Factors that Affect Food Security
Factors that affect food security contribute to the nutritional status of a country. Food security refers to a situation where all people have access to safe, nutritious and sufficient food that meets their food preferences and dietary needs all the time to ensure their healthy and active life. Due to foods insecurity, some people have reduced immunity, reduced productivity, impaired mental and physical development. Food security is largely dependent on demand than on supply. This is because the demand for food is higher than the supply. Generally, food security is affected by several factors which vary among countries but they all contribute to making food shortage a major global issue.
Key factors that affect food security
- Climate change
Climate change has led to weather pattern changes. Effects of climate change which include rises in the average temperatures, floods and droughts are some of the factors that are affecting food production which in turn affects food security. Crops like rice which is grown in the Asian countries where it acts as the stable food for most Asians have been affected by these changes. If nothing is done to mitigate the effects of climate change, crop production will continue to decline and this will have more negative affects on food security.
- Reduction in Arable lands
Only 3 billion hectares of 14 billion hectares of the global land is arable. This area continues to reduce due to the fast rate at which human population is growing. For instance, in 1959, there was approximately 12 acres per individual globally. This reduced to approximately 6 acres by 2006. It is estimated that reduction in arable land acreage per person will reduce to 2.8 acres per individual by 2040. There has been more than 55 percent decrease in the arable land ratio to the population between 1960 and 2000. Additionally, half of the land that is arable now will be unusable by 2050. The degradation rate of arable land in Africa, Latin America and Asia is between two and six times higher than in North America and Europe.
- Food loss
Food loss is the qualitative and quantitative reductions in the value and amount of food. Food spoilage or loss occurs in the supply chain of food between the production point and consumption point. Crops can be damaged by pests, diseases and rodents in the field. Poor harvesting, transportation and storage cause further loss of food. All these factors combined lead to significant food losses and subsequent food insecurity.
- Food accessibility and availability
Food availability is the existence of adequate quantities of food types for communities, countries and individuals. Having adequate food is not a guarantee that everybody in a country has access to food. In some countries, food security for households is dependent on their income levels. This leads to food insecurity in rural areas where populations have limited income.
How to address factors that affect food security
For the factors affecting food security to be addressed, the input of governments, policy makers, non-governmental agencies and individual households is required. This is because food insecurity is a global issue that cannot be addressed by a single country or entity. For instance, a factor like climate change that cause food insecurity by affecting food production negatively can be addressed if only all countries in the world agree to work together towards reducing their greenhouse gases emissions.
Generally, food security is a complex phenomenon. It is largely dependent on political and social systems as well as environmental factors. Therefore, for the factors that affect it to be addressed properly, input of political and social systems is required as well as the participation of everybody in conserving the environment.
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