Strategies For Achieving The Global Sustainable

Introduction

Perhaps, there is no single human right violated globally as that of a right to food. According to Kalidas & Dipayan (2018), there are approximately 759 million people in developed and developing countries around the world facing hunger, while around 2 billion others are malnourished because they feed on dietary imbalanced food, thus affecting their healthy lives. In fact, hunger is not only considered one of the greatest risks to human health but also a cause of hopelessness, violence, and displacement of people worldwide. This essay seeks to validate the statement that: “A world without hunger and malnutrition is possible by 2030”. From the sustainable development goal no. 2 (SDG 2) point of view, it will focus on the various measures required to achieve a hunger-free world. In doing so, the first section of the essay will give a historical account of global food security, the progress achieved so far, and the gaps that exist between now and the achievement of SDG 2, the causes of food insecurity, its consequences and finally the measures for achieving a food secure world.

According to Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO, 2015), food security can be defined as a situation where everyone has access to nutritious, safe, and sufficient food that can meet their food preferences and dietary needs to an extent that he or she can sustain a healthy life. Hence, form a household perspective, food security can be construed as the physical and economic access to food and an effective use of that food to enable an efficient functioning of the human body through sufficient nutrient intake (Krishnanand et al, 2018). Thus, due to the important role played by food in the sustainability of human life, it is considered a basic human right that is currently unmet by millions of people globally.

The fight against food insecurity did start recently and has achieved a significant milestone. According to Sarkar (2016), the past 15 years has been characterised by a reduced number of unnourished people because, for example, the 2000-2002 statistics reveal that 15% of the world population were undernourished while recent statistics compiled in 2014-2016 indicate the number to be 11% of the global population. However, if the current rates are not reduced, then it might be difficult to achieve the SDG 2 of zero hunger.

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Existing evidence reveals that food insecurity is not only about the availability of food but also a culmination of other factors that are unique to specific countries. For instance, Daniel (2013) indicate that the failure of some countries to achieve to achieve the millennium development goal (MDG) was contributed by various obstacles such as natural disasters, terrorism and violence, poor weather, and political instability. On the same note, statistics by the United Nations (UN, 2018) indicate that countries in Sub-Saharan Africa face the highest prevalence of food insecurity. Further details of this data indicate that more than 50% of adults in sub-Saharan Africa are under severe of moderate levels of food insecurity while 25% of them face severe levels of the same. As illustrated in the figure below, South Asian countries rank the second in food insecurity where one-quarter of the population face severe or moderate levels of food insecurity while 12% face severe food security.

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Causes of Food Insecurity

Whereas food insecurity is related to but not synonymous to nutrition, determinants of food security and those of nutrition are related (Perez & Segall, 2008). For instance, a household economically unable to access food may fail to buy prescribed medications or seek health services. Yet, for food security to be achieved, households should have unlimited access to nutritious diet and health care services. In turn, access to nutritious diet depends on the economic ability of the households to purchase such food. Nonetheless, a country’s food security and availability is determined by the balance between domestically produced food and imported food minus those that are spoilt, fed to animals or exported. Therefore, marinating a sustainable supply of food worldwide is important for achieving nutrition and food security in households worldwide. Therefore, it is monumental to tackle the challenges associated with climate change, agricultural production and price policies, and political instability together with other challenges that contribute to global food insecurity.

Consequences of Food Insecurity

The dire consequences of household food insecurity surely deserve the attention of both national and global human welfare policymakers through frameworks such as the SDGs. Indeed, according to Oelofse et al (2018), the consequences of household food insecurity range from psychological to biological stressors that may lead to poor social, mental, and even social development of individuals through different perspectives. From a biological perspective, household food insecurity may contribute to poor well-being, and malnutrition (Martin, 2016). A typical depiction of these biological consequences is revealed in the study by Leung et al (2012) which highlighted the way certain low-income populations in the United States had poor dietary quality as a result of food insecurity. According to Leung and colleagues, their study established that the population’s diets were characterized by low intakes of fish, vegetable fruits and grains and this led to increasing their risk of exposure to serious biological conditions such as obesity, diabetes, metabolic syndrome, and even premature death. On the other hand, according to Perez & Pinheiro (2012), psychological effects of food insecurity may range from anxiety and worry; feeling of deprivation, alienation, and exclusion; to poor social or family interactions.

