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By Anastasia Gubin
The President of Iceland, Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson, stressed during a dialogue on food in the United States, that people often believe that expensive and complex technology is needed to nourish the world and forget that there is the millenary economic, clean, healthy and simple practice of drying food.
“This approach is so simple in fact that most people don't really believe it's a real possibility. We prefer to look for complicated high-tech solutions, and we often forget that simple ways can be much better and more productive. "
The president released to the public the recent speech before the International Symposium, Borlaug Dialogue, in Iowa, which was held on October 17, as a need to share effective solutions to sustainable development for the planet, in the face of the imminent problem of the melting of the ice and glaciers, caused by man.
The practice of drying food, “in the last 30 prosperous years this has become a million dollar export product on the market. Icelandic fish products can be stored in their dry form in the premises of Nigerian street vendors without any special facilities for up to two years, ”Ragnar Grímsson cited by way of example.
Icelandic fishermen once dumped the heads and spines of fish into the sea and today they earn about $ 70 million annually by shipping them to Nigeria, where they are consumed in soups and stews. The products are previously exposed for five days at 30 C with geothermal heat.
“This is a method that I am now advocating globally, where drying fish, meat, fruits and vegetables could be an important contribution to improving food security on all continents”, He added.
Ragnar Grímsson explained that through this practice, food can be preserved for a long time, and as its volume and weight are reduced, the cost of transport and storage also decreases.
Low cost drying with clean energy
For mass use, Iceland proposes clean energy drying, which takes only a few days, as opposed to outdoor drying, and ensures that quality is maintained and flies and insects are prevented from contaminating the product. In turn, he proposes that locals use only energy sources, be it geothermal, solar or wind.
The Icelandic president stressed that although in the western world we are used to frozen food, if it comes with cooling the billions of people living in Asia, Africa and Latin America, this would pose an additional threat from climate change in the coming decades, with accelerated melting of glaciers, the Arctic and Antarctica.
It is known that refrigerators release ozone gas particles that contribute to accelerate the greenhouse effect.
"Therefore the only way forward is to combine the oldest method of commercial experience known to mankind," adding that the challenge of feeding the world's population includes "the challenge of how to access and preserve food."
“Here, the priority must be to use all the food that is going to be produced. There is no method other than drying that can solve this problem in the most efficient way and especially with so little infrastructure since it can be adapted to use the local energies of each community and in all nations ", said the President.
In his presentation, he highlighted that China, for example, has the traditional market for dried mushrooms and shrimp, while dried meat in South Africa was part of the diet for a long time.
To take the proposal a step further, Iceland is working to pass on the knowledge for building an informal coalition of global partners, including FAO, UNDP, with the support of United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and others. personalities.
"Our task will be to carry out test projects, drying of different food products, fish, fruits, vegetables, in Asia, Africa and the Americas," said Ragnar Grímsson.
After evaluating the results, he announced that this will be the basis of a comprehensive global partnership, with "the hope of making a drying column."
Melting ice and food security
The president of Iceland reminded those present that the production of food worldwide depends on the climate, and on the effects that global warming and the melting of ice bring with it.
He recalled that there have already been a multitude of forums and conferences, dialogues and discussions: in Kyoto, Bali, Copenhagen, Cancun and Durban. He stressed that despite the awards to great personalities such as Clinton, Bush and Obama, Al Gore, in general, are still "far from taking action."
Despite dire warnings from NASA, the Arctic and Greenland glaciers continue to melt faster than ever.
"Some of us are a bit puzzled," said Ragnar Grímsson and questioned those present, why most political leaders and corporate personalities are aware that man landed on the Moon, and recently sent a robot on Mars, "But they completely ignore when Mother Earth gives us alarming news about it."
"We see the Moon and Mars as a whole, we have always had a fragmented view of our own planet."
He recalled that the importance of Greenland is not generally understood, however it is a glacial ice mass, close to Canada and the United States, that covers half the size of Europe.
In turn, he noted that most maps show Antarctica as a narrow line that hangs in classrooms, being that it covers a larger area than in the United States.
Ragnar Grímsson warned that the melting of the glaciers "contributes up to 45 percent of the total flow of the river in tributaries such as the Indus, Ganges and Brahmaputra, in India, where their water is crucial for the food security of 500 million people" .
The most densely populated areas of Asia, from Pakistan to the thirsty plains of North China “include some two billion people in more than a dozen countries, equivalent to almost a third of the world's population, who depend in one way or another. another to rivers fed, at least in part, by the snow and ice of the Himalayan region.
In his speech, the Icelandic president assured that his country has already moved away from oil and coal, and now “100% of our electricity production and 100% of house heating is provided by national renewable resources”.
"This has made the economy a transformation to cleaner and more diversified energy," highlighting growing development and tourism.
“ Our clean energy economy enabled the people of Iceland to survive the bank crash better than other nations, above all because the costs of heating and electricity for ordinary families, homes and businesses or companies is very low compared to what happens in other European countries ”, he assured. The geothermal energy sector is also one of Iceland's main pillars.
In this way, he exemplified how this small country's experience with the use of clean energy can help nations around the world improve their food security.
“We know that in hot and cold countries throughout the developing world, a large part of food production spoils within a few days due to lack of storage. In India for example, it is estimated that it could be up to 20% of annual food production, "he added.
For the President of Iceland, the most important contribution to improving safe world food is to make nations, communities, peoples, farmers and fishermen, store food already produced in an effective and practical way for months, or even years, after the production time.
"I can bring this vision to you today," said the Icelandic president, stressing that the need to sustain the ice of the planet, global food security and the future of clean energy must be interrelated, allowing tomorrow to "enjoy the beauty and richness of Mother Earth ”.
The Epoch Times