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Food security. Between these two articles (the UNEP report and Sanchez), we can see a split in the causes of food insecurity between practical issues of food production and the structural policies which allow for (or hinder) the necessary framework to im

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Many countries around the world today face a challenge of food security. It is considered by many to be the leading problem for developing and wealthy nations alike. But what is its cause? And how can we understand food security on a global scale, so that our solutions encompass the truly globalized markets that drive agriculture and food industries around the world? Recent statistics suggest that food security is not merely a problem in poor and developing countries, but a concern for all nations. Therefore, addressing the problem of food security is really addressing a universal issue, especially if one imagines the Earth's limited space suitable for agriculture as a fixed resource. This space, which has expanded in the last century due to technological advances in irrigation and genetically modified plants, is rapidly reaching it's peak. Consequently, when we discuss ways in which to improve food output for the world's population, we are speaking primarily in matters of efficiency, rather than expansion. According to a study by the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP): Food energy efficiency is our ability to minimize the loss of energy in food from harvest potential through processing to actual consumption and recycling. ...read more.


UN reports (as of 2008)suggest that currently 92% of the worlds population has an adequate water supply, compared to just 62% projected for 2025. Tim Lang, writing for The Ecologist, extrapolates this issue further suggesting that: Embedded water is likely to be as or more important a measure of sustainability as food miles or CO2 emissions. FOr instance, 1kg of grain-fed beef takes 15 cubic metres of water and 1kg of grass-fed lamb needs 10 cub metres, while 1kg of cereals needs only 0.4-3 cubic metres. Buy imported food and you're buying someone else's water. Each Kenyan green bean stem is equivalent to four litres of water - and this from an officially water-stressed country. Buying this way is a new colonialism (33). Lang goes on to dissect the world's working population, pointing to the increasing urbanization of the workforce and begging the question, where will our farm labour come from in the future if our populations are moving to the city? Lang is concerned with global hunger issues, but he is particularly aware of discrepancies between the wealthiest nations and those that struggle to feed themselves. For Lang, the solution is not only in the practice of farming, but in the behavior and habits of consumers (specifically in wealthy developed countries). ...read more.


This includes reorganizing the food market infrastructure and institutions to regulate food prices and provide food safety nets aimed at alleviating the impacts of rising food prices and food shortage, including both direct and indirect transfers, such as a global fund to support micro-finance to boost small-scale farmer productivity. (Smil, 8) This proposal points again to the importance of small-scale operations in the wider fight against food insecurity, as well as acknowledging the need for financial support for farming in developing nations. The link between micro-finance and sustainable practices is a direct one, but only when combined with the government policies outlined by Sanchez and Swaminathan can such micro-finance programs truly become effective. The necessary political stability must be present in order for financial accountability to take effect. This accountability will be crucial in securing micro-finance investors, who must be certain that money lent for sustainable agricultural practices will indeed be spent in that fashion. Therefore, the the ultimate solution to food insecurity will be a combination of policy change combined with innovative and sustainable practices. One must support the other, and vice versa, if the problem of world hunger is to be taken on. ...read more.

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