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Food Insecurity: Definition and Statistics


Discuss about the Ensuring Sustainable Food Security and Alleviating Poverty.

The issue of food insecurity is rising to alarming levels globally. Countries in the African continent and other third world countries are experiencing deaths out of starvation and malnourishment. There is a rapid population growth globally and, the number surpasses the amount of food produced.  The Food and Agriculture Organization (2013) defines food insecurity as the insufficient food supply, and or the unavailability of a balanced diet to the population. A United Nations report pointed out that approximately 21,000 people die globally out of starvation. According to Gregory, Ingram and Brklacich (2005), the world is witnessing more death out of hunger in the recent years than in the historical years. Moreover, estimated 2.6 million children under the age of 5 years die out of malnourishment globally (Ghosh 2010). The statistics pronounce the grave issue of food shortage globally with the third world countries being the most affected.  According to Ghosh (2010), 10 million people were in dire need of food assistance in the African continent by the year 2010. FAO (2013) claim that approximately 12.9% of the global population is at a risk of starvation. With the world population expected to hit 9 billion by the year 2050, effective and necessary interventions have to be put in place to ensure the countries can feed their citizens. Feeding the estimated 9 billion people in the world by 2050 will be a challenge (Thomas 2010). The evaluation criteria would be the assessment of whether there is enough daily food for a given populace with the assumptions that there is an accurate statistical prediction on population growth and food production.  However, the criterion is faced by a constraint of lack of enough data in some section of the world that would aid in the consolidation of food security global statistics.

The increase of global outcry on food shortages has received attention from different corners of the world and major stakeholders. Various interventions have been put in place to try and curb the crisis. There has been an increase in monetary donations from multilateral organizations and foreign governments in an attempt to control short-term effects of food shortages and designing long term solutions. In 2008 the World Bank embarked on a $1.2 billion financing program to save the lives of vulnerable groups in starving nations (Stewart, Norton, Madanat and Stewart 2008). The financial aid aimed at immediately solving the issue of hunger pangs among women and children in twenty countries facing food shortage. Additionally, the World Bank through the Global Food Resource program earmarked $651 million to be distributed to eleven countries for different projects such as food imports and securing planting seeds for upcoming planting seasons (Schaefer, Lieberman and Riedl 2008). Thus, the World Bank has been in the forefront with financial aids to help save lives of people facing starvation. Moreover, the institution has been helping farmers in developing countries access funds to buy farm inputs in an attempt to achieve sufficient food supplies in third world countries. In July of 2008, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) flagged off a $21 million financial aid to forty-eight countries to undertake different projects aimed at providing food security to the countries (Stewart, Norton, Madanat and Stewart 2008). The donations targeted to provide seeds and fertilizers to farmers of the affected countries. Different stakeholders have proposed that financing developing countries help them purchase farm inputs during planting seasons goes a wrong way to curb the issue of food insecurity.

Interventions to Address Food Insecurity

Moreover, the acting stakeholders have proposed the drafting and implementation of effective policies by the governments of affected countries. Adoption of policies that favor agricultural activities goes a long way to ensuring food security in the country. Creation of policies that supports increased agricultural production will result in sustainable agricultural development (CIDA 2008).  Making simple and clear policies on issues such as land tenure and environmental regulations compliance will promote maximum participation of farming activities among the local population. UNCTAD has been helping local governments launch domestic investment through appropriate policies and starting important institutions (UNCTAD 2008). Putting up measures that encourage the local to engage in agricultural activities ensure there is adequate workforce able to generate the required food in the country and enough to export. Additionally, there have been interventions by international players drafting appropriate unilateral and supportive government-government policies to help support food production and imports.  In adoption to these systems in 2008, Countries such as Ghana eliminated export duties of commodities such as wheat and rice while Guyana supplied planting seeds for free for her citizens (Tagtow 2016). Furthermore, effective international policies on trade led countries such as India removing export bans for rice and China readily availing diesel fuels for use on farm machinery’ during planting and harvesting (Von Braun 2009).  The proposed change of policies or adoption of new policies has led to the individual governments taking responsibilities in ensuring they achieve food security. 

