The Issue of Food Security:
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 non-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...