Main Causes of Food Insecurity

Topics: 2007–2008 world food price crisis, Food security, Famine Pages: 6 (1696 words) Published: October 19, 2012
What are the main causes of food insecurity in the world today? Outline and evaluate 2 or 3 possible solutions to food insecurity problems.

World Food Summit defines food security as: “Food security exists when all people, at all times, have physical and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food that meets their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life”. (World Food Summit, 1996) On the contrary, the food insecurity means the situation people who are lack of food or nutrition. A person who lives in such situation for a very long time cannot access enough nutritious food to be healthy. Additionally, food insecurity can be chronic, seasonal or transitory (FAO, 2000). At present, the problem has been more and more serious and it has caused a series of problems. In some areas where food is abundant, the nation feel adequately secured about food. However, there are still over 925 million people (20%) suffering the chronic hunger in the developing counties in 2010 (FAO, 2010). In the graph below, it show the trend of the number of undernourished people in the world, and in 2009 it reached a peak of over 1000 million. Even though the population of hunger decreased in 2010, it is still a difficulty issue for around the world.


In general, there are many causes of food insecurity, for instance, the unavailability of food, insufficient purchasing power, inappropriate distribution, or inadequate use of food at the household level (FAO, 2000). However, all these reasons contribute to one same result, undernourishment. As far as I see, these reasons can be related in two main causes: the short supply of grain and people cannot access enough food to keep a healthy life individually.

On one hand, the production of grain is easily affected by natural factors. Firstly, the global food output is facing a huge challenge because of climate change. It is thought that global warming is a important reason for decreasing production of food. Based on NCDC’s data, the average temperature has been rising since 1970, and 1995-2005 is the hottest decade by record which greatly affected the production of grain (NOAA, 2006). In this case, it will be probable to have a reduction in food output with an extreme high temperature. For example, in 2002 Italy experienced a record drop, and in France the wheat harvest nearly declined by 21% (Easterling et al, 2007).

Secondly, extreme weather happened more frequently in recent years. This May, drought in China has affected 6.5 million hectares of farmland, and in the US, floods along the Mississippi River and its tributaries have affected approximately 3.6 million acres of cropland (Bloomberg, 2011). Although the governments can use the international trade to alleviate the pressure of inadequacy of food supply, the reductions in Europe still have a very negative influence on local inhabitants and add more unstable factors to current shortage of food supply.

Then, for a great number of people in some developing areas, such as Asia and Africa, the shortage of water is the main problem for crop production. In some areas, people cannot afford the expensive fee of irrigation machines. However, the overpumping and waste of the water has caused falling of water in China and India which will lead to the shortage of water in the end. Additionally, the backward agricultural methods and tools, unhealthy people and unhealthy soils in these areas are also important causes.

On the other hand, if the demand of food is much huger than the supply in one place, their only way is to access them form others. For many places which is suffering from undernourishment, purchasing food from other countries is quiet difficult. Most of these countries are developing countries, whose food security is limited by their wealthy level.

In addition, the huge world population is another reason. The chart below indicates the constantly rising trend of population, the...
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