Friday, 1 April 2016

SUSTAINABLE FOOD SECURITY: ISSUES and CONCERNS



Introduction:
Food Security is a kind of assurance for a long term basis, by the government of any economy, to its citizens, that the country will provides the total population access to a timely, reliable and nutritionally adequate supply of food. Food security can be understood with the help of four following stages:
1.       To make available adequate quantity of cereals to ensure survival.
2.       To make provisions so that there should be adequate availability of cereals and pulses in the country.
3.       Food security to include cereals, pulses, milk and milk products, vegetables and fruits.
4.       To keep control over the prices so that access to food can be ensured.
According to the final report of World Food Summit 1996, food security exists “ when all the people at all the times have economic and tangible access to  safe, sufficient and healthy food to meet their dietary needs and food choices for a healthy and active life”. On the other hand, food insecurity, is a situation of “uncertain or limited availability of adequate and healthy food in socially acceptable ways.”
There are four pillars of the food security as measured by the Food and Agriculture organization (FAO) of the USA and they are availability, access, utilization and stability. In the year 1948, United Nations has also recognized the ‘Right to Food’ in the declaration of human rights. The 1996 World summit on food security also mentioned an important thing that “food should never be used as an instrument for making political and economic pressures”
Measurement:
Food security measures and indicators are derived from an economy’s income and expenditure surveys of households. In simple terms, the goal of food security measures is to capture some important elements of food security in terms of availability, access and adequacy or utilization. In these parameters, it is easy to measure and judge the availability (production and supply) and utilization/adequacy but difficult to estimate the access since access is the root cause of food insecurity as well as food security. However the measures or scale to capture the different components of food security can be summarized as-
-Household food insecurity access scale (HFIAS)
-Household Dietary Diversity Scale (HDDS)
-Household Hunger Scale (HHS)
-Coping Strategies Index (CSI)


Pillars of Food Security:
According to WHO, there are three important pillars that determines the food security: food availability, food access and food use. There is also a fourth pillar as added by the FAO is stability. So in the year 2009, World summit on food security are availability, access, utilization and stability.
Effects of Food Insecurity:
Chronic and severe food insecurity often converted into a high degree of vulnerability to hunger and famine. If a country is shortage of production or defective public distribution system then it results in a chronic widespread hunger amongst large number of people. Hunger and malnutrition decreases the body size which in medical terms known as ‘stunting’ or stunting growth. If the mother’s uterus is malnourished, then it may leads to a high infant mortality rate. Premature failure of vital organs, defects in cognitive development, structural defects during early development are some of the outcomes of food insecurity.
Challenges to achieving Food Security:
Global water crisis, land degradation, global warming, climate change etc. are some of the factors that challenge the food security. In the phase of such chronic impediments, it is the duty of the government to ensure the food security to its citizens. Some of the measures which the countries are following can be summarized as:
-Effective PDS
-Clear cut identification of BPL families
-Encouraging farmers to provide more by providing them training and latest technology.
-Creating strong and effective irrigation facilities so as to lesser dependence on rain water.
-Bringing and implementing the food security bills like India is doing
-Providing sufficient and spacious storage facilities for cereals and other harvests.

So above are some measures which the countries can adopt for avoiding food insecurity and bringing food security.


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