By Hamidah In Publications

Food Insecurity: The Inevitable

“I want the world to be a better place with no hunger and starvation,” “If I could do anything I would give food to everybody and anybody who does not have any”, ” Nobody should ever go hungry!”.

These phrases and their similarities alike are common phrases spoken by both beauty pageant constants and politicians. But what do they know about this rising issue? Besides, the fact that it will help them win their pageant or election. Food security is misunderstood and needs to be re-evaluated. Throughout this essay, conversations will arise about food security’s; significance, relevance, definition, cause and effects, inevitability, solutions, and factors.
Although the definition of food security is subjective. Many, western countries like the U.S and Canada has some form of a grocery store and plenty of it. Whereas, in developing countries having a farm is the most common form of food retrieval.

Global distribution of farms (FAO)

According to that information, we can make a conclusion that food retrieval varies based on locational factors. My conclusion would be that food security means cheap and close access to food. Also, that food distribution and production are sustainable. In addition, the process of food production must also be fair, moral and ethical. Someone who is food secure would be able to keep up their dietary needs on a consistent basis. Knowing the definition of food security? What is the definition of food insecurity? The Merriam-Webster dictionary helps define the term ‘food insecure household. It states that a food insecure household may be faced with the difficult choice of paying for necessities, such as healthcare and housing or buying adequate foods according to Elyse Miller. Nevertheless, food security and food insecurity come in different levels of severity and vary depending on multiple factors.

As a young, Canadian, twenty-first century, non-affected citizen of this global crisis. What is my perspective. Well, first food insecurity otherwise known as food inaccessibility is something that is widespread. It affects people from all around the world. It’s also a rising issue that is not being taken seriously. If we do not take action now, being food insecure will become a normal phenomenon. Secondly, food insecurity is neither an issue nor a problem but rather a crisis. However, I have been very evident in my reasoning. I cannot help but to ask why is this even a so-called crisis according to my words. For example, a short time ago. I was having a conversation with a family member pertaining the frequency of the trashing of pastries in the store she worked at. The question sparked my interest after watching a short documentary on the television on pastries never being thrown away at grocery stores. Her answer to the question was its “ridiculous” the amount of food we throw out. She said
“thousands of pounds of food were trashed every week even before their expiring dates.

Ultimately, food insecurity is a larger problem than expected, but in retrospect we are the ones complaining about the problem and causing at the same time. All in all, the question being thrown around is ” How do we eradicate this “crisis”?
” If I had one hour to solve a problem I would I’d spend 55 minutes thinking about the problem and 5 minutes thinking about the solution” – Albert Einstein. Using this quote helped with contemplating the answer to the question stated in the previous paragraph. My thought process included what are we currently doing now, how we are treating this issue, and what affect will this have on Canadians future. first, Canada does not currently have any set governmental plans to help treat this problem, but rather individuals and organizations who are raising awareness.

Statistics on usage of food
banks in Canada (Food Banks Canada 2014).

What these organizations are contributing is quite simple. For instance, food banks which are “the most visible and well-known response” to developed countries. But the government are way too dependent on these organizations.
After beginning my research on how we can help developing countries with this “crisis.”
I stumbled upon an interesting piece of research conducted by award-winning “Angus
Deaton, the newest winner of the Nobel Prize in economics “(World Economic Forum 2017). Raising an interesting point regarding the effects of foreign aid. He introduced the idea that foreign aid is intertwined with little to no political action in developing countries. To illustrate, after the 2010 Haiti earthquake, Canada had been giving approximately 140 million to Haiti and although throughout this desperate time of need other countries were there. No political action was taken. Consequently, after seven years Haiti’s political, economic, and social system is still not back on track. With this in mind what does all of this signify and what can we say about our current situation with food insecurity?

