“Food security is defined as the physical and economic access to sufficient, safe, nutritious food for maintaining a healthy and active life.”
Pillars of Food Security:
There are three pillars on which food security is built:
(i) Food availability:
It means sufficient quantities of food should be available to peoples to meet their dietary needs as well as their food preferences. Food can be made available from local, regional and international sources. Availability of food is governed by food production, food processing, food trade, food storage, etc.
(ii) Food access:
It means peoples at all times should have physical and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food. Food access is governed by marketing, transport, purchasing power, etc.
(iii) Food use:
It means peoples must have knowledge of basic nutrition and care to maintain a healthy and active life. Food utilization require nutritious food choices, food safety and quality, clean water and proper sanitation.
Major Threats to Food Security
Major Threats to Food Security are listed bellow:
(i) Declining productivity.
(ii) High dependence on imported food.
(iii) Increasing poverty.
(iv) Loss of preferences.
(v) Declining income from traditional crops.
(vi) Growing incidence of food related diseases.
Major World Food Problems
According to Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) estimates, on an overage, minimum calorie requirement of a healthy man is 3000 kcal/day and of a healthy woman are 2200 kcal/ day.
If a person receives less than 90% of this minimum calorie requirement then the person is undernourished. Thus, undernourishment means to receive fewer calories than needed.
As per WHO, almost one-third of all children under five years of age are undernourished in developing countries.
The Effects of Undernourishment:
(i) Undernourished persons have less energy for doing any kind of work. They are susceptible to diseases, their body becomes weak and they frequently fall sick. They look like old even in young age.
(ii) Undernourished children’s suffer from following problems: Social inferiority complex, slow body growth, mental retardness, illness, delayed adulthood, etc.
It means lack of essential nutrients (like proteins, vitamins, lipids, minerals etc.) in the diet. It may lead to following problems:
Malnourished persons are more susceptible to diseases, they have less strength to function productively, and they face abnormal growth.
According to WHO, more than 3 billion peoples in the world are malnourished?
Common Diseases of Malnutrition:
It is progressive deterioration caused by a diet low in total calories and protein.
Symptoms: Pronounced slowing of growth, extreme wasting of muscles. Remedy: Adequate diet.
It is caused by protein deficiency.
Fluid retention; swelling of abdomen; dry, brittle hair, mental retardation and stunted growth.
It is due to over consumption of saturated (animal) fats, sugar and salt in diet. Symptoms: Obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, heart diseases, etc.
Food Security can be Achieved by:
(i) Implementing appropriate food, agriculture and rural development policies with emergency and disaster planning.
(ii) Permitting appropriate international agricultural agreements.
(iii) Minimizing over-exploitation of natural resources that may jeopardize food security in the long run.
(iv) Ensuring that the imported food products
(a) Are of acceptable quality and safe to eat,
(b) Does not reduce agricultural employment levels,
(c) Permit protection of national food security.
(v) Facilitating proper distribution of sufficient, safe and nutritious food.