Food Security

 

Food security is defined as the availability of food and one’s access to it. A household is food-secure if its occupants do not live in hunger or fear of starvation. According to the World Resources Institute, the amount of food grown around the world has increased for the past several decades.

In 2006, the number of people who were overweight was higher than the number of people who did not have enough food to eat.  The world had more than one billion people who were overweight, and an estimated 800 million who did not have enough food.  According to a 2004 article, China, the country with the most number of people, is suffering from an obesity epidemic.  In India, the second-most populous country in the world, 30 million people do not have enough food and 46% of children are underweight.

Worldwide, around 925 million people are chronically hungry due to extreme poverty, while up to 2 billion people sometimes lack food security. Six million children in the world die of hunger every year – 17,000 every day.   Many experts claim that the rise of fuel prices and the loss of farming land have resulted in rising food prices.  This has resulted in many people without food security.

In poorer countries, most of the population lives in rural areas. People work on small farms and stay in their hometown for most of their lives. In some areas of the world, however, people cannot own land and therefore don’t work hard to improve their farms.  The situation is very different in many richer countries. In the United States, for example, there are only 2,000,000 farmers, less than 1% of the population in America.

People have different theories of how to provide food security to everyone in the world.  Many western governments believe that the key to food security is to make sure that farmers can make money.  If farmers can make more money, they will grow more food and they will also work harder to become better farmers.  Other governments have argued that increasing famers’ profits does not mean that food production will increase.

Some people argue that the only way to make everyone food secure is to give and share food with everyone in the world.  This theory is called “Food Justice”.  These people think that food security is a basic human right. They also say that there is already enough food in the world for everyone but politics and economics prevent fair and balanced access to food.  Food Justice activists argue that food should be free for everyone.

Finally, the theory of “food sovereignty” argues that the key to global food security is to make sure that farmers have control over their own crops.  People who believe in food sovereignty argue that big business, especially foreign business, has too much control over farming.  They argue that small communities and countries should have the right to decide what food to grow and how to grow it.  Perhaps most surprising is that they also see food aid and donations from rich countries as hurting small farmers in poorer countries.



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