Food security is defined as the measure of the availability of food in a particular region and one’s access to it. This implies that food security is a process of making people have access to good, safe, nutritious foods that meets their dietary needs for a healthy and normal life. It ensures the availability and steady supply of food necessary to sustain life.
The Food and Agriculture Organization identified four concept that food security embodies.
The 4 Pillars of Food Security
These are the pillars of food security which are;
Regular supply of food should be made more available and affordable to the public. As the numbers of food consumers greatly outnumber that of its producers, there is the need for mass production, proper distribution and allocation of food to the different regions that are in need of it. Also, good transport network is required so as to convey the foodstuffs to where it is required at the right time.
This deals with making the foodstuffs highly available and properly allocated to regions that are in need of food so as to maximize human consumption. The major causes of malnutrition and food hunger is not mostly the scarcity of food but however, the inability of people to access available foods which often results in mass wastages. The major factor attributing to this is poverty as poverty limits one’s access to good foods and also increases one’s vulnerability to fluctuations in the prices of foodstuffs in the local market.
This concept deals with the consumption and metabolism of the food by individuals who consume them. Factors which include storage, cooking practice affect the quantity and quality of foods that people consume. In order to maximize food security, the foodstuffs must conform to specified physiological requirements of an average individual. Food utilization is affected by a number of factors such as cultural beliefs, food storage, environmental sanitation etc. Proper enlightenment and education about food nutrition and preparation can serve to improve food utilization by the masses.
This concept focuses more on an individual’s ability to obtain food repeatedly over a period of time. For effective food security, there should not be fluctuations in the prices of foodstuffs, so as to make them as affordable as possible. This concept recognizes the need for prices imposed on foodstuffs to be moderate and fair so as maximize food consumption by the general population.
Steps To Take To Ensure Food Security.
- The use of fertilizers should be encouraged
- Adoption of the irrigation farming system
- Reduction of food wastage
- Review of import duties imposed on foodstuffs
- Loans for small farmers should be encouraged
- Enlightenment of farmers
The use of fertilizers should be encouraged
Farmers should be taught about the importance of fertilizers and how to apply them on their farms. Nitrogen and phosphorus rich fertilizers should be used as they better improve soil fertility. The use of fertilizers on farms ensure good harvest and a high yield of crops ensures the availability of food for the general public. Better crop yield could be generated if adjustments are made in the timing, placement and the type of fertilizer used.
Adoption of the irrigation farming system
Irrigation is a system of artificial supply of water to a farm. This system ensures good of supply of water for farming operations as unavailability of good water tends to pose as a problem for most farmers. The government and other NGOs could assist poor farmers to set up irrigation systems for those that can’t afford it.
Reduction of food wastage
It has been noted that globally about a third of foods produced is wasted. This is a rather high figure despite efforts put in place to maintain food security. Factors attributing to mass food wastage are; inefficient food preparation, poor storage facilities, poor transport network, pest and plant diseases etc. Concerted efforts should be put in place to reduce food wastages so as to reduce food wastages to the minimum.
Review of import duties imposed on foodstuffs
Import duties are specified amounts of money paid for bringing goods into a particular country. The high prices of import duties also contribute to the rise in the high prices of foodstuffs. The prices of import duties should be reviewed and adjusted so as to suit or better favor the individual who purchase them.
Loans for small farmers should be encouraged
Some farmers find it difficult to raise capital to set up a farm or buy necessary farm implements or machinery. For such people the government should give loans or grants for them to establish a farm and produce more food crops.
Enlightenment of farmers
Farmers should be enlightened and empowered about various new farming techniques. They can also be taught about modern agricultural machineries and how to operate them. This will better improve the farmers as they would be able to plant well and better, yielding a better, more bountiful harvest in the process.
Importance Of Food Security.
Good food guarantees good health.
When people have adequate access to good, nutritious foods, it ensures their healthy growth as they derive the necessary nutrients required for good and active body growth in the foods they consume.
It leads to economic development.
In a nation where food security is present, the economy of such a place is given the chance to grow. This is because many firms that constitute the food industry are involved in one food production and processing activity or the other and when food security is enforced the growth and development of such an industry is assured.
It helps in hunger and poverty alleviation on a global scale.
An aiding factor to food insecurity is poverty. This is because poor people lack the resources to access good foods that they require. This often makes them go hungry for long periods of time. However, when there is food security, people can access foods as they are made readily available and affordable through food security.
It increases global security and stability.
If food security is enforced globally, it means that all nations of the world have enough food supply to last its population. With food readily available, cases of stealing, theft and of countries resorting to war over food supplies would scarcely be reported thus promoting global security.
Other importance of food security are;
It ensures one unrestricted access to quality, nutritious foods.
Increase in trade opportunities.
It ensures job creation.
It serves to improve agriculture on a global scale.
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