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Food security is no longer confined to the definition of being able to provide adequate food for the people. Its meaning has evolved with the changing times and situations.
Food security now refers to having a secure and sufficient food that is readily available for consumers when the need arises. The food must not only satisfy hunger, it must also provide a person’s required daily nutrient-intake.
Can the current food supply sustain the food requirements of the people in the future? The answer would depend on how governments and the population are responding to threats that are affecting food supply. Here are some of them:
Factors Affecting Food Supply
The earth is getting warmer and warmer due to a hole in the ozone layer. This major problem is manifesting itself in crop production that is often affected by bad weather such as drought or long dry spells, lack of water supply, and much more.
Climate change is also drying up a huge mass of the land that used to yield good crops. Now, a huge number of lands is no longer fit for crop growing and animal raising. It is estimated that in about 30 years, around 40 percent of the earth’s total land mass will no longer be viable for agriculture or farming.
The increasing demand for water all over the world is depleting water tables. The need to produce more food supply has led to continuous pumping of water for irrigating crops. Potable water is also becoming scarce as water pumps also continuously draw water and pump it to water service depots to provide drinking water, as well as potable water for producing various beverages.
More people equal to a need for more food. In order to supply the food needs of the growing population, agricultural lands are getting abused for food production which requires water for irrigation, thus depleting water resources.
Current statistics place Asia at the top spot with the highest population growth. It is expected to gain a 4.4 billion increase in population by the year 2025.
Capitalists are abusing huge farm lands for mass production and distribution of agricultural products. This practice is causing soil erosion and depletion of vital soil nutrients. Farms are unable to recuperate the loss of nutrients because of their continuous use.
This has caused a decline in agricultural production, as well as land pollution due to the use of various fertilizers that aim to increase yields. Big corporations in developing countries are also gaining access to acres and acres of land for mass producing agricultural products.
Greedy companies have introduced genetically modified food to increase food production. The safety of this type of food is still undergoing research and studies, but earlier findings indicate it could be unsafe for human consumption. Crops like soya and maize are already being grown using genetically modified seeds.
It is important that the people keep watch of these issues, and be proactive in helping secure food supply for the future and for the next generation. The steps that will be taken to address these threats now will greatly dictate the future of food security.
The dictionary defines ‘sustainable’ as something that can be upheld or maintained within a certain period and at a certain level.
When you say ‘sustainable agriculture’, it means farming as a viable enterprise that can sustain a farmer’s living, as well as adequately provide for the needs of the people and the community in general.
With the growing problem on climate change, experts estimate that in 20 to 30 years, only 60 of the world’s land mass will be viable for crop planting. Add to this the fact that a lot of farmers are already losing interest in farming because of their declining income from it due to severe weather disturbances and infestation.
So, how will the world’s booming population have sufficient food in the near future? Let’s understand several factors affecting the sustainability of agriculture and see if it has the capacity to sustain humanity’s future food needs.
Sustainable agriculture must be economically viable.
For a farm to be sustainable, the farmer must have sufficient capital to buy seedlings for growing crops, or for buying animals raised for food.
Add to this the cost of labor for planting or animal raising, labor for care of the crops and animals, fuel for machineries, etc.
If the expenses for these farming needs can be recuperated from the sales or proceeds of the crops and animals, with remaining earnings after the deduction of the total production cost, then farming can be considered economically viable.
An economically viable farming must be able to sustain its expenses by earning from the harvests or animal sales that are sold in the market and consumed by the people. The farmer should be able to live decently from the farm’s earnings.
In addition to this, the soil must also be fertile for it to be productive. It must be fit for planting crops and for raising animals. If it’s depleted of essential nutrients, crops will not grow abundantly, and animals will not have grass to feed on.
Sustainable agriculture must be environment-friendly.
Sustainable farming must be able to restore and not deplete the nutrients of the land because it is its very source of income. Without a fertile land, no farmer can gain profitably from crop production.
Sustainable agriculture aims to protect the environment by employing soil-friendly products that would enhance this natural resource. Non-chemical farm enhancers and alternatives like organic fertilizers must be used so as not to pollute the land and water beneath it.
Water is a very vital part of farming because it provides life to plants. Without water, no plants will ever grow properly.
