Global Food Security
Food security refers to a situation where food production and distribution of food is affordable, accessible to the citizens. There are however concerns across various global nations due to issues relating to lack of food security. More so, global populations are increasing challenging production and distribution of sufficient food resources. This issue is affecting developed and developing nations. The issue of food security however differs between the two nations based on the magnitude and severity or proportion of the populations and citizens being affected. For example, developed nations face alleviated issues in relation to food security, as they have to provide food interventions, aid, relief, stamps, and indirect subsidies in food production among targeted populations. These efforts reduce food insecurity significantly compared to developing nations. This is because developing nations lack sufficient resources coupled with ineffective and inefficient systems being deployed to intervene heterogeneously against food insecurity. Thus, global citizens are suffering from lack of sufficient economic and physical resources ensuring they are adequately supplied with safe, healthy, and nutritious food preferences and dietary needs (Swindale & Bilinsky, 2006).
Global Food Security Levels
There are various methods deployed to guarantee populations’ increasing demand for food are met and fulfilled. The Global Food Security Program is an interdisciplinary system applying approaches aimed at improving food security in supply and demand. It asserts that, increasing food production is a major method to address the issues affecting food security. It also relies on the approach of resource management coupled with food economics, processing, manufacture, distribution, markets and trade to ensure populations access safe and nutritious food resources. More so, it reviews populations’ consumption habits and practices as well as the food waste system to determine how to minimize issues attributing to food insecurity (Loring & Craig, 2009).
Consequently, the Food and Agricultural Organization within the United Nations branch defines food security as a condition through which peoples’ physical and economic food needs and preferences are met fulfilled sufficiently, safely and nutritiously. This guarantees their active and healthy lifestyles are achieved and maintained through the following levels. Foremost, domestic food production should be achieved to ensure food aid and imports do not attribute to food insufficiency and insecurity (FAO, 2011). Consequently, household production of foods should ensure local, public, and private markets as well as support networks access safe and nutritious food resources. It is also crucial to ensure the food resources are healthy and nutritious. Thus, the Food and Agricultural Organization asserts that, ensuring the qualities of food resources are highly standardized is vital. Lastly, it is vital to ensure factors influencing food production, distribution, and supply across global nations is stable throughout the year to achieve food security. Thus, the Food and Agricultural Organization believes the following basic measures ought to be implemented to achieve food security; expanding food production, better management of existing production and changes in consumption patterns (Mark, 2013).
Expand Food Production
According to Food and Agricultural Organization, the current situation in relation to food production faces various threats to global food production attributing to insufficiencies and insecurities. For example, an international attention in relation to food security was drawn through the 2007/2008 food price crisis. This is because more than nine hundred million global persons could neither afford nor access sufficient, safe, healthy, and nutritious food resources. This resulted to international organizations predicting that, more than one billion individuals globally would suffer from food insecurity in 2009. This issue was therefore estimated to affect at least one sixth of the global population. These individuals were however predicated to be mainly small-scale farmers residing in rural areas. Thus, women and children suffered across areas in Africa and Asia as family based land holdings with tremendous potential in food production were adversely affected. This further affected the farmers’ abilities to ensure agriculture is a key driver in sustaining economic growth hence, reduce, and prevent poverty (Oldewage-Theron, Dicks, & Napier, 2006).
Food and Agricultural Organization also notes that, women are central drivers of change. This is especially through subsistence farming, which ensures food security from household level are achieved and maintained. However, women especially from developing nations within sub-Saharan regions in Africa dominate small-scale farming. Conversely, men dominate large-scale commercial agricultural activities. As a result, women and men have to collaborate in ensuring agricultural production is an agent of economic and social development leading to food security. However, women are facing various issues reducing their ability to ensure food security is achieved (Webb, Coates, Frongillo, Rogers, Swindale & Bilinsky, 2006). This is because women lack full control on means of agricultural production ensuring sufficient food supply and distribution is achieved. They are regarded as weak landowners due to globalization and commercialization of the food industries across global nations minimizing their influence as agents of positive changes especially in issues leading to food security. Thus, minimizing and denying women roles and involvement has hindered achievement of food security globally especially across developing nations (UNEP, 2012).