There is an implied connection between food waste and food insecurity although it is expressed fairly poorly. Mainly shown on campaign websites advocating the significance in our care of the issue (food security). They show us statistics articulating how much food, Canadians waste. |Then, we are shown how many people are affected by food insecurity around the world, with no real explanation of their relationship. The lacking of knowledge about food insecurity is not only in campaigns and organizations. Many public figures speak about food security and food waste without any clear linkage. In particular, Jim Yong Kim, in his own words he stated ‘The amount of food wasted and lost globally is shameful.
Millions of people around the world go to bed hungry every night and yet millions of tons of food end up in trash cans or spoiled on the way to households.

Jim Yong Kim – World Bank President giving his speech on extreme global poverty and food insecurity ( April 7, 2015)

After watching this event it seemed as if he was not making a good enough distinction between the two terms “food security” and “food waste” was difficult. Raising the questions. What is the linkage between food security and food waste, and are people misunderstanding these two concepts?

For a few countries, not affected by food insecurity, your food security is at risk, because of climate change. The majority of our food comes from agriculture. But its sustainability is very much affected by external factors such as; climate, soil microorganisms, diseases, fungi, insects. Climate change directly affects agricultural production. Long term droughts, too much heat, sometimes even too much cold, in the wrong moment, also could ruin entire crops. Another big food source is the sea and is having a lot of impacts from climate change, heating up, causing changes in currents, increasing its acidity (by extra dissolved CO2).

Image showing the level
of acidity in the ocean (books? hlv December 17, 2016)

As anything with a triggering mechanism that is getting worse each year, things can change qualitatively after some threshold is passed, there isolated event seen as one-time anomalies may become widespread, and new categories of big, maybe yet unseen or agreed that could happen, problems could emerge.

Food security is dramatically affected by trade. In particular, global trade. Regions with an abundant and economical supply of products are targeted by areas with a large demand for these products. Trade is supposed to benefit farmers and suppliers, by providing them with a more sustainable income. Trade is also supposed to allow for cheaper access to people in demand usually happens when local administrators discriminate against foreign producers in terms of trade equitability. These inequitable rules can and do indirectly affect foreign suppliers, countries and food security. Indirectly, by making more or less feasible some of the policies that are considered desirable to promote or protect entitlements (e.g. by altering the legality or practicality of input subsidies). directly, by introducing change to prices and to the policies (of both domestic and foreign governments) that impact on entitlements (e.g. by altering food prices, the availability of food aid, or the access of exports to foreign markets).

Energy is at an all-time high for demand and is contributing to the rising issue of food insecurity. It is readily increasing yearly. According to “Royal City Publishing” energy demand will escalate by 45 percent by 2030. Technological development has greatly increased energy growth. Renewable Energy is being used to help with sustainability. Biofuels are used to fuel transportation. The effects of the change in direction from oil the production to the biofuels industry have been good so far.

Graph illustrating GHG
emissions per capita (World Resources Insitute).

The interest from International Organizations and political leaders has been aiding in the decline of GHG emissions which affects food production, directly affecting farms and local produce.

Water is the main factor in ensuring food security. If we continue this supply and demand trend of water agriculture will be far more difficult in the near future. People below the poverty line are most at risk for being malnourished and not meeting their dietary needs. Water is not an infinite resource. However, we are learning new conservation techniques and how to make the water we have more sustainable. Although, with a plan comes action, and that action needs to happen as soon as possible.

All in all, food security is a problem that is affecting the world right now. We currently have all the resources we need to resolve this problem. Now, all we have to do is take action. Farmers need to be supported in developing diversified and resilient ecoagricultural systems. Increased trade and improved market access can be achieved by improving infrastructure and reducing barriers to trade. In the long term, awareness needs to be created about the pressures of increasing population growth and consumption patterns on the sustainable functioning of the ecosystem.

Works Cited 

RoseGrant, Mark W, et al. “World Water and Food to 2025.” Google Books, Accessed 2 Sept. 2017.

Escobar, JC, et al. “Biofuels: Environment, technology, and food security.” Biofuels: Environment, technology and food security – ScienceDirect, Accessed 2 Sept. 2017.

“Food Insecurity in Canada.” PROOF Research to identify policy options to reduce food insecurity, food. 

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