In response to the alarming food insecurity globally, the stakeholders have proposed the use of biotechnology to help improve food production. Adoption of technology in farming helps eliminate traditional agricultural practices and deals with issues such as weather predictability and depleted soil (Scott 2016). Use of technology and science will come up with useful tools to scan the soils and crops and help customize inputs such as fertilizers for the specific plants. Technology helps farmers using multi-crop machines to plant a variety of crops under many varying conditions (Dobermann and Nelson 2013). The use of technology will allow many farmers in different areas farm sustainably through the planting of various crops on one piece of land and curb pest and disease problems (Wambugu 2014). Being able to what crop will do well in certain conditions will allow farmers know what inputs to purchase. Additionally, being able to farm different crops will avail a variety of nutrients to the country and fight malnourishment. Moreover, the stakeholders have adopted genetically modified organisms (GMO) in food production to help generate enough food within short times. According to Vergragt (2006) biotechnology in food production will raise the threshold of food suppliers significantly. Using technology to grow genetically modified plants will allow improved nutrients in a variety of crops as opposed to what is found in nature (Floros et al. 2010). Technology in production has proved to be successful for the generation of a wide variety of crops with many improved nutrients. Hence, the stakeholders propose the use of technology to accelerate food production globally and ensure food security.

Effective Policy Frameworks for Achieving Food Security

There has been a proposal to increase investment in agricultural-based research to improve food production and enhance food safety.  Lee (2007) notes that undertaking adequate and relevant research on farm technologies and how to improve crop will help battle the issue of hunger in the world.  The active research will give recommendations on available options to handle issues of pest and notorious weeds, how to produce high yield and nutritious crops and ability to bleed crops for better yields. The farming research will reveal unproductive traditional agricultural practices and paves the way for more improved methods with better results (Smith 2013). Moreover, through research, scientists have been able to come up with a better way of producing foods such as meat. Scientists can grow synthetic meat using the animal stem cells (Godfray and Garnett 2014). The investment in such research projects that result into ways of growing cultivated meat will come up with other effective ways to produce enough food for the world. Using a single cell meat, researchers can produce meat equivalent to an annual meat demand. Similarly, the use of research has been proposed to help generate enough food for the world with very minimal resources. The study interventions will contribute substantially to solving food insecurity in the world.

In a bid to curb the hunger menace, there has been a proposal to increase food aid to countries at risk of famine. According to Porter et al. (2014), there is a constant need of emergency food today and in future in most third world countries and requires a broader response.  Immediate food assistance and nutrition intervention are proposed as a way to handle the crisis and stabilize the situation. The improvements of emergency food aid will ensure efficient, predictable and sustainable food assistant system (Lipper 2014). Thus, having an improved emergency food assistance will help counter the intensity of food insecurity in countries that vulnerable to the crisis.

The problem of food insecurity has generated solutions and proposal from various stakeholders such monetary donations to buy farm inputs and import foods and improved policies to help improve local agricultural productions and unrestricted exports. Additionally, the stakeholders have adopted technology in food production and suggested the carrying out of agricultural researches to come up with better ways of farming. Moreover, there is a plea to increase emergency food aid reserved for countries vulnerable to food shortages.

However, I would propose the collection and processing of edible wild fruits to be stored and, given to vulnerable citizens at times of hunger by individual governments. Processing wild fruits will ensure that they don’t go to waste whenever people have foods and would be limited or unavailable when the country face starvation. The processing and canning will ensure they are stored for a long time. Additionally, fruits have nutritional value and, would not only feed the nation during starvation but prevent malnutrition.

Additionally, individual governments should reward farmers with a history of farming on more than one acre of land with an extra acre free of a lease and provide them with free farm inputs with the provision of selling the output to the government.  By doing this, the government will encourage people with large trucks land to farm and generate enough food to the country.  This is different from simply the incentive of providing agricultural inputs to farmers. The incentives will bring confidence to farmers that there is an agreement with the government to buy their produce and will not worry about the market. This will stop the constructing of houses in huge tracks of lands and encourage farming, Hence, yield a more food secure country.

