Hunger and food shortages have become a common condition in many regions around the world, with millions of people suffering from hunger as a result of the unavailability of food.
Food insecurity is not a problem that only poor countries suffer from. Even in rich countries in Europe or North America, you will find people suffering from food insecurity.
In this article, we will explain to you the concept of food security, how it can be achieved, and what are the consequences of that?
What is meant by food security?
Food security is a term that involves two main things, the first thing is to secure adequate food for everyone without exception, and the second thing is to ensure food safety and to ensure that it is suitable for consumption by all members of society and that it does not pose any danger to their lives.
Food security is based on four main components:
Provision of food: means that adequate food is provided to all, without any exception.
Access to food: it means that all individuals should be able to access food even if they live in remote places.
Stability: Stability means that there is a guarantee that the food supply will be permanent and continuous, and that the members of society will not suffer from any shortages. In addition to avoiding disasters and obstacles that can hinder supply and supply chains.
Purchasing power: It means that all members of society should be able to buy or bear the costs of the food they need, and to achieve this goal, members of society should be able to obtain employment opportunities.
What are the consequences of food insecurity?
Food insecurity leads to real problems and consequences especially for vulnerable people such as women and children.
Statistics issued by the World Health Organization , a United Nations organization , indicate that the symptoms of diarrhea caused by eating contaminated foods are the second leading cause of death for most children under the age of five years of age, and every year 525 thousand children under the age of five die as a result of diarrhea that is spread as a result of drinking water Not suitable for drinking, lack of hygiene and sanitation.
Also, it has been observed that children who do not receive adequate food perform poorly in school because they suffer from fatigue and exhaustion.
Food insecurity may also lead to bigger problems such as the spread of chronic diseases as a result of not getting enough food, such as lack of growth and weight loss.
How do we know if food security has been achieved in an area?
There are many criteria that can be monitored in order to determine whether food security is achieved in a region. These criteria are:
- Is food available in that area? Meaning, are there places where food can be bought or obtained?
- Is there a way to get food? For example, does the population have enough money to buy food?
- Is the food in that area nutritious? That is, it contains all the necessary nutrients such as proteins, sugars, fats, vitamins and minerals within the daily recommended amounts.
- Is the food available in those from the area safe? Meaning that it is not polluted and does not cause poisoning or diseases.
- Is food constantly available? Not only is the availability of food sufficient, but there must also be a guarantee that the food supply is sustainable and uninterrupted.
- Does everyone have access to this food?
How do we define food insecurity?
There are many criteria that can indicate food insecurity such as malnutrition. It is normal for people to suffer from malnutrition if they are unable to obtain adequate food. Malnutrition usually affects people when they do not eat food that contains the necessary nutrients for them.
Food security in numbers
After we have understood what is meant by food security and what are the criteria by which food security can be determined and its availability or lack thereof, let us look at the recent figures on that:
Currently, about 820 million people in the world suffer from hunger, and in 2015 their number was 785 million.
One person out of 9 suffers from health problems caused by malnutrition and lack of calories, which is reflected in their abilities and activity.
Most of the people who suffer from hunger live in the countryside, and they account for 8 out of 10 people suffering from hunger in the world.
Food insecurity affects women more than men, because men always have job opportunities. That is why the United Nations calls for more gender equality in the labor market in order to ensure that women do not suffer from hunger and are able to support themselves, their children and their families.
Climate change is the factor affecting food security the most in the world, as climate change causes scarcity of water supplies and increased desertification at the expense of cultivated lands, and the spread of drought in many regions around the world, which leads to widespread hunger.
How can you help achieve food security?
The United Nations and many organizations around the world are making great and tremendous efforts to achieve food security in rural and remote places that are difficult to reach, and there are many families who cannot afford the cost of just one food basket. Therefore, if you want to help achieve food security and help the hungry around the world, we recommend that you donate to the United Nations organization that is responsible for transporting your aid to these places.
Actions to help achieve food security include:
- Helping farmers by giving them seeds and loans through which they can cultivate lands for themselves and others, in addition to making them aware of how to use modern irrigation and agricultural methods.
- Provide the food chain and financial aid to the most affected people who cannot afford the cost and expenses of purchasing food.
- Raising awareness among residents of the importance of cleaning and purifying water to make it safe to drink and using it to clean foods and remove contaminants from them
- Forming local associations and organizations that can help reduce hunger by establishing local markets that sell food products at reasonable prices.
- Supporting young people, especially women, in order to obtain job opportunities that allow them to buy the food they want.
United Nations achievements in achieving food security?
Thanks to the support that the United Nations receives from donors, whether states or individuals, the World Health Organization was able in 2018 to improve the situation of 7,438 girls, remove them from malnutrition, and support 14,445 families.