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Global food security and the Norwich Research Park

“It is hoped the combined expertise of the city’s scientific community can help counteract stark  predictions that yields of major staple foods like grains, fruits and vegetables could  decrease by between 3pc and 10 pc per degree of warming as global temperatures continue to  rise” ……write Chris Hill in Norwich Evening News (Feb 1, 2021) under the heading of “City’s  new science centre aims to solve ‘critical’ world food problems”. This in the context of Norwich  Institute for Sustainable Development a centre created on the Norwich Research Park headed by  Prof Nitya Rao. The mandate of the centre to solve critical issues of global food security in the  midst of growing threat of climate change. The director of the new institute, said  “communities all over the globe are impacted by food shortages and rising prices, but poorer  less-developed countries often experience a greater impact from nutritional deficits. This is the  most critical issue facing the world today,” she said. “If we don’t act now crop yields will  continue to reduce and become more unreliable over time”. Prof Nitya Rao is right. The most  affected countries are those that are rich in natural energy sources but not able to exploit to fight  poverty due to political reasons and exploitation by the West. Millions of dollars are pumped  into these countries just to fight hunger but not for sustainable development. I am sure Prof  Nitya Rao has already realised this fact. This is a fundamental flaw in aid giving institutes to  poor and under developed countries. For sustainable development, being the main motto of this  institute, this institute should ensure inclusive growth of such countries.

I voiced my opinion  over several scientific publications (see for example: Chandrasekharam, D. Geothermal energy for food and water  security for Yemen: a review. Arab J Geosci 14, 253 (2021). https://sci-hub.se/https://doi.org/10.1007/s12517-021-06668-5 Chandrasekharam, D. Geothermal energy for food and water security for Yemen: a review. Arab J Geosci 14, 253 (2021). https://sci hub.se/https://doi.org/10.1007/s12517-021-06668-5; Chandrasekharam, D., Lashin, A., Al Arifi, N., Al-Bassam, A.M. and Varun, C. 2019.  Geothermal energy for sustainable water resources management. Intern. J. Green Energy. doi.org/10.1080/15435075.2019.1685998;  Chandrasekharam, D., Lashin, A., Al Arifi, N., and Al-Bassam, A.M. 2019. Securing food security of Djibouti through desalinated water  using geothermal energy. Energy, Sustainability and Society. 9, 24-35. doi.org/10.1186/s13705-019-0206-3; Minissale, A.,  Chandrasekharam, D. and Fara, M.A. 2019. Desalination of Red Sea and Gulf of Aden seawater to mitigate fresh water crisis in Yemen  Republic. Chapter 12 in N. Rasul and Stewart (etds). Oceanographic and biological aspects of the Red Sea. Springer. Doi: 10.1007/978-3- 319-99417-8_12).

I am sure Prof Nitya Rao, Director of this new Institute will take this message  forward…..provide solution for water then the rest will follow and the countries will prosper forever.  This is what I call sustainable development. Tap the available energy sources (these countries have  plenty) and involve the local public to develop the communities using these freely available energy  sources. When developed countries are planning to colonise other planets and satellites, developing  the energy sources available in the poorly developed economies is not a big task. These developments  should be free from any political colour. Irrespective of the climate change (are the other developed  economies not surviving the climate change?) these poorest economies will rise above the poverty  line in few years. I call this as sustainable development. For example, by developing the geothermal  resources, Djibouti can be lifted above the poverty line. What the country needs, to come out of this crisis, is fresh water supply. The country’s geothermal energy resource can generate 900 × 106 kWh  of electricity. The electricity required to generate 1000 m3/day (10 × 106 kg/year) of fresh water from  the sea is about 11 × 106MWh. The cost of desalinated water through geothermal energy sources is  1.6 US$/m3 which is far less than the desalinated water generated through any other energy source.  Billions of dollars given as aid for poverty alleviation can be utilized to develop geothermal power  plants to provide permanent food security to the country. One has to travel across the rural areas in  Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Yemen to know what is situation. These countries entirely depend on food  imports and in situations like what the world is experiencing, these countries will perish. I have  provided detailed solutions for food security in those above publications. I am sure Prof Nitya Rao  will pay attention to these solutions under “sustainable development programme for global food  security” especially to those economically poor and starving countries.  

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Views expressed above are the author’s own.



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