Food insecurity and how we can stop it


posted on: August 2nd, 2018

Food security refers to the access that people have to food sources, or their ability to use these food sources. It is the availability of adequate food supplies in the entire world or a region, and usually looks into the supply of food that exists. Food security exists when all the people in a region or household have access to sources of food, and there is no risk or a very low risk of lack of food availability. On the other hand, food insecurity is a big issue because there is a threat that the people in that region may not have appropriate access to adequate food supplies either in present-day, or in the future. Food insecurity can be due to various reasons such as low yield of produce because of drought, or political instability leading to reduced access despite having enough food. It can also be because of climate change leading to changes in conditions due to which produce does not grow well enough for consumption.


In 2015, 153 million people in Sub-Saharan Africa suffered from severe food insecurity, showing that 26% of the population in the region did not have proper access to food. During times of food insecurity, it has been visible that the most affected by this are mothers and young children. This makes it harder for mothers to give birth to healthy babies, puts the babies at risk of underdevelopment and increases the chances of the baby to suffer from malnourishment. It is important to note, however, that undernourishment has reduced in Africa from 28.1% in 2000 to 20.8% in 2015, showing that the continent is on the right path to reducing this issue.


One of the key reasons for food insecurity is the high levels of poverty. So, the easiest and most obvious way to tackle food insecurity is by reducing poverty levels. It is impressive to see that the average income increased by 30% in Africa, between 2009 and 2014, an extremely good indicator that Africa is on it’s way to reducing food insecurity. It is also necessary to remember that the reason for high poverty levels and subsequently food insecurity is mainly because of the climate: due to unstable environmental conditions such as drought, it becomes difficult to reduce food insecurity completely.

Policy reforms have been increasing over the years with governments of countries such as Nigera and Ghana changing their policies so as to increase the ability of food security to be a reality. Another such way in which it can be reduced it by encouraging intra-Africa trade which allows for better political relations as well as adequate distribution of resources. With the rising importance of the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN, it is possible to see how food insecurity is an issue that can be stopped.


As mentioned, one of the methods to reducing the prevalence of food insecurity is by encouraging more trading between countries in Africa. This directly impacts the economy because by allowing for free trade and no trade barriers, there is a guaranteed free flow of food supply between African countries. This means that political ties will improve while also benefiting the economies of countries in the continent. This increased level of governance and high-level of leadership will benefit societies as well as the economies in Africa as they become more stable. It also encourages public-private partnerships, allowing for the private sector in a country to interact with the civil society such as being done in Ghana. By working towards an issue on such a large scale, it is possible to see how the governance in a country becomes stronger, allowing for more economic and political ties to improve. With agreeing to comply with certain initiatives such as the Food and Nutrition Strategy, it is possible to see how economies and governments work together to eradicate the issue of food insecurity.


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