Adoption of Technology to Improve Food Production

The multilateral organizations in collaboration with the individual government should hire local agriculture experts with proved competencies in their respective product farming. The experts should be trained further before being assigned to particular farmers with large tracks of lands in the country to help them farm the same product for one year. The process will ensure farmers with immense potentials, and land resources have daily help and monitoring and eventually grow their expertise. The expert should be transferred to another farmer after the end of planting season; this will ensure farmers get educations of best farming practices. The process is different from farmers learning from scientific research from the media and lacks support to implement the knowledge.

I select the idea of the individual government rewarding farmers in the country with a proved history and consistency of farming in more than one-acre piece of land. The government should give the farmers an extra acre free of a lease and free farm inputs with an agreement to buy their produce.  This solution is the best over the others as it directly involves the locals in the production. In this incentive, the government will seek to generate natural food though willing people compared to the collection of wild fruits that will be canned and preserved. Additionally, compared to the involvement of the multilateral organization in training experts, there is the lack of self will from farmers. Hence, the chosen solution capitalizes on the willingness and potential of farmers who lacks enough resources.

Using the criteria of history and consistency in farming on one acre, the government will be able to select people who enjoy farming and have potential to produce more food in the country and could only be hindered by the lack of resources.  Individuals who have the passion for doing something ensures they give their best towards the task they are carrying out. Similarly, farmers who engage in agricultural activities willingly and passionately will utilize the extra acre to give the country more food. 

Additionally, the farmers will get free farm inputs and will only invest in labor and skills. The incentive will motivate people with unused tracks of lands to engage in farming activities targeting the rewards from the government. The incentives will ensure people reclaim idol land and minimize constructions of houses in rural areas to participate in a more rewarding agricultural activity.

Moreover, the farmers will have an assurance of their produce market. Market availability is one bothering issue among farmers. The certainty of the buyer will bring confidence to the farmers and enabled them to put their best. The move will boost food production in the countries susceptible to food insecurity.

The proposed solutions will involve different stakeholders in the implementation. These are the Government, the farmers, farm input sellers and other citizens.

  • The government will raise enough food to secure the Country during starvation period
  • The government will reclaim idol lands and put them to use
  • The government will encourage other farmers with vast tracks of lands to venture into farming
  • The government will create employment in the country


  • The Cost of supporting such incentive is expensive and may halt other developments projects
  • The farmers might not be honest with returns and sell to middlemen
  • The farms might not yield expected returns and might waste the resources


  • The farmers will make a decent life out of farming.
  • The farmers will be self-employed and will be independent
  • There will be readily available market for the produce
  • The producers will create employment to other citizens
  • The farmers will get local and international recognition for feeding the country
  • The farmers will be more productive with the extra piece of land from the government


  • The farmers might have to spend more time in the lands
  • The unpredictable weather might ruin the farmers’ hard work
  • The farmers might sell the produce to the government at a lower price during bumper harvests
  • The farmers might not have the power to sell food from their lands to profitable middlemen


  • There will be an increase in sales of farm inputs
  • There will be constant demand for farm inputs
  • The price of the farm inputs will go up due to increase in demand


  • The government might decide to import farm inputs


  • The citizens will have enough suppliers of food
  • The cost of farm produce will be cheap
  • No citizen will ever die of hunger
  • There will be employment opportunities for many people
  • There will be possibility of receiving the incentives when they farm in their idol lands


  • They government may never buy their produce
  • There may be housing problems due to lands been used for farming

The bureaucratic process used by many governments used to give subsidies in the agriculture sectors has been tedious. Support protocols have led to inputs diversion and being used by the unintended population (Lal, Hansen and Uphoff 2016). The money is received from the government treasury and channeled to the ministry of agriculture. The ministry channel to the cereal boards and local authority who distribute to farmers. However, there is a need for a review for path used to get the support to farmers. The incentives from the national government should be channeled to the ministry of agriculture, cereals board, national farmers’ representatives, local authority, areas farmer representatives and to farmers. The inclusion of the farmers’ representative allows for transparency in the process and prevents mishandling of inputs.