Another major consequence of food insecurity is poor child development. According to Perez & Pinheiro (2012), hildren from a household that faces food insecurity may have their behavioural, social,c emotional and intellectual development affected and this may escalate to more complex problems such as depression or aggressiveness. Qualitative studies by Perez & Pinheiro (2012) also reveal that the effects of household food insecurity are greater than the independent effects of poverty indicators such as parental education and household income. Nonetheless, some major factors influencing the impact of household food insecurity on child development include emotional factors as well as nutritional factors (Bernal et al, 2012).

Failure to achieve SDG 2 will definitely mean that the SDG 3 (good health and well-being) will not be achievable. According to Oelofse et al (2018), household food insecurity has been linked to increased risk of diarrhoea, malaria and leading to increased hospitalization not only in developing countries but also in developed countries such as Brazil. Moreover, research indicates that household food insecurity has an association with a reduced immune system and other inflammatory health complications (Gubert et al, 2016). Research has also linked household food insecurity with other adverse health conditions such as chronic diseases, stinting, and obesity. For instance, research by Rivera et al (2014) conducted in Latin America (i.e. Brazil and Mexico) reveals that household food insecurity was linked to “the double burden of malnutrition” which defines the presence of obese mothers with children who have highly stunted growth within the same house household. Moreover, household food insecurity has been linked to chronic diseases such as diabetes type 2 in countries such as Ecuador and Mexico (Weigel et al 2016, Laraia 2013), a condition related to stress and poor diet quality (Millen et al 2016) as a result of household food insecurity (Laraia, 2013). In the United States, research by Frongillo et al (2014), Perez et al, (2012) and Ross et al (2013) indicates that household food insecurity has been linked with suicidal thoughts and depression among the youth, besides being a major cause of depression among mothers. Yet, Britto (2017) & Ross et al (2013) argues that maternal depression has serious ramifications on children’s emotional, psychosocial, as well as behavioural development.

Household food insecurity has also been associated with poor sleep patterns which affect both mental and physical health. For instance, research by (Jordan et al 2016; Bermudez et al 2016) found a correlation between household food insecurity and poor sleep patterns among income Mexicans and Latinos. Another major consequence of household food insecurity is social disruption which is characterised by social unrest. According to Daniel (2013), the social unrest and massive riots experienced during the 2008 global economic crisis both in developed and developing countries was a typical indicator that food inflations disrupts the social lives of households. Similarly, according to Duggan & Naarajarvi (2015), food insecurity is considered a source of social unrest due to the way it disrupts and causes national disintegration.

Why the World Needs Food Security

While approximately 800 million people are in poor access of adequate food supplies (FAO, 2015), about 2 billion other individuals are facing a lack of micronutrients such as zinc, iodine, and iron (Ramakrishnan, 2002). This happens while other studies (e.g.Imamura et al 2010) have established that obesity as a poor dietary aspect is a major factor in determining the global burden of disease. More worryingly, recent statistics by FAO resulting from their Food Insecurity Experience Scale reveal that 10.8% and 56.5% of individuals are experiencing food-insecure conditions both in developed and developing countries respectively (Smith et al, 2017). Ideally, these statistics indicate that food insecurity is not only a problem in developing countries but also in developed countries. Further analysis by Imamura et al (2010) indicates that a significant number of food insecure individuals have diets containing excess calories and other processed food high in sugar and starch – explaining why most low and middle-income countries are common with cases of chronic diseases, infectious disease and obesity (i.e. the double burden of malnutrition). Hence, there seems to be a big problem in terms of global food insecurity and the problem needs to be addressed both in developing and developed countries.

How to Achieve a Food Secure World
Sustainable Agriculture

Research evidence has shown that promoting sustainable agriculture is an effective way of achieving SDG 2. According to Whitmee et al (2015), sustainable agriculture involves the protection of essential food production resources such a water and soil by reducing agriculture’s carbon footprint and its effects on these resources. Research reveals that agriculture produces more greenhouse gases than any form of transportation. For instance, according to Oelofse et al (2018), large-scale production of cereals and livestock contributes to the massive release of methane as a greenhouse gas. Moreover, an agricultural activity that leads to a decimation of tropical forests leads to the destruction of “carbon sink”, causing the release of carbon (Whitmee et al 2015). To address these challenges, sustainable agricultural food system and practice characterized by both consumption and production should be comprehensively pursued and integrated into the global food security strategy. According to Oelofse et al (2018), this can be achieved by reducing the scarcity of water, soil, and essential plant genetic content together with other important food production inputs that are increasingly growing scarce around the world. To boost the yield of agricultural land, policies such as the Rio+20 are important guidelines as to what should done to achieve non-degraded agricultural land (Oelofse et al, 2018). However, consideration must also be given to the potential benefit of reducing climatic change. That notwithstanding, it is important to consider the on-going scientific efforts to understand the