Canadian International Development Agency also strives to increase food production across poor and poverty-stricken regions globally. It seeks to develop and implement food program initiatives internationally agreed as principles effectively and efficiently contributing towards food security. The initiatives are however vulnerable to both short and long-term impacts affecting food security including the role of women in guaranteeing agricultural production is a key socioeconomic drive towards positive changes. It therefore faces adverse effects impeding its efforts to increase food production to achieve food security across developing nations. More so, it is overworked as it has to meet the requirement ensuring populations suffering from food insecurity are provided with other basic needs while finding sustainable and innovative solutions encouraging food production (CIDA, 2008).
As a result, the program is engaged in the following measures guaranteeing food production increases and expands. Foremost, it is striving to ensure sustainable agricultural developments building capacity among small scale farmers are formulated and implemented. This will ensure organizations and governments as well as agricultural based programs formulate strategies ensuring food security is achieved through increase food production is achieved across regional, national and international levels (UNEP, 2012).
Better Management of Existing Production
Ensuring current food production programs are flexible, predictable and based on populations’ wants can ensure they meet the long-term nutritional preferences among the affected persons. More so, vulnerable and persons at high risk of suffering from food insecurity can be provided with advice on measures to apply in order to manage their resources and ensure food insecurities are minimized. According to FAO, the biggest challenge attributing to food insecurity in Africa is poor management of agricultural sectors in the continent. The underdeveloped food production sectors over-rely on low fertile land holdings with minimal use of farm inputs. This is coupled with environmental degradation leading to insufficient production and poor storage of foods. This has further resulted to price fluctuation of food resources across the vulnerable regions also affected by adverse weather conditions. It is therefore vital to educate farmers to manage their agricultural resources such as seed, fertilizers, and technologies. This will provide them with sufficient knowledge to apply in order to liberalize food production and achieve security (HLPE, 2011).
Thus, global farmers should be trained on usage of fertilizers they access through their native governments. Trade policies leading to increase in price of agricultural farming resources in relation to commodity costs should also be regulated to ensure farmers are able to afford and access the vital resources. Consequently, infrastructures attributing to accessibility across food markets should be developed. This is because they limit development of outputs, inputs, and credit markets. This leads to food insecurities, high levels of poverty, and cash constraints limiting farmers’ abilities to purchase agricultural resources. More so, they cannot access markets in order to distribute or supply food resources. More importantly, resources allied to access and affordability of fertilizers should be sufficient. This is because fertilizers treat degraded soils enhancing their fertility levels leading to increase in food production (FAO-UN, 2010).
Capacity building refers to formulation and implementation of measures empowering food production. Developing nations especially across the African continent should therefore focus on research, education, and development programs. This can improve access to infrastructures and capital facilitating the continent’s efforts in utilizing available resources to expand food production. According to Angela, transferring knowledge is a primary beneficiary towards achieving food security. This is because policies prudent in management and utilization of resources in order to increase food production and achieve security can be formulated and implemented. The policies however should collaborate with approaches developed by agricultural and marketing programs ensuring farmers prioritize available resources towards achieving and sustaining food security (Angela, 2006).
These issues cannot be addressed without good governance. According to Pinstrup-Aderesen, good governance emphasizes that, strategies, policies, approaches, and decisions made in order to achieve food security are effectively and efficiently implemented. More so, good governance ensures issues relating to corruption and lack of peace denying populations opportunities to utilize available resources in order to increase food production are eliminated. Delinking political, social, economic, and agricultural interests within a nation can also assist in determining the best strategies to apply in attempts to achieve food security. Thus, long-term measures to utilize resources guaranteeing food security can be formulated, implemented, and protected from volatile leaders (Pinstrup-Aderesen, 2002).
Better management of existing production measures should therefore address the following issues. Foremost, the measures should ensure food resources produced and supplied meet consumers’ nutritional and healthcare needs. This cannot be achieved through low production of foods. National and international governments, agencies and programs ensuring food security is achieved should also collaborate to ensure current measures of food production guarantee food sufficiency in the future. For example, the G8 countries and donors striving to reduce food insecurities should ensure the measures, approaches, and interventions enhance food security in present and future times. Water resources vital in sustaining agricultural activities guaranteeing food production should also be numerous and protected. For example, countries ought to harvest rains to ensure the water is pumped to landholding during adverse weather conditions hindering food production and supply (Loring & Craig, 2009).