Sustainable agriculture must enhance the farmer’s quality of life.
As the word connotes, agriculture must ‘sustain’ a quality life for the farmer. This means it should improve the farmer’s living conditions, not just allow the farmer to survive on a day to day basis. He should have enough money to provide for his basic needs like food and clothing, as well as enough money for contingency purposes, as well as for his children’s education, payment for utilities, etc.
Governments all over the world have taken notice of sustainable agriculture and are devising ways to support it. Sustainable farming practices like promoting crop diversity, less soil tilling to avoid soil erosion, minimizing the use of chemical pesticides, and numerous other healthier farm practices are being implemented. If these are observed properly, humanity can be assured of sufficient food in the future.
Would there be enough food for humanity 10 or 20 years from now?
Experts estimate that there will be about nine billion people on the planet in 2050 that will need to eat and drink. Feeding this huge number of people is a big challenge to world leaders. The United Nations has written down goals in order to achieve food security in the future. Leaders at the World Economic Forum have also crafted action plans to address the need.
Studies have also looked into possible obstacles in carrying out a secure food supply in the future. Let us look into these issues below:
Food Wastes – Experts believe it is not enough to increase food production to meet future food needs if the current population keeps wasting food. Rich countries have sufficient, if not an oversupply, of food for its population. However, a lot of these foods go to waste.
A good example is fast food restaurants that throw away uneaten food that are supposed to be still edible. Supermarkets also hugely contribute to food waste by throwing away vegetables and other consumables that are still edible but no longer look pleasing to consumers.
Population Growth – The worldometers.info website currently places the world population at 7.7 million. Statistics indicate that the world population is increasing at the rate of 1.08 percent or about 82 million people annually.
Asia has the highest percentage of increase, with China as the country with the biggest population worldwide, currently at 1.4 billion.
Changing Food Tastes – Rich economies are seeing a shift in people’s food preferences. There is now a higher demand for processed foods, as well as meat and dairy. The demand for these food products is putting pressure on agriculture to produce more grains to feed animals used for meat consumption. The European Union, Canada, and the US are reported as the countries with the highest livestock and meat consumption on a daily basis.
Climate Change – The climate change affecting the world today is heading towards hotter temperatures that are converting agricultural and tillable lands into deserts or arid lands not worthy for planting crops. It is estimated that about 40 percent of the world’s land is no longer fit for planting. If this persists, the agricultural lands available will no longer be sufficient for planting crops that can feed the human population in 2050.
Water Crisis – Without sufficient water supply, farmlands will not be able to yield crops sufficiently. About 28 percent of the world’s farmlands are located in regions that lack sufficient water supply.
Loss of Interest in Farming – The increasing losses in farm crops is making it difficult for farmers to earn a good amount of money that would allow them to survive decently. Because of this, more and more farmers are losing interest in tilling the land, and are finding alternative sources of revenue. Some are also converting their lands to other uses like commercial use.
Much work is needed to implement the action plans geared towards sustaining the food requirements of the future. No time should be wasted in solving this need!
Do you have enough food? What does having enough food actually mean?
There are several answers to these questions, and it all boils down to having a secure food supply. It means being able to buy sufficient food if you have the means to buy them. And that’s not all, it has to be food with sufficient or adequate nutrients needed by the body.
These are some of the complex descriptions when talking about food security. Food security means people do not experience hunger and lack of nutrition.
Remember ancient Egypt? Back then, the pharaoh orders grain harvests to be kept in large storage and opened when food becomes scarce. Modern times have made storing food easier and longer. Nations with adequate food supply do not have to worry about their citizens going hungry. This is what food security is all about.
Food Security Defined
The World Food Summit of 1996 has given a complete and precise definition of what food security means, to wit:
Food security “exists when all people, at all times, have physical and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food to meet their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life.”
Based on this, it is clear that food security is not just having enough food; the food should also be nutritious.
A household is said to have food security when all the family members are able to eat sufficiently in order to keep themselves physically fit.
Food security is also defined by food utilization, stability, access, and availability. Food is properly utilized when it meets the nutritional requirement of the body; Food is stable when people are able to obtain it as time passes; Food is accessible when there is enough supply that can be bought at a reasonable price; and, food is available when its production and distribution is sufficient.
