Students choose a country that is not their own, learn about the country, people, and a factor related to food insecurity in that country and brainstorm viable solutions for food security.

2018 Borlaug Scholars attending the Global Youth Institute in Des Moines, Iowa.

2018 Borlaug Scholars attending the Global Youth Institute in Des Moines, Iowa.

Writing Your Paper:

1. Pick a country, that is not your own, and a factor that has become a barrier to getting nutritious food to its citizens. Could be climate volatility, or water scarcity, without water, how can they grow nutritious foods?  Without education, how will citizens learn processes to grow food, protect water, do we have you thinking?  The factor list is below.

2. Research the country and typical settings and families. It is important to learn and report on a typical farm or urban area, what a typical family might look like and barriers facing that typical family. After realistically understanding life and challenges of food insecurity, can the student begin to think of recommendations on how to address the selected factor affecting food insecurity.  This should be a realistic solution helping the typical family, including details of funding and how it may be implemented. 

3. Fill out form here, preregister and be added to the resource-informational listserv.

4. Start writing your paper.

Your paper should have the following discussions:

  1. What does a typical family in your country look like? This may include family size and composition, diet, education, and access to health It is important that understand the typical family and how culture may impact your solutions.
  2. Describe a Typical Farm (Farm size, crops grown, or animals raised, and agricultural practices) OR Urban Area (Employment and wages, access to purchased food, urban food production) Showing understand of how people in this country produce and attain food.
  3. Are there any barriers facing the typical family regarding food production, employment, or accessing food markets? Maybe culture doesn’t allow women to work, or climate or geographic access creates a barrier. Explain the barriers.
  4. What factor related to food security will you focus on? Describe why this factor is a barrier for food security in your country.
  5. What is the status of this factor? Is the trend of this factor improving, worsening or constant? Perhaps climate continues to be volatile, malnutrition is worsening, or continued dry areas impacting water scarcity, show statistics.
  6. What solutions or ideas do you have to improve food security for the typical family? Concentration on three to five solutions in your discussion. Are there organizations that are working in other countries that might work in yours?  What can the typical family do, at low or little cost?  If education or having experts come in, how will they be selected, funded, with whom would they work?
  7. List your citations and cite them in your paper.
  8. Formatting for the paper: 3-5 pages, have a title and name block in left corner, page numbers (with last name), 11pt Time New Roman, single-spaced paragraphs, double spaced between paragraphs, one-inch margins.

Information sessions and office hours will be offered to help give critical feedback on student's paper and presentation. As a research paper, it is important to use credible sources and have a realistic view of solutions and how to implement the solutions for their chosen country. 

Any questions, email Jenneth Layaou, Director of PYI, at

Below is a list of key factors, though sometimes factors overlap, it is important that the student focuses on one main factor for their research. 

Key Factors affecting Food Security

  1. Plant Science Increasing crop yields and improving disease/drought resistance through research and breeding of improved plant varieties
  2. Water Scarcity Managing water scarcity and adapting farming practices to reduced water supplies with improved irrigation technologies and conservation practices
  3. Biofuels Balancing the demand on global food and energy supplies and ensuring that developing nations also benefit from the use of biofuel
  4. Animal Health Preventing the transmission of disease in livestock and poultry with improved management, investments in vaccine development, and proper application of medications to avoid antibiotic‐resistance
  5. Climate Volatility Responding to climate volatility by adapting agricultural practices and policies to increase carbon sequestration and support ecological resilience to erratic weather, rising temperatures/drought, saltwater intrusion, and shifting plant diseases and pest infestations
  6. Sustainable Agriculture Developing and implementing sustainable agricultural practices (no‐till, crop rotation, integrated pest management, etc.) to combat erosion, desertification and soil depletion and reduce pesticide/herbicide use and minimizing environmental degradation associated with industrial agricultural practices (improved animal waste disposal, conservation buffers, etc.)
  7. Animal Agriculture Implementing sustainable practices for raising livestock and poultry (management intensive grazing, integrated livestock/poultry grazing and poultry/vegetable production systems, fish pond farming systems, etc.)
  8. Spoilage & Waste Reducing spoilage and improving the quality and shelf life of food products with improved food preservation techniques and increased processing capacity (flash‐heating, aseptic processing, freeze drying, bulk storage, etc.
  9. Water & Sanitation Increasing access to safe, potable water supplies, toilets and pit latrines, and education on proper sanitation/hygiene and food preparation techniques to reduce the transmission of food and water‐borne disease
  10. Dietary Diseases Addressing obesity, heart disease, diabetes, and other dietary diseases through nutrition education, access to nutritious foods, and healthy behavior (dietary diversification, food selection, portion‐size control, exercise, etc.)
  11. Malnutrition Alleviating micro-nutrient deficiencies (iron, vitamin A, iodine, zinc) and protein‐ energy malnutrition through improved access to nutritious food, fortification, supplementation, school‐feeding programs, nutrition education, emergency therapeutic feeding, etc.
  12. Human Diseases Reducing the burden of illness and infectious diseases like HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis (TB), Malaria, etc., to improve human health and nutrition and raise agricultural production
  13. Demographics Addressing the challenges and opportunities posed by population growth and urbanization
  14. Conflict Resolution Preventing and resolving political and armed conflict with diplomatic initiatives
  15. Human Rights Addressing gender, cultural and economic discrimination and improving access to credit and securing property rights for the poor and marginalized
  16. Education Investing in education, training and extension for improved implementation of agricultural research and technology
  17. Good Governance Reducing corruption by promoting the rule of law, government accountability, democratic principles and transparency
  18. International Trade Removing discriminatory international trade policies to improve market access, promote fair trade and increase economic development
  19. Foreign Aid Assisting vulnerable populations and improving the effectiveness of humanitarian relief and food aid in conflict zones and disaster sites
  20. Farm to Market Improving access to markets through infrastructure development (roads and railways, internet, mobile technologies, electricity)