Food security is defined by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) as when all people, in the slightest degree times, have physical, social, and economic access to sufficient. Food security has four interrelated elements: availability, access, utilization, and stability.
- Availability is about food supply and trade, not just quantity but also the standard and variety of food. Improving availability requires sustainable productive farming systems, well-managed natural resources, and policies to reinforce productivity.
- Access covers economic and physical access to food. Improving access requires better market access for smallholders allowing them to come up with more income from cash crops, livestock products, and other enterprises.
- Utilization is about how the body uses the varied nutrients in food.
- Stability is about being food secure in the slightest degree times. Food insecurity is often transitory with short-term shocks the results of a nasty season, a change in engaged status, conflict, or an increase in food prices. When prices rise, it’s the poor who are most in danger because they spend a far higher portion of their income on food. Poor people in Malawi spend nearly 78% of their income on food, while poor within the US, spend just 21% (CCAFS 2014). Social nets can play a very important role in supporting people through transitory food insecurity.
Why does it matter?
Food security is that the issue of our time. Food may be a fundamental right. And yet one in nine people around the world (805 million) go hungry a day (FAO, IFAD, and WFP 2014). While this can be still 805 million too many, we are making progress towards eliminating hunger. Already 63 countries have met the MDG target. Some regions like geographical areas and therefore the Caribbean has made impressive progress in increasing food security. However, there has been only modest progress in geographic areas and Western Asia, where natural disasters and conflict still trap people in hunger (FAO, IFAD, and WFP 2014).
There is also a more insidious variety of hunger, hidden hunger caused by deficiencies in micronutrients like iron, Vitamin A, and Zinc affecting two billion people. For the individual, the results of micronutrient deficiencies will be devastating. If a baby doesn’t receive sufficient nutrition within the first 1,000 days of life they’re in danger of mental impairment, poor health, low productivity, and even death. The economic costs of micronutrient deficiencies also are considerable, reducing gross domestic product (GDP) by 0.7-2% in most developing countries. Global losses in economic productivity because of macronutrient and micronutrient deficiencies reach over 2-3% of GDP (Global Hunger Index 2014).
A diverse diet including foods rich in protein is important to child development. Our poultry project is investigating the role that integrated family poultry and crops can play in improving child nutrition in Tanzania and Zambia (Photo S Ingleton 360°. A diverse diet including foods rich in protein is significant to child development. Our poultry project is investigating the role that integrated family poultry and crops can play in improving child nutrition in Tanzania and Zambia (Photo S Ingleton 360°) To feed the planet in 2050 we want to extend total global food production by 70% (FAO 2009). this can be increasingly challenging in a changing climate. By 2030 crop and pasture yields are likely to say no in many places. In parts of Brazil, rice and wheat yields are likely to say no by 14%. By 2050, widespread impacts on food and farming are highly likely with an 8% average decline in yields for eight major food crops across Africa and South Asia (CCAFS 2014).