Given meaning that all people, at all times, have physical, social, and economic access to sufficient, safe, and nutritious food that meets their food preferences and dietary needs for an active and healthy life. The availability of food irrespective of class, gender or region is another one.
Food security is defined as the availability at all times of adequate, nourishing, diverse, balanced and moderate world food supplies of basic foodstuffs to sustain a steady expansion of food consumption and to offset fluctuations in production and prices.
Evolution of the Concept of Food Security
In the early 1970s, a time of global food crises, the concept of food security initially focused on ensuring food availability and the price stability of basic foods, which was due to the extreme volatility of agricultural commodity prices and turbulence in the currency and energy markets at that time.
The occurrence of famine, hunger and food crises required a definition of food security which recognized the critical needs and behavior of potentially vulnerable and affected people.
The concept of food security was defined then at the World Food Conference in 1974 as “the availability at all times of adequate world food supplies of basic foodstuffs to sustain a steady expansion of food consumption and to offset fluctuations in production and prices”. This definition stressed understandably the need for increased production since protein-energy deficiency in 1970 was believed to affect more than 25% of the global population.
A better perception of the crises in food security later led to a shift in emphasis from the availability of food to a wider approach. A deeper grasp of the functioning of agricultural markets under stress conditions, and how at-risk populations found themselves unable to access food, led to the expansion of the FAO definition of food security to include securing access by vulnerable people to available supplies. Economic access to foods came into the concept of food security.
Then, a revised definition of food security evolved to “ensuring that all people at all times have both physical and economic access to the basic food that they need”. The next development came, when the World Bank published its seminal report Poverty and Hunger. This introduced a time scale for food security by distinguishing between chronic food insecurity, associated with poverty, and acute, transient food insecurity, caused by natural or man-made disasters. These were reflected in a further extension of the concept of food security to include: “access of all people at all times to enough food for an active, healthy life”.
The next concept evolution happened, following the UN Development Program’s Human Development Report considering the requirements for human security. At this time, food security, which was within the larger framework of social security, entered the discussion of human rights. Since the studies on food security are often context specific, depending on which of the many technical perspectives and policy issues, this multidimensional and multifaceted operational construct had no coherent definition then. In an attempt to bring more unity to such complexity, a redefinition of food security was conducted through international consultations in preparation for the World Food Summit.
Dimensions of Food Security
Food availability relates to the supply of food through production, distribution, and exchange. Food production is determined by a variety of factors including land ownership and use; soil management; crop selection, breeding, and management; livestock breeding and management; and harvesting. Crop production can be affected by changes in rainfall and temperatures. The use of land, water, and energy to grow food often competes with other uses, which can affect food production. Land used for agriculture can be used for urbanization or lost to desertification, salinization, and soil erosion due to unsustainable agricultural practices. Crop production is not required for a country to achieve food security. Nations don’t have to have the natural resources required to produce crops in order to achieve food security.
Because food consumers outnumber producers in every country, food must be distributed to different regions or nations. Food distribution involves the storage, processing, transport, packaging, and marketing of food. Food-chain infrastructure and storage technologies on farms can also affect the amount of food wasted in the distribution process. Poor transport infrastructure can increase the price of supplying water and fertilizer as well as the price of moving food to national and global markets. Around the world, few individuals or households are continuously self-reliant for food.
Food access refers to the affordability and allocation of food, as well as the preferences of individuals and households. The causes of hunger and malnutrition are often not a scarcity of food but an inability to access available food, usually due to poverty. Poverty can limit access to food, and can also increase how vulnerable an individual or household is to food price spikes. Access depends on whether the household has enough income to purchase food at prevailing prices or has sufficient land and other resources to grow its own food. Households with enough resources can overcome unstable harvests and local food shortages and maintain their access to food.
There are two distinct types of access to food: direct access, in which a household produces food using human and material resources, and economic access, in which a household purchases food produced elsewhere. Location can affect access to food and which type of access a family will rely on. The assets of a household, including income, land, products of labor, inheritances, and gifts can determine a household’s access to food. However, the ability to access sufficient food may not lead to the purchase of food over other materials and services. Demographics and education levels of members of the household as well as the gender of the household head determine the preferences of the household, which influences the type of food that are purchased. A household’s access to enough and nutritious food may not assure adequate food intake of all household members, as intrahousehold food allocation may not sufficiently meet the requirements of each member of the household. The access to food must be available in socially acceptable ways, without, for example, resorting to emergency food supplies, scavenging, stealing, or other coping strategies.
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The next pillar of food security is food utilization, which refers to the metabolism of food by individuals. Once food is obtained by a household, a variety of factors affect the quantity and quality of food that reaches members of the household. In order to achieve food security, the food ingested must be safe and must be enough to meet the physiological requirements of each individual. Food safety affects food utilization, and can be affected by the preparation, processing, and cooking of food in the community and household. Nutritional values of the household determine food choice, and whether food meets cultural preferences is important to utilization in terms of psychological and social well-being. Access to healthcare is another determinant of food utilization, since the health of individuals controls how the food is metabolized. For example, intestinal parasites can take nutrients from the body and decrease food utilization. Sanitation can also decrease the occurrence and spread of diseases that can affect food utilization. Education about nutrition and food preparation can affect food utilization and improve this pillar of food security.
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Food stability refers to the ability to obtain food over time. Food insecurity can be transitory, seasonal, or chronic. In transitory food insecurity, food may be unavailable during certain periods of time. At the food production level, natural disasters and drought result in crop failure and decreased food availability. Civil conflicts can also decrease access to food. Instability in markets resulting in food-price spikes can cause transitory food insecurity. Other factors that can temporarily cause food insecurity are loss of employment or productivity, which can be caused by illness. Seasonal food insecurity can result from the regular pattern of growing seasons in food production.
Chronic (or permanent) food insecurity is defined as the long-term, persistent lack of adequate food. In this case, households are constantly at risk of being unable to acquire food to meet the needs of all members. Chronic and transitory food insecurity are linked, since the reoccurrence of transitory food security can make households more vulnerable to chronic food insecurity.
There is a wide gap between the requirement for need of food, crops, livestock, the volume and quantity of food been produced. This gap which causes food insecurity is partly due to lack of funding for farmers both large and small scale, inefficient use of resources, non-utilization of enhanced high seeds and animal breeds.
Cloud Farm Funds is stepping in the gap to empower farmers with required funds, providing them with the right seeds and breeds of animal and ensuring best agronomy practices.
Within thus, increase food security and also enriching the providers of the funder, our funding partners with good returns on investment.
For more Enquiries on our opened farm investment, visit : https://cloudfarmfunds.com/contact-us