ITO Thailand Hygiene Blog
4 Elements of Food Security
For effective food security, all 4 interrelated elements are required to occur at the same time (Source: FAO, 2008; Australian Center for International Agricultural Research, 2014) including:
1.Physical readiness means to the food production system, good resource management that determines the quantity of food sufficient to the needs, including the quality and variety of food.
2.Access to food means to the determination of government sector on economic policy, market price control and price mechanism in order for everyone to equally access to nutritious food.
3.Food utilization means to the management and supervision of good food preparation, food variety and food distribution thoroughly resulting the body to receive sufficient energy and nutrients intake.
4.Stability means to the long-term stabilization of the above three pillars although there are external factors that may affect food security such as natural disasters, political or economic situations.
Global Food Security and Nutrition Situation
It is estimated that 720-811 million people around the world were affected by food security in 2020, an increase of 118-161 million people from the previous year (Source: FAO et al., 2021) mainly due to COVID-19. Even though it is a short-term impact, its result affects people all over the world to become more difficult to access to food. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) found that the majority of malnourished people live in poor countries in Asia and Africa (2021) mainly due to city closures, food sources, either the fresh markets or supermarkets, reduced their business hours, higher food prices in conjunction with other reasons such as lower household incomes resulted from economic conditions causing the adjustment of consumption behavior, shopping the processed foods of which prices are usually cheap but have a long shelf life with little nutritive value, eating less food and reducing food variety in each meal, restriction of social activities, etc. (Source: FAO et al., 2021).
The main factors causing food security problem are usually attributed to 3 main factors (Source: FAO et al., 2021):
1) Extreme weather conditions such as floods, droughts and global warming affecting agricultural sector, damaging agricultural products, etc.
2) Economic recession including household debt problem resulting to lower purchasing power of consumers
3) Conflict problems, the violence of both internal armed conflict situations and international armed conflict situations; for instance, the Russian invasion of Ukraine (Source: Murphy, 2022). As a result, the world has encountered the higher food prices and poor countries have more difficult access to food. Besides, the wheat supplies produced by both Russia and Ukraine are accountable for 30% of the global wheat supply (Source: Simpson, 2022), as well as, Russia is also a top producer and exporter of raw materials for fertilizer production such as potassium chloride, phosphate including natural gas which are necessary for ammonia production, raw materials for nitrogen fertilizer production, etc. (Source: Simpson, 2022).
There is evidence that agricultural research and development play the important roles in improving agricultural productivity worldwide (Source: Australian Center for International Agricultural Research, 2014) helping people of poor countries to have a better quality of life, more access to food and food security. However, each country requires different solutions with various recommendations to concretely solve the problems such as humanitarian policy, development and peacebuilding in the areas affected by violence, environmental and climate policies to maintain sustainable management of food production systems, natural environment restoration, economic and legal policies to fairly protect everyone in society including the support to increase household incomes, labor market support, food supply chain improvement policy to reduce the cost of high nutritive value food, structural management policy and poverty management policy, policy on consumer behavior change for good health, etc. (Source: FAO et al., 2021).
It is noticeable that these policies are intended to help all people to have equal access to nutritious food and good health sustainably. The impact does not only happen to any of the countries, but it also affects everyone on this planet. We, therefore, should not overlook or think that food security is a far-off matter. Instead, we should focus on solving this problem sustainably which ITO Thailand would like to volunteer to be a part in stepping forward to build a stable and safe food society for consumers.
1.Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research. (2014, December 22). Food security and why it matters. Australian International Food Security Centre. https://aifsc.aciar.gov.au/food-security-and-why-it-matters.html
2.FAO. (2008). An Introduction to the Basic Concepts of Food Security. EC – FAO Food Security Programme. https://www.fao.org/3/al936e/al936e.pdf
3.FAO, IFAD, UNICEF, WFP and WHO. 2021. The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World 2021 Transforming food systems for food security, improved nutrition and affordable healthy diets for all. Rome, FAO. https://doi.org/10.4060/cb4474en
4.Murphy, M. (2022, May 19). Ukraine invasion could cause global food crisis, UN warns. BBC News. https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-61503049
5.Simpson, E. (2022, March 7). Ukraine war “catastrophic for global food.” BBC News. https://www.bbc.com/news/business-60623941
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