Although we all know it, world hunger is still relevant. In 2015, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization indicated that 795 million people were hungry – 1 in every 9 humans. What if technology could try to reduce these numbers? These innovations testify to its efforts.
The 17,292,381 plates of Share the Meal
The UN World Food Program is one of the principal actors in tech in the fight against hunger. Its application Share the Meal, launched in 2015, offers each user the opportunity to provide a suitable meal for a child in need for $0.50. So far, 17,292,381 meals have been bought. It’s possible to order up to 90 at once. The use of an app is not an accident, but rather comes from a striking fact: smartphone owners are 20 times more numerous than children suffering from hunger.
Making food out of… electricity and CO2
Business Insider explains that a team of researchers at the Lappeenranta University of Technology and the VTT Technical Research Center of Finland have succeeded in producing edible proteins with, essentially, electricity and carbon dioxide. The secret? “We grow unicellular organisms that use carbon dioxide as its carbon source and hydrogen from water as its source of energy. The first ingredient comes from the air, and the second is obtained through electrolysis of water through electricity,” explains Juha-Pekka Pitkänen, one of the study’s authors. If nutrients like phosphorous are added to the recipe, the creation would need 10 times less energy than plants need to photosynthesize.
WeFarm, the social network for farmers
WeFarm is a little like Facebook for farmers – in its collaborative aspect as well. This peer-to-peer service lets farmers share their knowledge through text, without any internet connection required. This lets them pose questions about their crops and herds and to get crowdsourced answers. That can allow the less experienced to better manage their cattle and to minimize losses and shortage risks.
You too, make the “Mbegu Choice”
In Swahili, “mbegu” means “seed.” The “Mbegu Choice,” which then means “choose your seed,” encourages Kenyan producers to leave their comfort zone to produce more and better in a country where 42% of people suffer from food insecurity. This site serves as a database of different plantations across the country and helps their owners diversify their harvests in accordance with their neighbors and the climatic conditions. In addition to better managed production, it could give local populations access to different choices of food – and, in turn, nutrients.
Agriculture from the sky
The project Satellite Technologies for Improved Drought Risk Assessment (SATIDA) by TU Wien in Austria plans to use satellite data to identify areas of drought (both established and in process) while enlisting citizens’ smartphones to provide an immersive point of view and to reflect on solutions on the ground. Although smartphones are still not widespread in areas ravaged by famine and poverty, researchers have gathered enough data to create a drought prediction algorithm that will allow people to prepare properly and to minimize losses.