drivers of land degradation, desertification, and drought. According to Sonnino (2013), achieving this scientific knowledge will play a pivotal role in reducing some of the most prominent causes of global food insecurity i.e. desertification, land degradation, and drought. Strategies for achieving sustainable agriculture can also be supported by enriching latest scientific knowledge with traditional farming knowledge on how to keep achieve sustainable water, soil, land nutrient and pest control through the use of organic fertilizer (Sonnino & Spayde, 2014). Moreover, according to Whitmee et al (2015), national and international food security bodies should embrace integrated decision-making while adopting synergies required for balancing agriculture, climate change, energy and land. In fact, based on the expected change in precipitation, temperatures, and pests as a result of climate change, there is a need for the global community to increasingly invest in food technology and research that enhance sustainable food systems globally (UNEP, 2012). If nations build a resilient food system, enhanced by the adoption of clever strategies such as risk transfer through crop insurance, they will be able to avert future food shortages and ensure that everyone is in access to nutritious food.

Minimizing Food Wastage

Engaging in policy developments that promote and support minimized food waste can help achieve SDG 2. For instance, in developed countries, unconsumed food in households, restaurants, and supermarkets characterize food waste (Whitmee et al 2015). This implies that consumers in these countries are in a position to minimize food waste by adopting proper eating behaviours. Moreover, Oelofse et al (2018) suggest that developing policies that require restaurants and supermarkets to disclose and act against food waste can help reduce food wastage. Contrastingly, in developing/low & middle-income countries, food wastage occurs between farm and the market as a result of poor agricultural practices including poor food distribution system, storage, and transportation (Whitmee et al 2015).
Food recycling can also be a proper strategy for reducing food waste, especially in developing countries. According to Daniel (2013), food left-overs from households, restaurants, and supermarkets can be recycled and converted into compost manure useful in the production of fruits in home or commercial agriculture farms. Consumers can also reduce the proportions of food they consume in their homes or seize to buy foods sold in wastefully large portions. This implies that consumers can apply pressure on commercial food producers to minimize irresponsible food production while on the other hand, reducing food production reduces pressure on producers to supply unsustainably produced food. In developing countries, a major strategy for minimizing food waste/losses is by improving agricultural production systems, food storage and effective food distribution (Whitmee et al 2015). It is also necessary to educate consumers on key aspects of waste minimization such as portion control, besides ensuring that as the countries develop, they do not adopt the poor eating behaviours practiced in developed countries. In short, reducing food wastage can be achieved by campaigning and promoting a change in daily actions when cooking and choosing food. People can plan their meals and prepare a food purchase list to ensure that only the needed food quantity is bought. This not only avoids food wastage but also helps to save money. Equally, making small changes in the kitchen not only promotes healthy and nutritious recipes but also reduces hunger by reducing food wastage.

Developing Effective Food Policies

Achieving food security also entails developing nutrition policies that address unaffordable food prices and eliminates consumption of highly processed food with low nutritional value. According to Daniel (2013), removing the subsidies that favour the production of low nutritional value foods will ensure that such foods are not produced at the expense of high nutritional value food. For SDG 2 to be achieved, governments must unanimously accept to develop policies and legislation that not only promote the production and consumption of high-value food product but also promote effective practices such as food labelling, within the agricultural value chain. According to Daniel (2013), such moves will not only provide appropriate nutritional value information to consumers but also help in identifying the carbon footprint of food production to allow for the enforcement of sustainable agriculture.
Another policy development effective in enhancing food security is promoting gender balance and women empowerment especially in countries facing the problem of gender inequality. Viljoen & Wiskerke (2012) argue in developing countries, up to 40% of agricultural workforce comprises of women who hold heavy responsibilities of farm and household leadership in rural areas. They make a significant contribution to healthier diets, sustainable food production systems (Sage, 2013) and therefore providing them with equal access to health and education, financial support, food production advisory and productive resources can help amplify their role in promoting household food security.
In conclusion, this paper has identified three major strategies for achieving global food security and subsequently the SDG 2. The first strategy is sustainable agriculture which helps in reducing the scarcity of water, soil, and essential plant genetic content together with other important food production inputs that are increasingly growing scarce around the world. The second strategy is reducing food waste through food recycling, adopting proper eating behaviours and improving agricultural production systems, food storage, and effective food distribution. Whereas these strategies may have not been exhaustively evaluated, the information herein gives a hint of the steps that can be taken towards the direction of a more food secure world.

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