Food security also means having enough food supply for years to come despite unforeseeable circumstances like damage to crops due to bad weather, problems with distribution, economic or financial instability, etc.
Status of Food Security in the World
While some countries are secure with their food supply, others are not as lucky.
Statistics for the years 2011 to 2013 indicate that around 842 million people suffered from chronic hunger. Chronic hunger is defined as a persistent lack of food to eat, and the inability to eat nutrient-rich food. Most often, it is the inability to buy food for one’s daily consumption.
The United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization also reported that in 2018, there were about 700 million people (or more than nine percent of the world’s population) who suffered from hunger and severe lack of food.
Food Security Versus Food Safety
As previously defined, ‘Food Security’ refers to the sufficiency of food supply that is adequate in nutrients needed by the body.
This should not be confused with ‘Food Safety’ which refers to the way food is prepared, handled, and stored to prevent spoilage that could cause food-borne diseases.
Our perspective of the limited in contemporary times fluctuates together with the present discoveries and assessments of the universe as well as our site in it. In the earlier times of human history, the planet, as well as its resources, appeared infinite; brand new lands being found simply over the next hill or even the most current medical results providing an ever-widening perspective of our society and also our ability to access it. Read more at chiropractor Livonia
This marching mindset of humanity was halted abruptly together with the popularized picture showing the azure planet Earth hanging by yourself in the deep room of the existing unknown. It would have been a winnowing of the consciousness, blowing away the chaff of misconception and also speculation that had clouded and obscured our perspective of the limited and infinity.
This mass realization of the limited outlets of our “Earthship” started the movement toward the idea of sustainability. But validation of such suggestions are slow to take hold, flat when prime examples, like the dust bowl many years of the plains states, pointed to the demand for soil conservation, a principle also today not fully realized.
Like many words and terms that pop into our media broadening culture, sustainability is tossed in the mix of organic-conservation-green-global warming hybrid vehicle hype. For the great bulk of people who pick up these words, they stay just that, principles and words hastily agreed to as needed but, “don’t affect me with it now”. It’s difficult to imagine famine with a complete larder.
Our dictionary shows 10 ways the word “sustain” may be used. The 3 held most in common are: in order to maintain an action or maybe process going; to provide with various other necessities or food of life, and then to always keep the spirit or maybe brain from giving way.
In most species from germs up, communication may be possible due to shared interests and senses. Survival, regardless of the level, will be the shared interest in the world, despite the point of vanishing species from the actions of attempting to maintain a process, which worked perfectly within the past, continuing. The evolving sophistication of any method makes it tougher to keep the status quo of that particular method.
You will find just a finite amount of avenues which may be pursued until it’s discovered that a new product should be fitted. Agriculture at current is pinning finalized hopes on bigger machinery, genetic manipulations, along with extra chemicals. At present, these solutions have generated higher food costs from oil expenses, pollution of our surroundings, and a monoculture perception of upcoming foods output which might end in worldwide famine.
Frequently it’s less difficult to keep physical health than mental or even spiritual. The chore-like nature of life requires cadenced obedience for continuation, with change coming from within people out into the bigger thinking construct. Change generally starts with a private whose steps are then taken up by another person after which passed on. Swimming upstream to spawn newness is usually the most difficult thing to experience.
Friends, neighbors, or maybe relatives might ask yourself why one spends a lot of effort and time on attempting to be more self-sustaining. As with anything of a long-lasting nature, foundations should be placed before other things could be included. Innovation has to be not merely released but additionally practiced.
Apart from a farmers market, at what kind may get produce that is fresh as well as baked goods, there exists importance to procure some other staples to complete the diet plan. An enterprising neighbor has taken a well-used building and refurbished it right into a general store and a feed. Though it works as a division point for feed going out, it also is turning into a distribution point for feed coming in. Local eggs and cheese are currently offered with organic beef coming soon enough.
It’s believed that in case every person ate just one meal weekly from locally grown and produced food, it will conserve 1.1 million barrels of petroleum currently used for transport of food from around the planet.
The capacity to experience change, regardless of how little, in the face associated with a seemingly unchanging majority viewpoint, involves similar commitment and persistence that it requires to raise seed and go on its attention until its fruition benefits many, proving we are able to develop.