Food Poverty & Food Security

Denzil Prato

March 14, 2022

The words insecurity and poverty don’t raise hairs or even give us goosebumps these days, seems like we are conditioned to hear these words regularly. The real reason why this happens is because of lack of thought and motivating the avarice in people. Both of these go hand in hand with an Individualistic thought process, and in short, this can be avoided by changing the way we think to a communal level.

The word, Insecurity – it’s the state of being open to danger or threat which can lead to more anxiety and worry, and on the other hand, Poverty – is a state of not being able to afford what is the minimum needed. When these terms are used in a financial sense, we understand immediately what they mean. But when an antecedent like Food, is added before these terms, we find incapability in ourselves to not understand the graveness of the situation, not only in our neighbourhoods but rather all around the world. Food insecurity is when an individual doesn’t know or have any guarantee, wherefrom the next meal if any is going to come from. Food Poverty takes away the ability of the individual to pay for their food, as financial options for them are inexistent.

Seven years ago, the UN General Assembly, set up the Sustainable Developmental Goals (SDGs) where it committed to the goal of ending hunger, food security and all forms of malnutrition by 2030, but today the world is a very different place as to where it was when these goals were decided. This grave statistic shows us how much more is still left to accomplish as the number of undernourished people in the world continued to rise in 2020. Between 720 and 811 million people in the world face hunger in 2020.

The reasons for this are numerous. Starting from the obvious, deforestation and intensive agriculture caused due to the Green Revolution phenomena in the late 1950s which caused farmers all over the world to use chemical-laden fertilizers and pesticides that disrupt the natural balance of the soil. Many of these factors are also controlled by politics and governmental campaigns which is out of the control of the meagre common man. Sticking to governmental causes, many of the countries of the world do have food surplus storage, for which the intent and purpose was to serve as a backup on a rainy day. But the economics have changed with fluctuating prices of commodities, the surpluses are opened only when the cost of the commodity is considered “favourable”. Another foresight that might be lacking with individuals is the lack of financial freedom, especially for the indigenous and local communities, that have a very seasonal and specialised source of income, making it harder for them to eek a substantial earning to support themselves. Another factor has to be awareness, not that they aren’t aware, but the resources and pathways they can use to remedy themselves aren’t known to them. If we dwell slightly deeper, we also find out that water scarcity and climatic factors, natural disasters and recently the onset of a pandemic are also controlling factors in food availability. The causes are numerous, but if just one is tackled and a solution is found, it would make life a bit easier for everyone, nay the whole environment.

There are many harrowing statistics that can be included here, but the important thing is that bold actions are needed to be taken for the remediation of the affected population. For the community a collective action needs to be formed, to state a few that can be done is integrating humanitarian, development and peacebuilding policies in conflict-affected areas, empowering those who are most susceptible to economic adversity, drastically improving climate reliance in our food crops, changing food supply routes to decrease costs, tackling social issues like poverty and inequality and making sure the intervention method is inclusive to all and changing consumer behaviour to promote positive impacts on human health and environment.