Food protection exists where all citizens have constant access to adequate, clean, and healthy food to satisfy their needs. Food security, on the other hand, is the potential of existing food supplies to meet the needs of the current generation while taking into account individuals’ natural, nutritional, social, and economic well-being. Many regions of the world suffered food shortages in 2007-2008. Despite diplomatic efforts to ensure food security, the food shortage persists. This paper investigates the root cause of the global food crisis. It surpasses the one-sided explanations of the crisis through a movie that showcases it as the result of high food prices. It touches on how food ethics contributes to the crisis and gives an account of the crisis from Food Inc.
The food crisis has seen a rise in the prices of food items. Global food prices are rising fast. High food prices often lead to increased food production however the incentives to produce more based on higher prices put more pressure on the environment and sustainable development. Some of the factors that have led to the increase in food prices include the depletion of water resources, the scarcity of land, demand as well as supply side factors. The world population is growing at a very fast rate and is estimated to be around 9 billion by 2050. Degraded and diminishing land and water resources, increasing adverse effects of climate change, rapid urbanization and changing diets aggravate the pressures associated with feeding this number of people.
Availability of adequate water is to blame for the current food insecurity and high food prices. To keep the global population away from hunger it is necessary to avoid overexploitation of water resources. Global water consumption has tripled, and therefore water is likely to become scarce. Millions of people living in developing countries do not have access to clean water and liable to face chronic water shortages. The depletion of natural water reservoirs affects agricultural production. The shrinking water resources pose a significant threat to food security as it increases the number of people that are undernourished.
Second, there is land availability. Due to the demand of some food commodities expansion of acreage is necessary. Given that we cannot increase land since it is the only fixed factor of production makes it expensive to acquire additional hectares of land. There will be diminishing returns from land since most of the arable land is already cultivated. Also, the competition between fuel and food production and usage of agricultural land for fuel production creates global food insecurity.
Also, factors on the demand side drive the rising prices. Growth in the middle class together with a high disposable income has led to changes in consumption patterns. Factors on the supply side have a hand in the rise in food prices. The export of food from food producing countries does not match the requirements of food importing countries that seek to buy large volumes of food to build stockpiles.
To deal with the issue of food security countries should adopt policies that are meant to reduce, manage and cope with price volatility. For instance, the costs of fertilizer help to determine the change in supply hence subsidize such cost. Also, countries should adopt strategies aimed at curbing global warming which is due to climate change. The change in climate threatens agriculture which is the primary source of food. Climate change has a significant effect on developing countries which mainly rely on agriculture as the backbone of their economies. Large proportions of the population are likely to suffer since they depend on agriculture for their sustenance. Climate change has led to high temperatures and changes in rainfall patterns thus leading to extreme events such as droughts. The extreme weather events increase the number of people at risk of hunger and are therefore a threat to food security. Also, climate change slows the response of supply to high prices. Climate change affects food production by altering the agro-ecological conditions need for food production. It also affects the growth and distribution of incomes, and thus the demand for agricultural produce. Mitigation measures should be put in place if we are to remain food secure in the coming years. Policymakers should ensure that production of biofuel does not undermine food security. Biofuels creates demand for agricultural commodities. In the face of food insecurity reducing targets on transport fuel from crops is vital.
According to food ethics, there is a growing need for ethical consumption of food items. It is necessary that more people should make their consumption decisions by considering moral values e.g. environmentally friendly products. When consumers adhere to standards of ethics in their diets, then such behavior will lead to food security. On the other hand, food ethics requires that producers of food products should undertake their production under safe and hygienic conditions. Also, the food industry should ensure the efficient use of natural resources. The packaging material should have minimal impact on the environment. Adopting safe standards help improve the quality of life and the health of the consumers and guarantees food security in the future.
Results from Food Inc. indicate that consumers are not aware of the safety of their diet items. Packed foods tend to be more expensive and unsafe for consumers. Such awareness is necessary when buying packed animal products such as meat and milk. More often, consumers’ buys food products on supermarket shelves without considering their health effects. Some customers have purchased food items that have ended up being poisonous. Consumption of toxic milk and meat items in certain circumstances has led to death.
From the evaluation, the movie is more persuasive in explaining the future of food security as compared to Food Inc. and food ethics. Prices have a stronger impact on food security as compared to ethical food production and consumption considerations as well as an awareness of safe food items. Therefore, to ensure food security and sustainability focus should be on food prices. Prices affect household incomes and their purchasing power and can thus transform vulnerable people into poor and hungry people.
From the above discussion, it is clear that many factors fuel the food crisis. Food crisis poses risk to the global economy, and therefore there is a need for analysis of food security. The primary factor that contributes to the turmoil is the high food prices. However, controlling food prices through proper policies helps achieve food safety. With food security, the entire economies of the world will attain more significant economic development as people will satisfy their needs and thus improve their standards of living.