Food security is an important issue in agriculture since it is related to the survival of people which is its basic objective. The inability to even feed oneself is the indicator of absolute poverty. According to the World Food Conference 1996, food security means, “physical and economic access of all the people, every day, to sufficient, hygienic and nutritious food, adjusted with their needs and choices. ” Food security has to be considered in its three dimensional outlook: food availability, food access and food utilization. * Availability – The availability of food is determined by food production potentials of the country.
This is also affected by the possibility of import and export of the food products that is very much influenced by national and international trade policies. * Accessibility- The access of food is closely associated with its availability. Food should be easily accessible to all the population, with special privileges to the poor and low income groups. * Utilization- As the word suggests, it is concerned with the use of food in such a way that it fulfills the everyday need for 2100 kcal. There are four main implications of food security which are as follows: * physical and economic access to sufficient food such access should encompass all people irrespective of their economic and social backgrounds * access at all times in a year, and in times of unusual events like war and natural calamity * the food has to be safe, nutritious and conducive to a healthy life Among the four dimensions of food security, physical access to nutritious food is of most direct concern of the agricultural sector. It can take place at the household, community, national and international level. Its underlying issues include: resources (natural, physical and human), production (in this case esp. farm produce), income (farm and on-farm), consumption (food and non-food) and nutrition.
2. Review of the Current Situation and Challenges The current trend of food insecurity and economic crises has been displaying a very high correlation in the global trend. The price surge has pressed number of food-insecure or hungry people worldwide to historic levels more than 1 billion people are undernourished, according to estimates by the United Nations, Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). In addition, the U. N. Secretary General reports that the proportion of hungry people in the world rose in 2008 as a result of global food and economic crises.
The rise in the proportion of hungry people threatens achievement of the U. N. ’s Millennium Development Goal (MDG) of reducing the proportion of hungry people in the world by half by 2015. The extent and depth of food insecurity in the developing world at the turn of a new century and millennium remains horrifying. The challenge of world hunger since 1990s have become very stern. Precisely, * 800 million people are chronically undernourished- one-sixth of the developing world’s population do not have access to sufficient * More than 180 million children around the world are severely underweight. 13 million people die every year from hunger and related causes (mostly children under age 5). * An estimated 35 million people “at risk” needed 4. 5 million tons of emergency food assistance in 1994. Around 280 million of these food insecure people live in South Asia; 240 million in East Asia; 180 million in Sub-Saharan Africa; and the rest in Latin America, Middle East, and North Africa. The pace to tackle the food security problem is very slow and frustrating. And in Sub-Saharan Africa the number of food-insecure people has actually doubled since 1969–71. Food insecurity is closely associated with poverty.
About 1. 2 billion people in the developing world are absolutely poor, with only a dollar a day or less per person to meet food, shelter, and other basic needs. According to the World Bank, the number of poor people could remain unchanged over the next decade if growth remains slow and inequality increases from current levels. However, if countries adopt policies and interventions that foster inclusion and if all benefit equally from growth, the number of poor people could decline by 40 percent to 680 million by 2008. The majority of the world’s poor live in rural areas.
They depend on agriculture, either directly or indirectly, for their incomes and food security. The United States Approaches United States at present addresses concerns associated to global hunger and food security through two main types of approaches: (1) Agricultural development (2) Emergency and humanitarian food aid and assistance. Agricultural development activities, such as the Administration’s feed the future initiative and some emergency food assistance programs, are administered primarily by the U. S. Agency for International Development (USAID) using existing authorities provided in the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961.
Funding is provided through the annual Department of State and Foreign Operations appropriation bill. In addition, funding for some multilateral efforts, such as the World Bank Global Agriculture and Food Security Program (GAFSP) Trust Fund, is provided through annual appropriations to the Treasury Department. U. S. international food aid programs are administered by USAID and USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS), as authorized by the 2008 farm bill (P. L. 110-246), and are funded through annual Agriculture appropriation bills. Global food security will remain a worldwide concern for the next 50 years and beyond.
Recently, crop yield has fallen in many areas because of declining investments in research and infrastructure, as well as increasing water scarcity. Climate change and HIV/AIDS are also crucial factors affecting food security in many regions. Although agro ecological approaches offer some promise for improving yields, food security in developing countries could be substantially improved by increased investment and policy reforms. The US is also committed to the Global Agriculture and Food Security Programme (GAFSP) launched in April.
The GAFSP is a new multi-donor trust fund managed by the World Bank to improve food security and incomes in poor countries via assistance to agriculture. Addressing the root causes of hunger There is an urgency of addressing the root causes of food security, instead of just responding to the emergency situations. Addressing to the trend, demand and issues of food security around the globe, the things that needs to be taken in considerations are optimization of agricultural inputs, sustenance for integrated pest management, improved soil quality, water management system high yielding varieties of crops.
Safeguarding this issue of food security around the globe is intertwined with so many issues. Reforming only one or two of the fields would not benefit or improve the situation. In order to improve the existing food security crisis and yield some remarkable outcome, the following policy recommendations are suggested: * Enhancing cooperation with the effort of United State Department in order to build favorable environment in other foreign countries aligning with economic forum like APEC (Asia Pacific Economic Forum) for which emphasizes on free trade where United States have been the active member.
This might help with the current surging prices. Promoting free trade will definitely help one of the objective of food security i. e. accessibility. * In order to make food available in Asia and Africa where famine is so prevalent, the efficiency of food aid and the commissions like the Codex Alimentarius that sets food safety standards and protect the health of consumers and also ensures fair practices in the international food trade needs to be mainstreamed.
There should be some regular monitoring and evaluation meeting with Codex Committee on Food Additives in order to keep the checks and balances of the consequences of food security. * From varied sources and researches it is estimated that in 2050, the global population is anticipated to peak 9 billion and supply for food and its production need to be doubled than what it is at present. The high rates of food inflation in the world have led to limiting both access to and availability of food, hampering the developing nations at large.
World experienced conflict in 2008, involving in unrest and protest because of high surge in food prices. * Long-term global food security through investing in agricultural research and development to increase agricultural productivity should be inculcated in the priority of US strategy paper that can reflect with the programs in least developed countries; engaging the private sector in agribusiness progressing opportunities; and creating favorable trade and investment climates to improve global access to food. Organizing a summit on food security focusing on the three main goals of availability, accessibility and utilization and working together with G20 countries could give a lot of world attention and weight to the issue. * In response to the Global Food Security Project which focused the challenges to the recognized need for enhanced, focused research on staple crops, and revitalized partnerships with research centers in developing countries, especially of Sub Saharan Africa and Asia should be mainstreamed.
These kind of programs needs to be replicated so that it intensifies agricultural research and development agenda, maintaining enhanced public role in agriculture; and provides the technological support and sharing together to share ideas around the role of research and development in the United States government’s new food security efforts. * Focusing on joint initiative with the African Union to accelerate the implementation of African Land Policy Guidelines will certainly help making a way forward for the implementation of “sustainable large-scale investments in farmland in Africa”. By 2015, the United Nations targets to achieve its goal number 1of eradicating extreme poverty and hunger in Millennium Development Goals. The State Administration and Congress should work together to fully fund the Administration’s request for $3. 5 billion over the next three years to implement the Feed the Future initiative and a global partnership should be done in order. * The effective forms of food aid programs need to be launched which focuses on efficiency. The food aid in least developed countries of Asia and Africa should be in conjunction with the other complimentary programs for its sustained development