One of the biggest challenges the world faces is getting enough food for everyone. In addition, there is the challenge of producing food in an environmentally friendly and socially sustainable way. Is this possible?
- Will enough food be produced, and what about the future?
- Why do so many people starve?
- What do you mean by food security?
- How can food security be improved?
The FAO – the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization – has estimated that 795 million people suffer from hunger and malnutrition ; this corresponds to 12.5% of all human beings. In addition, 2 billion are malnourished . Most of them live in sub-Saharan Africa and Asia. There is a clear link between poverty and lack of food security. At the same time, obesity is a growing problem. In fact, there are more overweight than malnourished people in the world. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the number of obese people in the world has doubled since 1980.
2: What is food safety?
It is claimed that today enough food is produced to meet the daily calorie needs of all human beings. When many still starve, it is due to poverty and unequal distribution of resources. The poor have fewer physical and financial resources to meet their basic needs, such as food, clean water, clothing, shelter and access to primary and secondary health services.
For a large part of the world’s population, poverty is part of the daily struggle for survival. Sub-Saharan Africa and southern Asia are the regions with the most extremely poor. In sub-Saharan Africa, as many as 41 percent of the population must live on less than $ 1.90 a day. The poorer a family is, the greater part of the income it must spend on the absolutely most necessary thing to survive: food.
Poverty is also about vulnerability . The poor barely manage under “normal” circumstances, but only a small change – in food prices or climate can have consequences for a long time to come. The daily starvation and malnutrition make both children and adults more susceptible to disease.
Another important focus today is therefore diet and the nutritional composition of the food consumed. Global food production is becoming more and more seen as a need to reduce malnutrition and prevent overweight and disease. At the same time, there is also a focus on the food having to be produced in a way that does not harm the environment.
Food safety is therefore a complex and complex concept. What this means has been frequently discussed both in the UN forums on food security and in other international organizations that provide recommendations for international and national policy in this area. However, food safety can be understood in different ways. They are also closely linked to agricultural production and international trade in food, climate and environment, poverty, health and gender:
Food can be seen both as a commodity and as a human right . Ideas and vocabulary have changed in recent years, and different actors have different approaches to how we can ensure food and nutrition security for everyone. The “green revolution” of the 1960s emphasized the need to increase food production – the amount produced – especially of widely used crops such as halibut and rice – in order to produce enough food for a growing population.
In the early 1990s, the discussion changed and then based on Amartya Sen ‘s work on ” Poverty and Famine “. His views had a major impact on research and politics and shaped much of the wider debate. He claimed that lack of food security can best be explained by social and political factors, including that poverty is the most important cause of hunger.
Then introduced thoughts about food that someone has a right to and about a fair distribution of food. The international debate on food security therefore took on a social dimension . The most useful definition of food safety today was decided at a FAO summit in 1996:
” Food security exists on an individual, national and global level, when all human beings, always, have physical and financial access to sufficiently safe and nutritious food that meets their nutritional needs and what they need for an active and healthy life.”
The definition contains four factors, all of which are interrelated and which must be met in order to achieve full global food security:
- Availability- food must be available on the market.
- Resources: People must have both financial and physical resources to obtain food.
- Nutrition: Food must be nutritious.
- Stabilityt: The food system must be stable and robust over time (see facts).
Based on this definition, the international community committed itself to first halving the number of hungry people in the world by 2015. However, it soon became clear that this was an unrealistic goal, and the UN Millennium Development Goals from 2000 redefined the goal of reducing the proportion of hungry people. human beings by 2015 – a more achievable goal. This new goal also proved difficult to achieve.
According to zipcodesexplorer.com, Sub-Saharan Africa showed the least progress, with 17 African countries failing to reach the target in 2015. In Asia, target achievement was better, and in Latin America, virtually all countries achieved the Millennium Development Goal. The exception in Asia was some vulnerable and conflict-prone states such as Afghanistan, Iraq and Yemen. China alone accounted for two-thirds of the reduction in malnutrition during this period.
In 2015, the sustainability goals replaced the old millennium goals (UN). The new goals are a joint work plan to eradicate poverty, fight inequality and stop climate change by 2030. Sustainability goal 2 aims to increase food security: “By 2030, eradicate starvation, achieve food security and better nutrition, and promote sustainable agriculture “.
3: Future global food production
Maize , rice and halibut are important growths for global food security and poverty reduction. These three grains cover 40-60% of the calorie requirement for approx. 4.5 billion people in 100 developing countries.
The green revolution brought great progress in food production. Development of better agricultural technology and more robust plant species resulted in higher yields. Together with political guidelines and better access to input factors and markets, this increased the amount of grain in the global market.
The Green Revolution emphasized large-scale production and international trade (exports), and led to a clear increase in the use of land, water and other natural resources. Agricultural production more than tripled from 1960 to 2015. The period is characterized by industrialization and globalization of agricultural production. However, major challenges remain to meet future food needs in a sustainable way.
The FAO has found that food production globally must increase by 60% to cover expected growth in demand until 2050. Most must come from increased productivity in agriculture and more efficient use of resources, it is said.
Furthermore, calculations (Wageningen University) show that food production in Africa must triple by 2050 in order to keep pace with the population week and increase demand that results from it. If the crops in Africa continue to grow at today’s speed, the self-sufficiency rate in Africa for grain will be approx. 50% in 2050 against today approx. 80%.