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
- Climate Change
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.
- Worsening Water Crisis
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.
- Population Growth
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.
- Disadvantageous Land Use
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.
- Use of Genetically Modified (GM) Food
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.