Welcome to Southwest Nigeria, year 2050.
As the sweet flavors of a mango fill his senses, Dio Dakolo, a chef and culinary anthropologist, feels grateful that his tight-knit community provides all basic human needs within walking distance of his home. He learned a lot at the recent Eso Festival celebrating the beginning of the fruit season, and he is eager to incorporate new varieties into his indoor farm and to develop new menus for his family.
No person goes hungry in Dio’s community. Every citizen receives government-provided cryptocurrency tokens for meals (to gain more currency, a mere hour of community service will suffice as a trade). Meat is available when needed thanks to three renewable processes – cell-based meat, plant-based meat, and precision fermentation. There are no dump sites because there is no food waste, and almost everything is recycled.
With career opportunities as synthetic biologists, digital food curators, and Artificial Intelligence (A.I.) fluency experts, a new generation is inspired to take up careers in food systems. Gone are the days of aging, impoverished farmers and of agriculture as a last-resort employment sector. The community is energized by health and happiness.
This Food System Vision set forth by the Food Innovation Nervecenter is a radical but feasible shift from life today in Southwest Nigeria.
Spanning six states, the population of Southwest Nigeria is equally split between rural dwellers and urbanites. Diet is currently heavily reliant on plant sources and fishing. Extremely poor rural residents eat rats and mice as animal protein, making the population vulnerable to rodent-borne diseases. Farmers are ill-equipped to predict demand, leading to 75% of harvests wasted, while many communities face extreme poverty and food insecurity.
Present-day farmers are growing old, without a new generation to assume their roles. The younger generations are generally uninterested in becoming farmers, seeing the job as less than lucrative and archaic, given there is no systematic integration of advanced technology in agriculture.
To move forward to a brighter future, farmers must be trained in new techniques; awareness must be built around nutrition; new dietary standards must be created; the community must be engaged; and strategic private sector and government partnerships must be built.
In their Vision, the Food Innovation Nervecenter showcases how by the year 2050:
- Biotech farming, artificial intelligence, and other advanced technologies have closed the gap between poverty and opportunity.
- Every single community in Southwest Nigeria, both urban and rural, has the ability to feed itself; farmers embrace practices that restore the land instead of depleting it; no community member goes hungry and no child suffers from malnutrition; and vacant land has become available for urban farming.
- An open data platform powers digital supply chains. Cryptocurrency, provided by the government and allotted only for food purchases, allows residents to gain access to consistent sources of nutrition, solving the problem of capital flight and promoting financial accountability.
- Food waste has been eliminated; dry, nutrient-deficient soil has been replenished; healthy food is now affordable; and smallholder farmers are now prosperous professionals.
The transformation of the food system positively impacts the entire region, including millions of Southwest Nigerian families who are now fed more nutritiously and sustainably. Food production contributes to poverty reduction, and environmental considerations are at the forefront of all initiatives.
This Vision shows how the use of advanced technologies and the implementation of new policies can revolutionize a food system and revitalize a culture – providing health, prosperity, pride, and a thriving life for all.
The Food Innovation Nerve Center is Darkpore Media Africa’s project focused on transforming Sub-Saharan Africa into a network of self-sufficient communities that elevate and celebrate the trade of traditional farming while also providing sustainable, accessible nourishment to all citizens.
Click here to explore the full Vision for Southwest Nigeria in the year 2050.