World Food Day 2023 with the motto „Water is Life, Water is Food. Leave No One Behind.“ GrowExpress Ltd.: A Vision for Sustainable Agriculture and Self-Help in Nigeria.
The reality that over 800 million people worldwide don’t know where their next meal will come from is shocking. Chronic malnutrition is a vicious cycle from which those affected can hardly escape. It makes people more vulnerable to illnesses, reduces their productivity, and plunges them deeper into poverty. The GrowExpress Ltd. has not turned a blind eye to these challenges, but has launched a project (model farm). In an interview with Thomas Wegener about social commitment for GrowExpress Limited in Nigeria, it becomes clear that long-term perspectives must be created directly and immediately. First of all, modern agriculture must become attractive to the population in order to create secure incomes. This brings social peace and offers prospects for preventing further migration from rural areas to cities or abroad, Thomas Wegener is convinced.
World Food Day, which takes place globally every year on October 16th with numerous actions, aims to address the imbalance and the resulting issues of world hunger, food security, and the eradication of hunger. Global answers must be sought to the questions: Why is there still hunger on our planet despite sufficient food production? Why do hunger crises persist so stubbornly?
- World hunger in numbers: The term „world hunger“ describes the problem that a part of the world population is permanently malnourished. Unfortunately, the number of people suffering from hunger is not decreasing, but has been increasing for years. In 2017, more than 821 million people suffered from chronic hunger, including 60 percent women. Most of them live in developing countries, especially in sub-Saharan Africa.
- The main causes of world hunger: The causes of world hunger are diverse. Climate extremes, conflicts, and economic problems contribute to food insecurity. But the main cause is poverty. The unequal distribution of income and resources in developing countries prevents millions of people from having access to agricultural land and equipment to grow or buy food. This leads to a vicious cycle of malnutrition and persistent poverty.
- The role of climate change: Climate change affects food security worldwide. Extreme weather events such as droughts, famines, floods, and heat waves are increasing. Rising temperatures and changing rainfall patterns have a negative impact on agricultural yields, primarily in regions heavily dependent on agriculture, such as Africa and Asia.
- Conflicts and instability: Conflicts are the main cause of food crises in 60 percent of the world. They negatively affect markets, transportation routes, and the availability of land. Conflicts destroy sources of income, force people to flee, and drive up food prices. Peace efforts are therefore crucial to combating world hunger.
- Economic deterioration: Even in peaceful regions, economic decline has worsened food security. Rising costs and declining incomes affect people’s ability to feed themselves.
Solutions for world hunger
To combat chronic food shortages, governments, NGOs, and global organizations must work together and find innovative solutions. Food security means empowering rural communities to produce or buy food that is crisis-proof. Sustainable agriculture, climate resilience, protection of natural resources, and promoting women in agriculture are key aspects of these efforts.
GrowExpress Ltd.: A Vision for Sustainable Agriculture and Self-Help in Nigeria
Since its democratic development in 1999, Nigeria has been the official partner country of German development cooperation. Education and vocational training as a key to self-help and projects with sustainability requirements are the focus of German development cooperation in order to enable a self-determined future. German development cooperation focuses in particular on the sustainability of economic development, energy policy advice, and vocational training in agriculture and construction.
A promising project that serves as an approach to solving the challenges of world hunger is pursued by GrowExpress Ltd., based in Cocoa House 200263 in Ibadan, Nigeria. „With a holistic approach to improving food security in the region,“ explains Thomas Wegener. It combines sustainable agricultural practices, climate resilience, and the promotion of women in agriculture. By empowering the community to produce their own food and generate income, it helps break the cycle of hunger and poverty.
The „GrowExpress Ltd.,“ a company dedicated to promoting education and training in the agricultural sector. Thomas Wegener says, „The GrowExpress farm project attaches particular importance to education, high-quality seeds, high-yield crops, and the marketing of products to enable an attractive life in rural areas. A crucial aspect of this project is respect for existing local structures, especially small-scale agriculture, which relies on human labor.“
Revitalizing and cultivating fallow land sustainably
The project site is located 200 km inland from the bustling metropolis of Lagos. Lagos, a city of contrasts, shows poverty and wealth in close proximity. The rapid population growth has led to Lagos being designed for 8 million inhabitants, but today it accommodates more than 20 million people. Every year, about 700,000 more people move to the city in search of a better life. In this context, the GrowExpress farm project envisions combining economic efficiency with social responsibility.
In close collaboration with the university in Ibadan, a groundbreaking concept has been developed that focuses on cooperation rather than confrontation. Through a bidding process, the GrowExpress Group was given the opportunity to cultivate a large, previously fallow state-owned land in the fertile plains of the OYO National Park. This park, which extends over 4180 km south of the Niger, is home to some of West Africa’s most fertile soils. Thomas Wegener, one of the driving forces behind GrowExpress, explains: „In Nigeria, there are many fallow lands that have been unused for decades, mainly due to rural exodus. Many farmers leave rural areas in search of better job opportunities in cities. What is left behind are often single women and children struggling to survive on small farms. GrowExpress is committed to revitalizing these fallow lands in a gentle way and practicing organic farming.“
The concept involves restoring the land for agricultural use by removing the neglected bushland that has accumulated over decades. Local labor is integrated into the process to promote education, respect, and income. Thomas Wegener adds that besides local institutions, international investors are also jointly supporting the revival of agriculture in this fertile part of West Africa in the state of Nigeria.
Social responsibility and long-term self-help
World Food Day 2023 should remind us that hunger is a global crisis that requires collective efforts. Water is vital for food production, and no one should be excluded from this vital resource. Projects like the one pursued by GrowExpress Ltd. show how education and cooperation can help revive fallow land and create a better future for rural communities. GrowExpress proves that sustainable agriculture can not only be economically efficient but also take on social responsibility and promote long-term self-help. Let’s all work together to ensure that no one is left behind and everyone has access to sufficient food and clean water. Because water is life, water is food, and no one should be denied this fundamental right.
Author: Agnes von Weißenburg, Blogger
„Doing good and writing about it“ – How to improve the world? This question challenges everyone. Agnes has been a blogger since 2011 and has been with ABOWI-Reputation.com since 2022. The blog schreiber-bildung.de offers topics related to education, further education, and career opportunities. Questioning actions critically, whether in everyday life, locally, globally, and sustainably, with deep conviction through the power of words, communication, and research. You can reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Chief Operating Officer – GrowExpress Ltd.
Cocoa House, Dugbe
The GrowExpress Ltd. office is located in Nigeria, Cocoa House, Dugbe, 200263 Ibadan, one of the major business areas in the state of Oyo, Nigeria. The company GrowExpress Ltd. manages an agricultural estate of approximately 800 hectares about 200 km north of the bustling city of Lagos in Nigeria. GrowExpress stands for sustainability, investing in the agricultural future with innovative production methods for maximum efficiency and yield increases. For more information, visit https://growexpress.org
Chief Operating Officer – GrowExpress Ltd.