What are the important challenges facing the world’s food producing systems Essay

What are the important challenges facing the world’s food producing systems:

Introduction:

Food insecurity has been a major issue that in debate in the world today, food insecurity is a situation where individuals in which individuals in the society live in fear of starvation or the lack of food, however food security can only be achieved if the food production systems produce efficiently and produce enough to meet the needs of the population.

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According to the food and agriculture organization (FAO) report in 2003 over 2 billion people in the world face the problem of food insecurity, and that 850 million people all over the world face food insecurity due to poverty.[1]

Agriculture is one of the major providers of food in the world but it faced with major problems that hinder optimal production of food, other sectors that aid in production of food is wildlife and fishing, however fishing is faced by other problems such as oil spills while wildlife is protected by many governments and hunting for food today is termed as poaching.

This paper analysis each of the food producing systems and the problems faced by each, it also analysis the future of food security in regards to each food producing systems, it also gives recommendations to problem faced by this systems.

AGRICULTURE:

Agriculture especially farming produces the largest percentage of food supply in the world, however it is faced with many problems that hinder the optimal production of food, and these issues include soil erosion, environmental degradation through soil pollution due to extensive use of fertilizers and chemicals.

However despite developing and underdeveloped countries having their economy based on agriculture, they are the most hit by the food security problem, the diagram below summarizes the food insecurity problem in developing countries and how various factors have led to the problem and the consequences of this is famine.

The agricultural food problem in developing countries can be summarized by the diagram below:

However other problems that face agriculture include:

         Soil degradation:

Soil degradation is caused by the use of chemical fertilizers for a long period of time, these results to reducing the level of macro organism that help maintain soil fertility, therefore it is recommended that the use of organic fertilizers should be adopted which will help maintain soil fertility for a long period of time.

The other factor that has led to soil degradation is the use of herbicides and pesticides, the use of such chemicals will result in the pollution of soil and at the same time pollution of underground water, however there has been efforts to seize the sale of herbicides and pesticides whose environmental impacts exceeds the environmental holding capacity.

Climate changes and global warming:

            Global warming and climate changes have affected the food production of the agricultural sector, the decline in rainfall throughout the year and changes in rainy seasons has led to the problem of low agricultural production, many countries depend on the rainy seasons for agriculture, many farmers have experienced a decline in their production in agriculture when rain fails or high temperatures that reduce soil moisture and at the same time destroy plants.

            Therefore there is need to introduce farming based on irrigation which will aid in production of agricultural food throughout the year, this will entail building up dams that will act as reservoirs of water which will be used during the dry season.

Fossil oil prices:

Agricultural depends in a large extent on fossil fuels, a rise in the price of these fossil; fuels will result into an increase in the cost of production of these products which may lead to a reducing the purchasing power of the population, agriculture depends on fuel during transportation and mechanized tillage of land and also the inputs used in agriculture depend on fossil fuels, therefore the inflationary pressure caused by an increase in the price levels of fuels will contribute to the problem of food insecurity.

ANIMAL FARMING AS A SOURCE OF FOOD:

Domestic animals are also a source of food which can be utilized for the purpose of attaining food security in the world, however there has been an increase in the occurrence of draught, disease outbreaks and the lack of hybrid animals.

Disease outbreaks:

Disease outbreaks such as SARS which affected bird led to a great reduction in the animals reared for food production, when disease outbreaks occur the government orders the slaughter of all animals which discourages farmers and also lead to a great loss in the worlds food reserves an example of this is SARS which originated in Asia, the rift valley fever which restricted Kenyans from taking beef from infected animals, all sick animals were slaughtered or burnt.

Draught:

Desertification and lack of rain in many parts of the world due to deforestation have led to a reduction in the number of animals used as sources of food, many regions in the world that experience very dry seasons rear cattle and other animals and when such draughts occur the animals die of hunger and thirst and these has contributed to the problem of food insecurity all over the world.

Desertification:

Desertification has also contributed the to the problem of food insecurity in the world, there has been an increase in the area covered by deserts and this is what is referred to as desertification, desertification reduces the area of land that is arable and therefore reducing the level of agriculture land and agricultural production.

Lack of hybrid animals:

Many developing countries lack the research and technology to provide hybrid animals that are more productive than the local breeds, many developing countries have animals that are not productive and therefore there is need to have hybrid animals that produce more than the local breeds.

FISHING AS A SOURCE OF FOOD:

Fish is also a source of food in the world, fishing however faces a lot of problems which include oil spills and international boundary disputes, oil spills have led to the death of a lot of fish and other sea food sources below is the analysis of each problem regarding fish and other marine species as sources of food.[2]

Oil spills:

Tin the recent past there has been a lot of incidences of oil spills, when oil spills occur they reduce the oxygen levels in seas and this results into the death of many marine species that are used as food sources, the other major factor that affects marine life is oil spills caused by  deep sea oil drilling, many oil producing countries have oil drills located in seas and during these process some of the oil links into the seas causing the death of many marine species that are used as food sources, therefore through the above problem the amount of fish and marine life that can be used as food is reduced.

Pollution:

Many of industrial wastes are released into rivers that drain into seas and lakes; the water pollution caused by farming activities and industries results into a reduction in the level of food source from these lakes and seas, therefore there is a need to regulate pollutants that lead to water pollution through government policies.

                       The lack of refrigerating technology:

Many countries could utilize the fish as sources of food but another problem is the lack of refrigerating facilities, fish is perishable and cannot be transported for long distances without getting stale and therefore there is need to keep the fish under refrigeration in order to be fresh when it reaches the consumer.

