This report is designed to present a value-driven argument on ‘All businesses have a responsibility to make a contribution to the achievement of global food security.’ At present, the issue of food security at global level has gained a significant concern of various countries. The report explains how the private sector can improve its involvement in ensuring food security.
What is Food Security?
It is a well-known fact that food is essential for living beings to survive on this earth. Right to have food and freedom from hunger is the basic right of every human in the world. In this context, Food and Agriculture Organization defines food security as a situation of availability of the food, where all the people have an equal access it Naylor, 2016). A household is considered to be secured in terms of food when all the members are free from the hunger or terror of starvation. All over the world, food security is considered as the foundation for the economic as well as social development and stability of all countries. Moreover, food security indicates international peace and countries’ independence.
According to FAO, food security occurs when there exist sufficient food for all the people at all the times, and that food is affordable, accessible, and nutritious. Also, it should also fulfil the specific requirements of dietary in a dignified way and must be culturally acceptable. The FAO also states that food security also depends on the ways it is produced, which should be environmental-friendly and socially secured (Otsuka et al., 2016). In order to create a food enriched world, all the countries are required to work together and support local, regional, and community food production for bringing a positive change in the food system.
Although today agricultural production has been able to supply food to the global population, however, over eight hundred million people are still underfeed. In contrast to this, over one billion people including adults and children are fat and around four hundred million are overweight. In addition to this, around two billion population are suffering from the lack of micronutrients. Also, the modern agricultural system is becoming instrumental in the loss of biodiversity and destruction of the environment. Although this modern pattern has contributed towards increase in production for meeting dietary energy demands, but it has resulted in malnutrition problems in all its forms (Dou et al., 2016). Despite many efforts and agricultural success during the past few decades, sustainability has not been achieved by the prevailing methods, and level of food production and consumption. It led to more than 50% of population suffering from dietary and associated health diseases. The idea of ‘sustainable diets’ was implemented in early 1980s in order to recommend some valuable solutions to the problem of food shortage and create healthier atmospheres as well as consumers (Islam et al., 2016). Nevertheless, a little interest was taken by the business organizations in maintaining the sustainability of ecosystem and the notion of sustainable diets was overlooked for several years.
Role of Private Sector in Food Security
In today’s modern and dynamic world, the problem of food insecurity requires private-public collaborations and market-driven solutions by various millennia. The reality presents the unending starvation and underfeeding, which are spread by the inequality and inequality (Smyth et al., 2016). It implies that food security is a moral as well as political matter as identified by markets and international agreements. Thus, it is the responsibility and obligation of the businesses to fill the widened gaps causing global good insecurity. Since contribution towards enhancing food security is not just a economic duty or political pressure, but also an ethical thing to do, all businesses need to understand this. In order to achieve global food security, a clear-eyed structure is required to be developed by all the nations (YE et al., 2016). It includes gaining support among major participants such as governments, the private sector, non-government institutions and international organizations.
The potential benefits that the business organizations can obtain from contributing towards food security are producing high returns on investment, discovering new markets, and safeguarding the international resources. However, this is the basic component of a greater moral good called food security (Reynolds et al., 2016). Businesses make their significant contribution through their knowledge and expertise in improving efficiency in the agriculture market all over the globe. In this context, during the keynote address at AgriVision 2015, the ex- US Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright held an informed discussion at a strategic level on current and potential concerns in the protein food system. In this conference, Dr Albright shared her opinions on the role and importance of the private sector, and addressed a record delegation of 400 attendees from more than forty nations.
When it comes to the involvement of private sector in the matter of food involvement, it is believed that businesses have a moral obligation to attain it in the ethical and legal manner. In this regard, private entrepreneurs should put consistent efforts as well as true statements among the public and non-profit segments. Since the issue of food insecurity is a mix of various apparently difficult complications, food security emerges as one of the important challenges of today’s century (Lipton, and Saghai, 2017). These complications include unpredictable changes in climatic conditions, injustice, chronic diseases, conflicts, and political disturbances. Therefore, this issue needs a multi-sector approach with the participation of major stakeholders in order to move towards true growth and progress. Moreover, special attention should be paid to the small farmers, especially women who usually suffer much of the global burden of agricultural of agricultural production and avail a very small portion of the total profits. Considering the growing efficiency in agricultural production, Dr Albright shifted to the international trade in agriculture beyond $1tn annually. It is greater than two hundred times the yearly operational budget of the World Food Program (Mottet et al., 2016). Also, the effectiveness of international agriculture markets has risen to one percent annual profit, which can release sufficient amount of money to cover up all the international food supporting costs.