This is because nations such as India, Pakistan, United Nations, and China greatly affected by water deficits and scarcity leading to food insecurities can resolve issues relating to lack of water and food insufficiency. Consequently, land holdings cannot further degrade due to adverse climatic changes (Gregory, Ingram & Barklach, 2005). More so, accessing and affording agricultural inputs enhancing food production can ensure producers, distributors and suppliers of food resources neither face challenges nor risks reducing food security levels. Multinational corporations with financial and technical resources to enhance agricultural activities fueling food security should also convert and exclusively utilize them towards fighting food insecurity. This can achieve food sovereignty across global communities striving to sustain their basic human rights in relation to adequate accessibility of food (ADB, 2012).
Changes in Consumption Patterns
UNEP asserts that, various measures can be applied to evaluate consumption patterns in relation to food security. Persons residing in developed and developing nations as well as economically affluent or poverty-stricken households treat food resources differently. More so, they apply different cultural principles in order to derive food security for survival purposes. Thus, over-consumption is associated with affluence while under-consumption is associated with poverty across global communities. This significantly impacts health, environmental, and economic factors influencing demand for food resources hence, consumption patterns (UNDESA, 2011).
Under-consumption patterns are associated with poverty, hunger, chronic undernourishment, slowed growth rates especially among children, susceptibility to disease, underweight and short life spans. These issues are mainly observed across Sun-Saharan Africa and South Asia. For example, at least one third of Indians and forty four percent of Africans in Africa suffer from lack of food security leading to under-consumption patterns. Inequalities in global agricultural trading regimes coupled with inaccessible infrastructures, lack of extensive services to markets, and inadequate and unaffordable agricultural inputs attribute to food insecurity hence, under-consumption patterns (WEF, 2011).
Conversely, developed nations are associated with over-consumption patterns hence, high rates of obesity across such cultural regions. For example, the number of overweight persons residing in China and Brazil has been growing rapidly. In South Africa, at least twenty-nine and fifty seven percent of men and women respectively are associated with overweight. FAO recognizes that, over-consumption patterns are associated with growing incomes. However, it is also associated with diseases such as heart illnesses, diabetes, hypertensions and even cancer (WHO, 2012). As a result, the governments have to develop healthcare programs addressing issues relating to overconsumption patterns. For example, United States healthcare costs due to overweight and obesity exceed eight hundred and sixty dollars. According to UNEP, they have been doubling annually. Thus, they are likely to exceed one billion by 2030 accounting for at least seventeen percent of the government’s budget being utilized in meeting health care costs (Charles, Beddington, Haddad, Muir, Robinson & Toulmin, 2010). The costs have an economic value that reduces productivity due to healthcare concerns relating to either over or under consumption patterns. Thus, noting amount of food resources produced and actually consumed can provide an estimate to food losses and wastage. Consequently, a socioeconomic spectrum based on aggregate levels of food production and consumption can assist in formulating measures to eliminate food wastage and sustain food production to enhance food security (IRP, 2012).
In 2008, UNEP asserted food consumption inequalities exist between developed and developing nations. Populations from developed nations consume grain and animal proteins in greater amounts than their counterparts. This attributed to direct and indirect impacts in relation to food security. As a result, the World-Watch Institute claims food harvest should be developed to ensure global populations are fed directly to achieve consumption equality. Consequently, indirect impacts such as competition should be applied to influence food prices and economic accessibilities further controlling dietary staples and consumption equality (Duchin, 2005).
Global nations should therefore regulate the growing rate of world populations. Through the Population Division, United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs asserted that a slowdown in global population growth rate could boost socioeconomic conditions across developing and low-income nations. Consequently, income levels can rise and enhance populations’ purchasing powers, urbanization, and the aggregate agro-ecological resource base through agri-product demands. More so, consumption of resource-intensive food resources directly responsible for growing ecosystems level pressures on natural resources, water and land utilized to achieve food security can increase. As a result, global agricultural sectors can develop into extremely resourceful food production regions globalizing economies nationally and internationally. Thus, paying attention to ensure equal consumption rates are achieved can ensure utilization of consumer based food production resources is achieved. This is because food production is directly and indirectly dependent on the how well ecosystems forming healthy land holdings, soils, and resilient water sources are utilized (UNEP, 2012).
Issues relating to food security affect developing and developed nations. They do not discriminate on age, gender, culture, or global regions. Food production, supply, and utilization therefore determine adequacy and sufficiency as well as nutritional levels. Households should therefore ensure technical, financial, cultural, economic, social, and political factors impeding food security are addressed and resolved. More so, multiple and diverse food programs promoting food security on a global platform should be developed and tasked in formulating measures to eliminate food insecurities. Ultimately, pillars of food security namely availability, accessibility, usage and stability of food supplies over an unlimited period is achieved.
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