The lack of facilities and technology therefore has led to the underutilization of seas and lakes as sources of food, therefore there is need to invest in such equipments or even use traditional methods of preservation which include smoking and drying.

          Territorial disputes:

The other problem facing fishing as a source of food is international boundary disputes, many countries are capable of deep sea fishing where there is a large variety and plenty of fish, an example is Japan which is more advanced in equipments, however disputes regarding international sea boundaries have hindered fish harvesting in these area and this has also contributed to the food insecurity problem.

WILDLIFE AND FORESTS AS SOURCE OF FOOD:

Wildlife is also another source of food, however governments have protected their wildlife reserves for the purpose of tourism industries and at the same time to prevent some wildlife species from extinction, the protection of wildlife as a source of food is also meant to maintain ecological balances in the parks and game reserves, example if we were to hunt for all the edible species of the wild then lions and cheetahs would have nothing to hunt and therefore this will destabilize the ecological balance.

Forests are also protected by the governments due the fact that they help in maintaining the ecological balance of the environment in terms of maintaining climatically changes, however the forest have rapidly diminished over the years due to human activity, fires and pest infections.[3]

Human activity:

Logging has led to diminishing the forests that could have alternatively been used as food sources, for this reason the forests are no longer sources of food and governments have enclosed these forests for the purpose of environmental preservation. Human settlement and agriculture has led to clearing of forests for in order to extending land for agriculture or settlement.

Fires:

Fires have destroyed large portions of forests and therefore the forest cover all over the world have diminished the area covered by forests, the diminishing forests also have contributed to the reduction in bio diversity including animals that could have been used as a food source.

Pest infection:

Pest infection has also claimed a large portion of our forests in the world, pest have damaged forests and therefore decreasing the percentage of forest cover in the world, as a result of this forest as a source of food has become unreliable due to pest infection.

Despite the various problems facing our food sources in the world there are still possible solution toward attaining food security in the world, below are the main plans of actions that should be undertaken to achieve the food security objective:

Aforestation and reforestation:

Forests are renewable resources and therefore actions such as reforestation and a forestation can be undertaken in order to increase the levels of biodiversity in the world and therefore increase the level of food supply in the world.

Agriculture practices:

Countries should invest in research and development; there is also a need to mechanize farming which will aid in increasing the levels of production in the agricultural sector, the other issue that should be addressed is the use of organic fertilizers and manure in farming processes other than the use of chemical fertilizers that lead to soil degradation. There shoal also be increased use of irrigation techniques in farming in order for these system to produce food throughout the year, the reforestation and aforestation measures will also help in restoring the environment and climates of regions.

Fishing:

There should be increased precaution toward oil spills, also their should be the introduction of fish farming and also the introduction of fish in the rivers where fish previously did not exist, another problem that should be addressed is the issue of pollution which reduces sea and river water bio diversity, heavy fines should be imposed on those who dispose off waste in dams, rivers, lakes and into the sea.

All the above actions will be geared towards improving food security levels in our country, there is need to improve the environment in order to realize food security in the world, government should also strategize on the storing of food products in years when there is plenty and in turn distributing the food when there is famine in these countries, communities that are worst hit by famine and food insecurity should be trained on ways in which they could provide plenty of food to satisfy their needs.

Conclusion:

Food insecurity is a situation where individuals in the society live in fear of starvation or the lack of food; however food security can only be achieved if the food production systems produce efficiently and produce enough to meet the needs of the population.

Agriculture is one of the major providers of food in the world but it faced with major problems that hinder optimal production of food, other sectors that aid in production of food is wildlife and fishing, however fishing is faced by other problems such as oil spills while wildlife is protected by many governments and hunting for food today is termed as poaching.

Food security can be attained through proper policies that gear economies and individuals in the world to attain the objective of food security, many individuals in the world face the problem of food insecurity, however this is caused by the fact that there exist many problems facing systems of food production which include agriculture, fishing, forests, wildlife and rearing domestic animals which are meant for food.

All this food producing systems need strategies that will aid in promoting food securities all over the world, but most importantly the environment supports all these systems and therefore the first priority will be preserve the environment which will in turn provide a conducive climate and resources that will aid in achieving food security.

Governments are responsible for policy making and therefore they should formulate policies that aid in achieving food security, there should also be introduction and adoption of technology into the various food producing sectors to increase productivity in these sectors.

Communities that are worst hit by famine and food insecurity should be trained on ways in which they could provide plenty of food to satisfy their needs. Reforestation and aforestation measures will also help in restoring the environment which will in turn improve the climate of regions and reduces desertification.

References:

Wikipedia the free encyclopedia (2007) food insecurity, retrieved on 30th July, available at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Food_security

Food and agriculture organization of the United Nations (2007) food insecurity and poverty in the world, retrieved on 31st July, available at www.fao.org/es/ess/faostat/foodsecurity/index_en.htm

Mayers J and Stephen Bass (2004) Forests and People: Real Prospects for Governance and Livelihoods, McGraw hill press, US

The sea web (2007) problem facing the sea today, retrieved on 31ST July, available at www.seaweb.org/oceanvoices/danielpauly.php

[1] www.fao.org/es/ess/faostat/foodsecurity/index_en.htm
[2] www.seaweb.org/oceanvoices/danielpauly.php

[3] Mayers J and Stephen Bass (2004) Forests and People: Real Prospects for Governance and Livelihoods, McGraw hill press, US