Moreover, the pioneers in international food and agriculture need to get involved more on food security issues at an extended level. They should do further than just producing press releases and CSR reports (Mariani, 2017). It will help to ensure that a high value has been placed on the food nutritional quality of food, water accessibility, and sustainable supply of food grains in all aspects of business.
Responsibilities of All Businesses
As per the recent reports, it can be said that in the coming times, businesses are likely to play the major role in attaining a food security for the future generation. Therefore, it becomes the moral obligation of business organizations to make proper strategy for achieving it. In this regard, large MNC’s dealing in agricultural sector attempt to get a significant deal in the market place in order to eliminate or reduce the most prevalent and inconvenient challenges of food insecurity (McDonald et al., 2016). However, in those areas, the way of generating profitability is not always consistent with the permanent sustainability and well-being of the communities which are exposed to the risk of hunger and starvation.
It is in the long-term interests of the businesses to mobilize the grassroots actions on this issue in an effective manner. It is considered necessary to urge the widened actions of various religious authorities who possess the relevant power, for engaging completely in emphasizing more on agriculture and nutrition to help the needy and undernourished people. These authorities include from pope to imams, and the private, public, and not-for-profit institutions. In this context, Pope Francis and his deputy, Cardinal Peter Turkson, have been open on this matter and called food security as god-gifted right to every person to have access to sufficient food in order to survive (Wamukota, and McClanahan, 2017). Also, for bringing systematic and positive changes in the global food system, unified calls have been made by the worldwide footprint of Caritas Internationals and its affiliated institutions.
The Rome Declaration on Nutrition and Framework for Action stated a strong endorsement in support of Pope’s voice and his action on the issue of food security. It illustrated on how the global leaders apply their power in stimulating support for taking initiatives in public sector. This new generation requires new thinking and action for fulfilling complicated challenges of achieving food security. For this purpose, the businesses also need dynamic partnerships, and effective technologies for a significant impact in the field of agriculture. However, one of the major challenges in front of business institutions is to utilize their capabilities of each sector in order to accomplish a common goal and objective. Since the aim of every business is to earn money, it should find it in its interests to progress in such a way that makes the needy and underfeed people better off in the areas in which they work. The governments also have the duty to design rules and regulations to safeguard the needy and undernourished communities (Nehring et al., 2017). This objective must be undertaken as a matter of social as well as political rest for the long-period. The organizations which mainly focus on women empowerment, such as Religious and other non-government organizations should educate and encourage people to give back, cut back, and minimize food waste for the social cause.
In the group of low as well as high income countries, the matter of food security gains a major priority as well as a challenge. Various businesses, thus, in these countries give their contribution in achieving global food security by providing consumers with healthy and safe food. These businesses such as Cargill collaborate with the partners in both public and private sectors to search for permanent and effective solutions to cease the problem of starvation and facilitate an easy access to affordable and nutritious food for all classes of people. Moreover, Cargill is helping in addressing starvation, food waste, food safety, and other issues in around eighteen countries through entering into partnerships with feeding USA and national food banks (Holden and Ghebru, 2016). This organization also operates with a well-known charitable organization named, CARE which is already involved in multiple projects of rural development for enhancing the availability of food throughout the 8 nations covering over three lakh people. In this regard, Cargill also offers hands-on support to its partners by contributing voluntarily in local activities and make people free from hunger and malnutrition.
The recent survey states that by 2050, the world will require to feed an increased global population of more than 7bn from today. In the midst of the climatic change, increased global food security shows that the farmers need to grow right crops in the most productive regions. Also, the production of food grins is required to shift from the regions of great quantity to the areas of shortage. In this regard, approx twenty percent of food is transferred across the borders, which is likely to rise in the coming decades.
Partnership with Farmers
Different researchers believe that the growing demand for food can only be met with the increased agricultural production. The farmers all over the world are considered to be the entrepreneurs who are actually doing more than less. The businesses enter in partnerships with the farmers to develop and promote entrepreneurial solutions for boosting productivity and profits (Wheeler, and Von Braun, 2013). It also aids in developing sustainable agriculture along with reinforcing communities. The businesses should contribute more by investing in research and development in the agricultural sector and providing training to farmers so that they can effectively and efficiently increase the productivity and fulfil future’s food demand.
Moreover, since 1975, the businesses have been contributing in increasing agricultural productivity of grains, oilseeds, and rice by upgrading better technology, better seeds, more scale and mechanization, and without expanding land use. It is believed that the world’s farmers can produce more even if the land is limited, when the businesses provide suitable conditions and incentives to them. Considering this, Cargill stimulates and assists farmers at different levels of production as they work in dynamic climatic conditions to meet consumer demands and nutritional requirements.
