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Zero hunger

Access to enough nutritious food is a human right. Great progress in fighting hunger has been made in recent decades, but nearly one tenth of the world’s population still lives below the hunger line.

This is largely because food production and distribution is a complex issue that is affected by many factors. It is not just a matter of sustainable use of resources, but also functioning trade and infrastructure.

At the University of Gothenburg, there are researchers who are studying multiple aspects of fighting hunger, not least how we can use the world’s resources in the long term and increasingly shift to sustainable agriculture, aquaculture and forestry.

Sustainable agriculture

One project in cooperation with researchers in Bangladesh is striving to develop wheat that can be used in soils with high salt levels – a problems that, among other things, arises in areas struck by flooding. Large areas of land in Bangladesh used during the summer to grow rice go unused the rest of the year. Researchers are using a technique where the wheat is treated with radiation and chemicals to mutate genes, which by extension hopefully makes the wheat more tolerant of salty soils. At the same time, the genome is being mapped to see exactly which genes provide the desired characteristics.

Another group of researchers is studying why higher levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere negatively affects the nutrient content of plants – the concentration of proteins and other nutrients decreases, which reduces the quality of the crops. There are several possible explanations that probably interact, including that plants product more carbohydrates at higher carbon dioxide levels, resulting in a dilution effect.

Today, corn has to be planted sparsely to grow cobs. To be able to develop variants of corn that can grow more densely together, the researchers are investigating the possibility of being able to manipulate the corn’s phytochromes, the plant cell’s ability to react to light and send out biochemical signals. Researchers in Cambridge and Bayreuth, among others, are using the results from Gothenburg to continue work in various projects.

Aquaculture of growing interest

Aquaculture is a collective term for the cultivation of plants and animals in the water. Besides fish and shellfish, algae is also grown for example. Expanded, sustainable aquaculture is an interesting opportunity for the future. The University of Gothenburg has had a broad approach to this field in cooperation with multiple stakeholders. Together, they are developing new techniques, such as land- and sea-based cultivation systems, joint cultivation of species, sustainable food and recycling of nutrients. The researchers are also studying other aspects, such as laws and regulations, the risk of conflicts with other industries and stakeholders in coastal regions, socioeconomic conditions, product development and market development. One of the goals is facilitating the establishment of entirely new, viable industries based on sustainable aquaculture.

We need to think of both the large and small to secure the supply of food in the future.

This is goal 2: Zero hunger

It is time to rethink how we grow, share and consume our food.

If done right, agriculture, forestry and fisheries can provide nutritious food for all and generate decent incomes, while supporting people-centred rural development and protecting the environment.

Right now, our soils, freshwater, oceans, forests and biodiversity are being rapidly degraded. Climate change is putting even more pressure on the resources we depend on, increasing risks associated with disasters such as droughts and floods. Many rural women and men can no longer make ends meet on their land, forcing them to migrate to cities in search of opportunities.

Source: The UN's Official wesite for Sustainable Develpoment Goals

Page Manager: Erika Hoff|Last update: 2/5/2018
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