Promoting Best sustainable farming practices for Africa to achieve the 2050 development goal
Donnie is the former CEO for Tyson Foods championed the sustainable farming practices for decades. Donna worked with Tyson for 36 years and he rose through the ranks as CEO. But beyond just his leadership at Tyson Foods he actually much loved the community. We are inspired by his work in Africa and his strong commitment in helping the continent succeed in the next decades through sustainable farming practices.
In 1980 he graduated from the University of Tennessee with the BS in Animal Science. In that year there were about five billion people on this planet and according to FAO data we produced about 2.4 trillion metric tons of food on this planet. Okay? So now let’s fast-forward through a thirty-six year career in the sustainable farming practices.
In 2017 there’re about seven billion people on this planet and we produce about 4.5 trillion metric tons of food. Quoting Donnie, in his working career called that this generation we’ve added two billion people to the planet and we’ve doubled the amount of food production on the planet to feed those two billion people.
But let’s think forward let’s go from 2017 to 2050 so in 2050 there will be somewhere around 9 billion people on this planet and so if we had to add about 2.1 to 2.2 trillion metric tons of food production to feed 2 billion people from 1980 to present 2017. What will we have to do from 2017 to 2050? Another 2.2? No. Infant mortality rates in Africa and in other parts of the world are improving dramatically and during this period of time infant mortality rates were dismal.
So to double to add 2 billion more people on this planet, Donnie believe we’re going to have to practically double food production from four point five trillion metric tons to nine. Same water, same air, same landmass. Huge problem.
According him, out of the 2 billion people that will populate this planet between present day and 2050 half of that will be on the continent of Africa. Incomes will continue to improve, infant mortality rates will continue to improve and we’ve got a huge need for sustainable farming practices in Africa.
It’s just amazing the amount of progress that’s been made in household incomes in the coffee business with small holder farmers and millions of them around East Africa and other parts of Africa. And that story can be true in a lot of verticals. Think about this; today in the US citizens spend probably less than 7% certainly less than 10% of their disposable income on food.
Why the urgent need for sustainable farming practices?
Think about what the economic development that that frees up in terms of oh I don’t know national security? But now let’s get to Africa where it is not at all uncommon for many African countries to have an average population spending 40 to maybe 50 percent of their income on food and that’s the average population. Think about the base of the economic pyramid.
We deal with farmers that are subsistence farmers that spend 60, 70, 80 plus percent of any money they make just to be able to feed themselves. What if they could be positioned to where they would spend less than 20% of their household income on food? How much economic development would that spur? Wow! Now that’s a lofty effort I’ve spent many years in the food business I will spend the rest of my life dealing with sustainable farming practices in Africa, because it’s critical to what will happen in the next 35 or 40 years.
Let me tell you a little bit about what we do. Afrisource Innovation Center located in Ondangwa, Namibia Africa, founded by Aquila, she has spent her adult working career as Learning and program development professional strating with the The Salvation Army, and US Peace Corps (Namibia) and DC Public Schools. For the past 10 years she has taught and facilitated both nationally and internationally hundreds of students of all ages in use technology, entrepreneurship and formal K-12 in various subject matters.
While she is passionate about education, it is not her passion, empowering marginalized communities on how to be sustainable and it shows in each organization she has worked. Aquila has come from a family that has dedicated their lives to service to others. After 20 years of service, she realized that while providing the basic needs of people who are living in poverty it is more important to train them how to sustain themselves.
As a result, in 2017 she completed her master’s degree in Sustainable Development from SIT Graduate Institute of Washington DC. Within her professional career, she has received many awards and special recognition.
She has several news articles published in the Washingtonian, Washington Post Magazine, The Namibian New Era and recently from her graduate school alumni. As of 2019 Ms. Ledbetter is currently a Workforce Development Trainer at Grant Associates and a loving mother.