Chief amongst the challenges society faces is food security. Food security entails food stability, access, and availability, which remains a global challenge especially for the poor (Gustafson). People rely on agriculture, which is under threat from climatic changes and water shortages. The price of food and popular culture also have a role to play in food insecurity. Although efforts have been made to ensure that food is available, there remain challenges that derail such efforts. Problems like food prices, climate change, dwindling water sources, and popular culture hamper the realization of food security.
High food prices hamper food access and quality. The high cost of food affects households, particularly the poor. According to Gustafson, poor households spend more on food compared to the wealthy. Therefore, any changes in price, however slight, have devastating effects on their ability to access food. Unfortunately, price volatility is a norm in food production with catastrophic outcomes. Notably, the poor also have an unbalanced diet because of the cost. Most of the households buy cereals, carbohydrates, and can hardly afford other food groups. Equally, they buy generic and low-quality foods to cope because they are cheaper (Mkhawani, Motadi, Mabapa, Mbhenyane, and Blaauw). In many instances, these food options have little nutritional value, but it is argued that it is far better than being hungry. Equally, households skip meals. In some households, members forego lunches and eat supper leftovers for breakfast. Another tactic used by families is adding a lot of soup to food to increase their serving. Henceforth, members will have a substantial portion of food even though most of it is soup, which is not very nutritional. There are also instances of parents adding too much salt to make it unappealing to children. Over-salting is a common strategy in poor households that have many children. Households, particularly poor ones, are affected by high prices of food that result in low-quality food and inaccessibility.
Similarly, climate change substantially contributes to the food security challenge. Droughts limit food access. Notably, droughts harm the growth of cereals and legumes (Wang, Daryanto, and Jacinthe). Due to drought, important crops like legumes, which have increased in popularity as an alternative source of protein, has reduced. With drought in high-producing countries, not only is the state affected by the shortage but so is the globe. Drought limits the export of these legumes to other parts of the world, meaning that there will be a limited supply for the citizens of the foreign countries. In addition to legumes, staple foods like cereals are declining in quantity because of the high temperatures. Quality of the crops also suffers from climatic change. Unfavorable climatic conditions, make it impossible for crops to enjoy the optimum conditions that would produce high-quality yields. Consequently, the crops are not only fewer but not as good and nutritious. Climate instability not only affects the crops but the strategies to combat food shortage. Governments and individuals are unable to make reliable precautions in times of drought because the weather pattern is unpredictable. In many cases, people end up with less than what was anticipated because the rains my delay to fall or their pattern affect crop growth. Climate change affects the quality and quantity of food and hinders proper response strategy to food shortage.
Correspondingly, water shortage inhibits food production. Agriculture heavily relies on rainwater and water bodies to grow crops and keep animals. Dwindling water resources, however, threaten agriculture. Due to climate change, water reserves in glaciers are melting, leaving rivers dry during the drought season. Glaciers serve a critical role in storing water and feeding rivers when there is little rainfall. Already, the glaciers of the Himalayas and Tibetan Plateau have melted (Brown). Comparatively, the Indus, Ganges, and Yellow river basins lack water, yet these locations are prime agricultural lands. In effect, food production declined. Rainwater has also become unreliable because the quantity of rain required in agricultural areas hardly reaches the mark. Groundwater water sources, which are now being used for production, are quickly disappearing because rainfall does not replenish them adequately yet large volumes of water are used daily. Since the catchment areas are disappearing, it is likely that drought will ensue, leading to food shortage. Water shortage, caused by climatic change and agricultural practices, would result in food shortage.
Population growth has resulted in food security challenges. The current world population is 7.7 billion. The high number has stretched the world’s resources, contributing to food insecurity. It is estimated that it would take approximately five times the earth’s present resources to feed the current global population (“Population Growth and Food Insecurity”). By 2050, food production should increase by 70% to meet the demands. Unfortunately, this booming population, which is competing for the same resources used in production, may not have this food. More people means more demand, yet resources are dwindling. Little land will be available for farming and water may not be adequate. Other than the two factors, climate change may worsen if the problem is not tackled adequately. Population growth presents a challenge because will utilize the earth’s scarce resources and degrades the quality of the environment, which would result in acute food shortage.
Notably, popular culture is a challenge to food security. The rise of emerging economies has shifted the dietary needs of people globally. More than 3 billion people have adopted westernized foods (Brown). In effect, more people are consuming grains and animal products. As the demand for these products increase, so does the likelihood of a shortage in supply and affordability. As people demand these foods, so do their prices. Hence, not many households can afford to purchase these items. The traditional staples, as grains, fruits, and vegetables are called, are no longer affordable to people, making them switch to cheaper and less nutritious alternatives. Part of the options is junk foods, which are high in fats, salt, and sugars (Vidal). Although easily accessible, they severely lack the essential nutrients needed for human survival. Equally, people demand beneficial plant-based nutrients. The desire to be healthier has added pressure to farmers, who should feed the masses. However, climatic changes inhibit the immediate supply of these foods. Popular culture has resulted in a shift to junk foods, and demand, pricey food, and demand that farmers cannot meet effectively.
Challenges like food prices, climate change, dwindling water sources, and popular culture hamper the realization of food security. Food prices, especially affect the poor, who cannot afford decent meals. Similarly, climate change results in unpredictable patterns that impact the quality and quantity of food. It is also impossible to make contingency plans. Water, the backbone of agriculture, is unfortunately under threat. Comparatively, popular culture has created a demand for food whose supply is short. Food security at the domestic, national, and global level is hard to attain with the existing challenges.
“Population Growth and Food Insecurity.” Population Connection, 2019, https://www.populationconnection.org/article/population-growth-food-insecurity/
Brown, Lester. “Global Food Security: 10 Challenges.” The Globalist, 2013, https://www.theglobalist.com/global-food-security-10-challenges/
Daryanto Stefani, Lixin Wang, and Pierre Andre Jacinthe. “Global Synthesis of Drought Effects on Food Legume Production.” PLoS ONE 10(6), 2015, https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0127401
Gustafson, Daniel J. “Rising food costs & global food security: key issues & relevance for India.” The Indian journal of medical research 138 (3), 2013, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3818609/
Mkhawani, Khataza, Selekane A. Motadi, N. S. Mabapa, Xikombiso G. Mbhenyane, and Renne Blaauw. “Effects of rising food prices on household food security on femaleheaded households in Runnymede Village, Mopani District, South Africa.” South African Journal of Clinical Nutrition 29 (2), 2016, https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/16070658.2016.1216504
Vidal, John. “Global food crisis triggered cultural shift towards junk food, say researchers.” The Guardian, 2016, https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2016/sep/09/global-food-crisis-cultural-shift-junk-food-researchers-oxfam-ids