously compromise agriculture’s ability to feed the most vulnerable, impeding progress towards the eradication of hunger, malnutrition and poverty.

Action is urgently needed, therefore, to prepare crop and livestock production, fisheries and forestry for the prospect of rapidly changing environmental conditions and to reduce agriculture’s own contribution to the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions responsible for global warming. Even without climate change, world agriculture and food security face daunting challenges.

Population growth and rising incomes in much of the developing world have pushed demand for food and other agricultural products to unprecedented levels. The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has estimated that in order to meet the demand for food in 2050, annual world production of crops and livestock will need to be 60 percent higher than it was in 2006. About 80 percent of the required increase will need to come from higher yields and 10 percent from increases in the number of cropping seasons per year (Alexandratos and Bruinsma, 2012).

However, widespread land degradation and increasing water scarcity limit the potential for yield increases. Without heightened efforts to reduce poverty, and to make the transition to an agriculture that is both productive and sustainable, many low income countries will find it difficult to ensure access to adequate quantities of food for all of their populations.

The agriculture sectors – crops, livestock, fisheries, aquaculture and forestry – have unique characteristics that place them at the center of global efforts to adapt to climate change. First, agriculture is essential to our food supply and, therefore, to meeting the most basic of human needs. Further, food production depends directly on natural resources – including biodiversity, land, vegetation, rainfall and sunlight – which are, in turn, intimately and inextricably linked to climate and weather conditions. Since agriculture also provides livelihoods for almost two-thirds of the world’s extremely poor, or some 750 million people, climate change impacts on agriculture directly affect already vulnerable rural populations, with far-reaching implications for their food security.

Climate change affects food availability through its increasingly adverse impacts on crop yields, fish stocks and animal health and productivity, especially in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia, where most of today’s food insecure live. It limits access to food through negative impacts on rural incomes and livelihoods. Along with a more volatile climate, there is expected to be an increase in the intensity and frequency of climate-related natural disasters. Poor people, including many smallholder farmers and agricultural workers, are more vulnerable to the impacts of such disasters.

Severe droughts or floods can sharply reduce incomes and cause asset losses that erode future income earning capacity. In addition, to the extent that food supply is reduced by climate change, food prices will increase. Both urban and rural poor would be most affected, as they spend much higher shares of their income on food. Also affected will be poor smallholder family farmers, most of whom are net buyers of food (Zezza et al., 2008; World Bank, 2008; Porter et al., 2014).

The future of agric business is to consider having access to food online on various agri business online apps to facilitate access. For consumption and health reasons, these apps should be able to support us access the quality, source and special requirement of the food. Since the Covid-19 pandemic eating healthy and organic is the way forward, so Covid will not expose ones weak immune system.

According to the FAO 2016 report on climate change, agriculture and food security, climate change appears to be an issue which can affect agric business for the future. Climate change already affects agriculture and food security and, without urgent action, will put millions of people at risk of hunger and poverty. I will add up that, let’s not only change our ways to managing the good gospel of climate change. We need to change our diets as well and manage the issues with no hidden agenda. While impacts on agricultural yields and livelihoods will vary across countries and regions, they will become increasingly adverse over time and potentially catastrophic in some areas. The change lies in your hands. We can all change this narrative.

Limiting global temperature increases to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels would significantly reduce the risks and impacts of climate change. We have to all make purposive attempts to changing life styles and planting more times.

Deep transformation in agriculture and food, from pre-production to consumption, are needed in order to maximize the co-benefits of climate change adaptation and mitigation efforts. And this change begins with us all. The agriculture sectors have potential to limit their greenhouse gas emissions, but ensuring future food security requires a primary focus on adaptation. Supporting agric business with the right investment will propel the sector for sustainability.

The future of work must address the future of businesses and their sustainability. When businesses are protected and they survive, jobs will also be protected and they will also survive. The two work hand-in-hand. For businesses to thrive now and in the future we need to make purposive attempts at protecting jobs and businesses. The future of work cannot be business as usual as it was prior to the emergence of the covid-19 pandemic. As we may already be aware, the coronavirus pandemic is offering global economies what quick adjustments to make to the future of work.

 It’s inevitable to ignore the concept of the future of work as many organizations have already embraced this concept, while others are lacking far behind since they cannot forestall the future, due to lack of understanding, or knowledge on the subject matter. Of course, these present challenges, nevertheless many organizations also see it as a wonderful opportunity to create positive change and to start to build purpose-driven organizations that priorities people and planet alongside profit (PPP).

In anticipation to avoid a lack of knowledge similar to this, nations will become inward-looking, human physical interactions will reduce as jobs will be moved online. There are very different and contrasting industries globally, but I’ve generally found that whatever the nature of a business or organization, they are rarely immune to change. And change is happening very fast.

The Word Bank and the International Monetary Fund have rated Ghana as the fastest growing economy in the world for 2019.  Ghana has a young age structure, with approximately 57% of the population under the age of 25. Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are the backbone of the Ghanaian economy as they represent about 85% of businesses, largely within the private sector, and contribute about 70% of Ghana’s gross domestic product (GDP).

This should be welcome news to encourage policy makes to enact purposively policies targeted at saving our SME’s including our agric businesses and project that Ghana case as a learning curve for other countries. Policy enactment should address among other things training needs to close the knowledge gap and the know-how, scale up ideas to encouraging businesses think global and not local.

At the just ended FoReal HR Services hosted Future of Work Conference 2021 organized virtually with 20 commissioned futures of work topics and speakers, there was calls to inspire a transformational mindset, causing young people to start thinking global.

For the future lets learn to connect SME’s to global investors, business mentees and encourage coaching and mentoring for starts up’s as well. Businesses cannot afford not going online. The bricks and mortar era are gradually making ways for virtual online businesses. The hybrid approach will be a step in the right direction during this era of the new normal.

Businesses cannot automatically leverage post COVID-19, they must be nurtured to grow and scale up the future of work conference 2021 adviced. Policy enactment must consider scale up of businesses beyond one generation to the other. We need to live to see most Ghanaian and African businesses grow and sustained beyond decades. Public and private collaboration at both national and the international level will come as a welcome idea. Government cannot support protecting businesses without protecting jobs. Start up business initiatives must look out for and empower campus start-up, entrepreneurial clubs, and women entrepreneurial businesses as well as the vulnerable groups.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has shown us that it is more important than ever for the public and private sector to collaborate – at both international and national level – to enable businesses and the people they employ, to ride out the pandemic and to emerge more resilient and sustainable to face the future. 

Ghana and Africa have talents in adequate numbers and as such need that enabling playing field to excel. Collaboration and co-existence are key to our development together. Black or white, Hispanic or Asian, we should learn to collaborate and commit to values that promote and not segregate talents as together we can all achieve.

The world is increasingly African as per research. We need to take steps to highlight the positive synergy of these research findings. To this end, the FoReal HR Services Future of Work Conference 2021 has ended successfully with calls to strengthen our eco-systems and provide efficient and efficient agribusiness Solutions to support the future of our farmers.

Baptista is a human resource professional with a broad generalist background. Building a team of efficient & effective workforce is her business. Affecting lives is her calling!  She is an HR Generalist, strategic planner, innovative, professional connector and a motivator. You can reach her via e-mail on [email protected]forealhrservices.com   You can follow this conversation on our social media pages Facebook / LinkedIn/ Twitter / Instagram: FoReal HR Services.   Call or WhatsApp: +233(0)262213313. Visit our website: www.forealhrservices.com Follow the hashtag #theFutureofWorkCapsules #FoWC

 

Leave a Reply