The Agenda of 2030 was implemented at the international level for the sustainable development where food insecurity and starvation show a massive global challenge. As the population is likely to increase to 9bn by 2050 and global food demand is also to deepen day-by-day, it becomes necessary for the businesses to transform the food and agricultural systems and make them sustainable for creating healthy lifestyles for the producers and processors working on a small scale and with limited resources. They have to play an important role in defending ecosystems, and dealing with unfavourable climatic conditions in vulnerable parts of the countries. In this context, businesses have begun to engage in deigning and bringing practical and effective solutions to the resolve the issue of food security and sustainable farming activities (West et al., 2014). Apart from the businesses, other actors in the agriculture supply chain, such as farmers, traders, investors, retailers, consumers, and producers also have the responsibility to set up a sustainable food system that conserves environment, develop economic opportunity, and promotes food security.
Since the vision of the globe excluding starvation is ambitious, this is hard to attain in isolation. Therefore, the matter of food security and sustainable agriculture require an active participation of all business organizations whether they are small, medium, or large, for conducting socially responsible business and contribute their best. UN found a path with the adoption of 2030 Agenda, for the sustainable development of agriculture and eliminating hunger. In this view, the UN has also extended its efforts to combine with the governments, academia, business institutions, and civil societies and established effective policies, and leadership to facilitate the required transformation for the betterment and prosperity of people, and the whole planet. In order to advance food security and sustainable agriculture, the Global Compact of UN has made commitment to increase business participation in the international efforts. The aim of UN Global Compact emphasise mainly on the issue of food and agriculture. This objective is parallel with the 5 components of the Zero Hunger Challenge, which are sustainable food systems, rural poverty, loss and waste of food, access to sufficient food and healthy diets, and ceasing famine at the global level.
In addition to this, Committee on World Food Security principles for Responsible Agriculture Investment provides a flexible law instrument to deal with a variety of environmental, social, and economic problems. Also, a voluntary structure to develop the positive effects that businesses can have on food security is offered by the Food and Agricultural Business Principles.
There is a need of agricultural sector in the formulation of innovations for creating continuous advantageous relations with the scientific and educational organizations such as research institutes, universities, and social networks. These offer a suitable structure for informal interaction of researchers from different institutions. The aim of this system is to produce and share necessary technologies, skills, and knowledge for ensuring sustainable development in the rural economy. In the support of this system, qualitative changes also take place in the relationship between scientists, processors, and users of modern technology. These changes come together to build a new institution with special characteristics. In order to organize and operate the agribusiness, the alliance needs proper training of the staff and innovation managers (Smith, P., 2013). Another important role of agribusinesses is to develop innovative infrastructure model and allocate to several non-profit professional know-how foundations for creating environment with widened network communications. It would allow association of creative and prospective consumers.
A close cooperation in the involvement of the actors has been considered instrumental in agribusiness for supply of food and increase in the prices. These actors of agribusiness actualize their interests by pushing demand to other sector and set the better way to ensure enough food supply on a large scale. They also act as an important link between the farmers and the ultimate consumers. Moreover, an effective interaction of market incentives to family farms is created by them and hence, the food security is ensured at the national level. The assurance of regular food supply greatly depends on local as well as federal trade networks. The variation of trading capital development in many developed economies is influenced by the economic performance. Because the importance of agricultural sector is growing constantly, trading networks has an opportunity to reallocate profits inside the established value chains to take advantage of the situation. It would also enable businesses to decide on the quantity and quality of the food commodities by agricultural suppliers and limit the production of farm goods accordingly.
In 2014 and 2015, a continuous rise has been noticed in the prices of products which are important for the social welfare. An examination conducted by RF consumption Supervision Service indicated that the prices of socially welfare commodities have moved stealthily. During this period, many businesses in developed countries revealed a low level of social obligation, while a number of households showed that their expenses on meal constitute a major part of their expenses. Various businesses represented by the Retailing Companies Association, engaged in the large scale trading network attempted to make the prices of essential food products stable for ensuring food security in their respective states. In this view, ethical pricing became to be crucial in many countries. This practice assured implementation of innovative agro-based industry model using chains of value creation (Carletto et al., 2013). The objective was to satisfy the needs of domestic families affected by their low-level income. Moreover, considering the social, physical, and economic availability of the needed quantity of secured and healthy food, large business companies create their own internal as well as external value chains in order to conduct their operations based on social responsibilities. However, some improvement is still needed to enhance the effectiveness of supply chains and ensure the price management along with adequate food supply in the long run.
In conclusion, it can be said that in order to ensure food security throughout the world, all businesses should participate in the prevailing value creation chains. It would also ensure long-term relations in the agribusinesses and thereby contribute to innovative operations.
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