October 7, 2022 0

The 1st and 2nd Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) are to end poverty and hunger by 2030. However, those goals now seem “out of reach,” according to a new World Bank Report that has revealed that the developments to fighting poverty has ground to a halt based on the slow global economic growth.

The slow global economic growth is majorly attributed to COVID-19 which dealt the biggest setback to ending global poverty in recent times and probably in the decades to come. Other contributions to this setback are the global economic shocks that have resulted due to rising food and energy prices as consequences of the climate shocks and conflict between Russia and Ukraine who are among the world’s biggest food producers.

This 2022 report is the first to be released by World Bank since it unveiled the new international poverty index from $1.90 to $2.15. With this, it is estimated that about 600 million individuals will be living below the poverty line and will face extreme poverty by 2030. This is a grim statistic since it is more than twice the number set out in the Sustainable Development Goals.

The projected rise in extreme poverty could lead to unprecedented global hunger, instability, less climate-resilient initiatives, and definitely low food production that will spur less and unsustainable economic growth.

The progress to reduce global poverty levels have staggered since 2014 resulting to even greater challenges in reaching out to populations in low-income economies. The 2022 World Bank Report further analyzes how fiscal policy was used in the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic to support the most vulnerable populations. It also elaborates how taxes, transfers, and subsidies impacted poverty and inequality levels in 94 countries before the pandemic in 2020, revealing and comparing insights of the effects of fiscal policy in normal conditions and during crises.


October 7, 2022 0

Video Credit: Morehead Planetarium & Science Center

The Competing Needs

In recent times, agricultural productivity has significantly declined due to a number of factors such as environmental degradation, negative effects of climate change and global warming, reduced size of arable land due to the growing population, competing demands for natural resources, soil degradation as a result of harmful human activities, among other factors. Soil is a critical mass that supports all life on earth and without it life on earth will not be feasible.

The Magic of Soil Microorganisms

Soil microbiome play a significant role in creating soil ecological balance and improving plant nutrition and the plants are part of a vibrant ecosystem that comprises numerous and different microbes that thrive in the soil. These microorganisms, including fungi and nitrogen-fixing symbiotic bacteria have been critical in contributing to crop health and yield by improving mineral nutrition to the crops. With the modern day advancements in research and innovations, it has now been discovered that these organisms also have other uses and can play a significant role in replacing synthetic agricultural inputs.

With utmost considering of the challenges that the agricultural sector is facing, advancing research into soil microbiomes could be one of the fundamental solutions that would create a significant impact in increasing agricultural productivity and sustainability in order to feed the growing world population that is expected to reach nearly 10 billion by 2050. Coupled with the global climate crisis, the increasing population has spurred the demand for biofuels which must be produces in adequate quantities without reducing food production.

As it is now, the amount of arable land has reduced due to the soaring population and demand for natural resources. To compound the challenges, the available arable soils have been polluted with harmful chemicals, exhausted with over-cultivation and degraded through erosion. Continued use of fertilizers have also not had shown a great change in improving soil health since a considerable amount of these fertilizer nutrients have been shown to be poorly absorbed by crops. Therefore, advancing research for better understanding of soil microbes remains as part of the core initiatives to effectively improve soil health and efficiently increasing agricultural production minimal disturbance and harm to the ecosystem.

Race Against Time

Time is critical and the race to achieving a sustainable farming is highly dependent on how soon the foundation for deeper soil research will be laid to determine how soil microbiome affect the absorption and uptake of plant nutrients.

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