What is Food Security and Why You Should Care

Randy Opoku Barimah

13/10/2021

Understanding food security is just as literal as the name suggests. Securing food to enable and ensure its quality and availability to everyone in the world. Food and Agriculture Organization defines food security as “when all people, at all times, have physical, social and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food that meets their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life” (n.d.).

Since there are many competing demands for how countries invest in improving food security from governments, civil society, the private sector, academic institutions, and other country stakeholders, you might wonder why you should care.

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According to a 2017 United Nations projection, the world's population will exceed 9.8 billion people by 2050, resulting in an increased need for food, feed, and fibre. This could result in higher food prices, malnourished livestock, and a lack of other basics such as clothing and paper. 

Ending hunger, attaining food security and improved nutrition, and promoting sustainable agriculture is the second of the United Nations' 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for 2030. To attain these goals, a variety of challenges must be addressed, ranging from gender parity and ageing demographics to skill development and global warming. Agriculture must become more productive by using efficient business models and forming public-private partnerships. They must also become more sustainable by tackling greenhouse gas emissions, water use, and waste (Breene, 2016). 

Why should you care?

We all need food. In fact, three times daily as it has been normalised. Despite this, one in every nine people on the planet (805 million) goes hungry every day. There has been some progress between 1990 and 2015 through the UN’s Millennium Development Goals (MDG). 

Today, there are 209 million fewer hungry people today than were in 1990. Sixty-three countries have already achieved the MDG target. Some regions, such as Latin America and the Caribbean, have made significant headway in increasing food security. However, there has been only limited progress in Sub-Saharan Africa and Western Asia, where natural catastrophes and conflict continue to trap many in starvation.

Micronutrient deficiencies can also have significant economic implications, lowering gross domestic product (GDP) by 0.7-2 per cent in most developing nations. Global economic productivity losses as a result of macronutrient and micronutrient deficiencies exceed 2-3% of GDP.

According to FAO, to be able to feed the global population by 2050, the world’s food production would have to be increased by 70%. That’s a no brainer. “This will be increasingly challenging a changing climate. By 2030 crop and pasture yields are likely to decline in many places. In parts of Brazil, rice and wheat yields are likely to decline by 14%. By 2050, widespread impacts on food and farming are highly likely with 8% average decline in yields for eight major food crops across Africa and South Asia” (Australian International Food Security Research Centre, n.d.). 

How you can get involved?

You can help contribute to food security through availability, accessibility, and utilization of food. Food and Agriculture Organization goes on to explain that “Food availability is achieved when sufficient quantities of food are consistently available to all individuals within a country. Such food can be supplied through household production, other domestic outputs, commercial imports or food assistance. 

Food access is ensured when households and all individuals within them have adequate resources to obtain appropriate food for a nutritional diet. Access depends upon income available to the household, on the distribution of income within the household and on the price of food. Food utilization is the proper biological use of food, requiring a diet providing sufficient energy and essential nutrients, portable water, and adequate sanitation. Effective food utilization depends in large measure on knowledge within the household of food storage and processing techniques, basic principles of nutrition and proper childcare.” (n.d.).

The obvious option is farming. The food we eat is gotten from farms. What better way to contribute to food security than starting your own and contributing to the food production increment that is ever needed. However, there are many other ways to contribute to food security other than farming which we discussed in detail in our previous post. You can check it out here

Still unbothered? 

At worst, think of it in this way; what if your neighbour goes hungry to the point when they have to steal from where they can find food? Now, your safety is in play. So educate yourself and contribute as much as you can. You can simply do this by signing up as a Digifarmer on Complete Farmer, and you will be going a long way to contributing to the food production needed to feed the world. 

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As a Digifarmer, you experience the benefits of farming from the comfort of your home as we handle the entire farming process on your behalf. You simply monitor your farm from a mobile device. With nothing more than a few taps on your mobile device, you too can become a profitable farmer while contributing to feeding the world tomorrow. It's that simple.

References

Food and Agriculture Organization. (n.d.). Food Security. Retrieved from http://www.fao.org/3/y5061e/y5061e08.htm

United Nations. (2017, June 17). Department of Economic and Social Affairs. Retrieved from https://www.un.org/development/desa/en/news/population/world-population-prospects-2017.html

United Nations. (n.d.). Goal 2: Zero Hunger. Retrieved from https://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/hunger/

Breene, K. (2016, Jan 18). Food security and why it matters. Retrieved from https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2016/01/food-security-and-why-it-matters/

https://www.ifpri.org/topic/global-hunger-index

Food and Agriculture Organization. (n.d.). How to Feed the World 2050. Retrieved from http://www.fao.org/fileadmin/templates/wsfs/docs/expert_paper/How_to_Feed_the_World_in_2050.pdf