Are you hungry? Already dreaming? Well you can enjoy your next meal, till then why don’t I take you on a little tour of food lesson? Food is a fundamental element of life, the energy of all mankind that is why we run after it like crazy animals. Yet, it is a complex and a challenging subject matter to examine effectively. So why is food important? Well many of you will hit the main and the obvious part; it is important to stay healthy and we won’t be able to survive without it, hmm quite obvious. All of you will also agree that everyone should have access to it, it’s the basic necessity. So how it is that 821 million and counting, of the world population are not getting enough to survive on? 1 in 9 people sleep without consuming a grain of food? And they are just left to keep dreaming? There are 2 reasons that account for this and they both are profoundly important to evaluate and judge upon.
1. Unfriendly Climate Change
(image from CGIAR (2016), ‘New guidance for climate-smart agriculture in Southeast Asia’ )
As we know the phenomenon of global warming is real and is therefore interrupting the production of our crops. Especially in the tropics where many developing nations are located. So how is this global warming happening? Well, for over 2 centuries or so, the burning of fossil fuels, production of agricultural commodities (e.g. rice and livestock), and deforestation has resulted in concentrations of carbon dioxide, and other existing greenhouse gases (Darwin, 2001). Then how does this affect the agricultural production? Leading of all problems, is the amount of time it takes to grow crops in seasons, depending on when the soil conditions are fit enough due to its temperature and moisture. Moreover, the global rise of sea level which is consuming the amount of land availability for agriculture. Also, frequent monstrous natural disasters occurring, such as storms and floods can reduce production. There must be ways to counter this phenomena. Farmers and governments need to find the alternatives immediately and adapt to these. Although, Farm-level adaptations (Rosenzweig and Parry, 1994) is taken into account but it does not guarantee farming in the long-run. Farmers and governments are the key actors to be able to feed the whole world that is racing its way to becoming 9 billion by 2050!!!
2. Unhealthy Humanitarian Crisis
“Acute hunger and malnutrition continue to spike”, warns new global report on food crisis (UNFAO, 2018). We do not take this statement lightly! People due to shocks, such as conflicts and natural disasters, are crawling to have an access to basic food needs. This is not just in terms of quantity, quality of food is of a concern too. UNFAO reported that 124 million in 51 countries were severely affected by this in 2017 (UNFAO, 2018). Some of the countries are Yemen, South Sudan and Somalia. When a conflict starts, what do we see? Shelling acting the opposite way of fireworks and destruction of infrastructure and their hard-earned economy. But what is not very visible is the fact that their food system on which they depend on is also being destroyed.
So, how to stop the hunger winning? The international actors are required to take actions, invest in the humanitarian crisis and help people cope. Otherwise the emergency of food insecurity will keep rising. Not undermining the fact that some food is just lost and wasted. According to the UN food organization, that is 1.3 billion tons of uneaten food (UNFAO, 2018). In 2008, over 40 countries protested about the rising of world food prices and food shortages (O’Brien’s and Williams, 2016). Following this incident, came the global financial crisis. And together, they increased the amount of hungry people living in developing countries. Mostly, it affected the poor, homeless and female-headed households. Making it scarier and unsafe for them. This affects the global economy to perform efficiently, as workers suffering from food insecurity, are not physically, socially or mentally prepared to participate productively in the workforce. This values poor educational outcome and lifetime earning. Our earth is crying for help and we are lost in our ways. How sad are we….
1. Darwin, R. (2001), ‘Climate Change and Food Security’, ‘In food security issues’, USDA, p. 765-8
2. Rosenzweig & Parry, C. & M. (1994), ‘Potential impact of climate change on world food supply’, New York, Nature publication group, p. 133-137 (journal)
3. World Food Progamme (2018) ; http://www1.wfp.org/zero-hunger
4. UN, food (2018); http://www.un.org/en/sections/issues-depth/food/
5. UNFAO, ‘SAVE FOOD: Global Initiative on Food Loss and Waste Reduction’ (2018); http://www.fao.org/save-food/resources/keyfindings/en/
6. United Nation, DESA (2015), ‘World population projected to reach 9.7 billion by 2050’, New York
7. Global Report on Food Crises (2018), UNFAO;
http://www.fao.org/emergencies/resources/documents/resources-detail/en/c/1107313/ and video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0z8ORd1Icpo
8. O’Brien & Williams, R. & M.(2016), ‘Global Political Economy: Evolution and Dynamics’, Palgrave Macmillan, p. 281
9. CGIAR (2016), ‘New guidance for climate-smart agriculture in Southeast Asia’;
10. The World Bank (2016), ‘Building Resilience, Creating Sustainable Solutions to Food Insecurity’; http://www.worldbank.org/en/news/feature/2016/02/03/building-resilience-creating-sustainable-solutions-to-food-insecurity