Rewarding farmers with proved history of constant farming in more than one Acre with an Extra piece of Acre and agricultural inputs will ensure the government work with willing and passionate farmers towards food security. Supporting willing people with enough resources in the process will ensure the country securing enough food for the citizens. The individual government should strive to establish hardworking farmers in the country and provide free farm inputs and extra pieces of land. The farmers possess the will to farm but are challenged by the lack of resources. Supporting the farmers will ensure they attain their maximum potential. The farmers should give their best to ensure the incentive provided yield reasonable returns to feed the country.


Canadian International Development Agency., 2008. Increasing Food Security. CIDA’S Food Security Stragety.

Dobermann, A. and Nelson, R., 2013. Opportunities and solutions for sustainable food production. Background paper for the High-Level Panel of Eminent Persons on the Post-2015 Development Agenda. Prepared by the co-chairs of the Sustainable Development Solutions Network Thematic Group on Sustainable Agriculture and Food Production.

Food and Agriculture Organization., 2013. FAO policy on gender equality: attaining food security goals in agriculture and rural development. Rome, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations

Floros, J.D., Newsome, R., Fisher, W., Barbosa?Cánovas, G.V., Chen, H., Dunne, C.P., German, J.B., Hall, R.L., Heldman, D.R., Karwe, M.V. and Knabel, S.J., 2010. Feeding the world today and tomorrow: the importance of food science and technology. Comprehensive Reviews in Food Science and Food Safety, 9(5), pp.572-599.

Ghosh, J., 2010. The unnatural coupling: Food and global finance. Journal of Agrarian Change, 10(1), pp.72-86.

Godfray, H.C.J. and Garnett, T., 2014. Food security and sustainable intensification. Phil. Trans. R. Soc. B, 369(1639), p.20120273.

Gregory, P.J., Ingram, J.S. and Brklacich, M., 2005. Climate change and food security. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 360(1463), pp.2139-2148

Lal, R., Hansen, D.O. and Uphoff, N. eds., 2016. Food security and environmental quality in the developing world. CRC Press.

Lee, R., 2007. Food security and food sovereignty. Centre for Rural Economy Discussion Paper Series, 11, pp.1-16.

Lipper, L., Thornton, P., Campbell, B.M., Baedeker, T., Braimoh, A., Bwalya, M., Caron, P., Cattaneo, A., Garrity, D., Henry, K. and Hottle, R., 2014. Climate-smart agriculture for food security. Nature Climate Change, 4(12), pp.1068-1072.

Porter, J.R., Xie, L., Challinor, A.J., Cochrane, K., Howden, S.M., Iqbal, M.M., Lobell, D.B. and Travasso, M.I., 2014. Chapter 7: Food security and food production systems. Cambridge University Press.

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Scott, P., Thomson, J., Grzywacz, D., Savary, S., Strange, R., Ristaino, J.B. and Korsten, L., 2016. Genetic modification for disease resistance: a position paper. Food Security, 8(4), pp.865-870.

Smith, P., 2013. Delivering food security without increasing pressure on land. Global Food Security, 2(1), pp.18-23.

Stewart, T.P., Norton, S.J., Madanat, J.G. and Stewart, H.E., 2008. The Global Food Crisis: Urgent Need and Emerging Solutions. Sustainable Dev. L. & Pol'y, 9, p.31.

Tagtow, A., 2016. Food security and urban agriculture. In Sowing Seeds in the City (pp. 11-22). Springer Netherlands.

United Nations Conference  on Trade and Development,. 2008. Addressing the Global Food Crisis. Key trade, investment and commodity policies in ensuring sustainable food security and alleviating poverty.

Vergragt, P.J., 2006. How technology could contribute to a sustainable world. GTI Paper Series, 28.

Von Braun, J., 2009. Addressing the food crisis: governance, market functioning, and investment in public goods. Food Security, 1(1), pp.9-15.

Wambugu, F.M., 2014. The Importance of Political Will in Contributions of Agricultural Biotechnology Towards Economic Growth, Food and Nutritional Security in Africa. In Biotechnology in Africa (pp. 1-11). Springer International Publishing.

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