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Food Security

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Last updated date: 23rd Apr 2024
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An Introduction to Food Security

Whenever we talk about the three basic needs any human is entitled to, we generally tend to put more emphasis on the aspect of food and water, followed by shelter and clothes. What if one is not able to access the first of these three basic needs for sustenance? How do they survive? Keeping these questions in mind, any functional society ought to provide the security of food to its individuals. This is what is known as Food Security. It refers to the provision of food to all individuals regardless of their social backgrounds.


Food Security Meaning

From its definition, food security can be considered a basic and omnipresent feature of any society. Any given society is driven by the efforts of its individuals, and therefore, food security is an absolute necessity for society’s sustenance. However, the practice of food security is also driven by the economic order a society tends to follow.


The economic characteristic of food security is that it largely depends on an individual’s income. A person whose income satisfies all of his necessities in day-to-day life without any disruption will naturally experience larger accessibility of food and security than those who suffer to make ends meet. Therefore, it can easily be stated that the distribution of food security and nutrition among individuals in a country varies according to their economic statuses.


Agriculture and Food Security

Since food security is largely dependent on the agricultural practices of a country, agricultural practices must be taken care of in the first place. Therefore, the program of Agriculture and Food Security exists to support agricultural production for farmers. This is one of the Food Security programs that exist to support agricultural enhancements by offering innovative ways of production to farmers across the globe. 


Since malnutrition is one of the major problems that result from economic equalities among societies, this program under the practice of Global Food Security is meant to improve the nutrition of those who are affected. Therefore, the primary food security mission it follows is to support small farmers across the globe to offer them more beneficial ways of agricultural production to improve their nutrition along with their incomes. 


The government of India has also launched a similar programme to improve the provision of food and security to farmers of India. It is known as the National Food Security Mission, launched in 2007. The purpose and objective of this programme are similar to that of agriculture and food security.


Factors affecting Food Security

The food security of many people across countries is affected due to several factors, along with differences in economic standards. These factors are directly in control of the type and the quantity of food produced. These factors are:

  • Climate Change and Global Warming

  • Scarcity of land for farming

  • Technological barriers

  • Inadequate supply of water for irrigation

  • Poverty


Therefore, due to these factors, the aspect of food security gets affected in several countries, like India, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Bangladesh, etc. As a result of these factors, several disruptions take place. One such disruption is called Food Insecurity. 


Food Insecurity Meaning

Food Insecurity, as the name suggests, is a disruption in the security of food and health among people. Food Insecurity exists whenever the eating patterns and food intake among individuals result in harmful outcomes. As stated earlier, food security among individuals is largely dependent on their economic statuses. Likewise, one of the main causes of food insecurity among people is also related to their economic standards.


The aspect of unemployment among societies can be considered the key economic cause for food insecurity. Due to a lack of money and other resources, several people cannot afford meals for survival. This is especially evident in developing countries like India where a significant portion of the population is poverty-stricken. Since they lack food security, they are often malnourished and live a dysfunctional lifestyle. That brings us to the effects of food insecurity among people.


Due to the growing population, food insecurity is becoming more prevalent among people of the world. As a result, the effects of food insecurity are preventing countries from maintaining proper socio-economic order. One of the major effects of food insecurity lies with the health of impoverished children. Malnutrition is a common sight among these children which leads to diseases such as anemia and increases levels of aggression and anxiety.


Did You know?

  • The Global Food Security Index ranks 113 countries according to their annual provision of security in terms of food and nutrition. 

  • October 16 is celebrated as World Food Security Day.

  • India’s food security site. It provides all the information regarding the implementation of NFSA 2013. 


Talking about food security, it is an extension of one of the basic rights stated in the Indian Constitution. Food security is integral to human rights in any nation. So, it should be ensured by the government with the utmost importance. 


Here we are going to read about certain points which are :


Food Availability

Food Availability is the supply of food of appropriate quantity. It may be due to self-production or imports also.


Food Access

Food Access is the access of every individual to food resources. So that every individual gets a nutrition diet.


Food Security: An Overview 

The concept of food security has become famous in today's world. Food security is generally the making of policy for the better preservation and distribution of food. The term food security got fame in 1974 when World Food Conference defined food security in the terms of assuring the availability of food to every person and stability of price so that every individual can get better food Access. In 1983, FAO focused on food Access to every individual. It said in its statement that Every individual should have access to the basic food items which they need for a better lifestyle.


In 1986, the famous World Bank Report on Poverty and Hunger focused on food insecurity. The points of this report were complemented by Sen's theory of famine in 1981. It highlighted the effect of food Access.


The World Food Summit of 1996 reinforced the concept of food security and food access. It also reinforced the concepts of food Availability and food stability. 


Nowadays food and food security have emerged as the topic of human rights. The right to food emerged as the new concept in the World. The first body which recognised it was the United Nations. The UN declaration of human rights in 1948 recognised this concept. In 1996, the formal adoption of Right to Adequate Food acquired a milestone. It pointed to the method to consider food security as a human right. Currently, in more than 40 countries food security is considered a human right. According to FAO, the right to food is a subject of the judiciary in more than 54 countries around the world.


About 850 million people are undernourished around the globe. At present,  many countries in the world are experiencing serious food issues and they require a better approach and external help to tackle this problem. Over the previous few decades, the problem of food emergencies emerged as a serious topic.


Food security is a basic human right. Having access to at least an adequate amount of nutritious food could be seen as the most basic of all human rights.


For hundreds of years, everyone was unable to tackle this global issue. In this article we are going to discuss why this is happening, what are its impacts and 


What are the Different Levels of Food Security?

The concept of food security can be divided into four levels:

Availability - It is simply the existence of food within a community. This is closely linked to the efficiency of food production and food import. Availability of food is not possible if there are not enough resources available for that,  for example, if there is no availability of water and irrigation then production of food would be difficult.

Access - Food access is simply the access of any individual to the food. Food access is that every individual who requires a nutritious diet will be able to fulfill his needs. True food accessibility will be when even the poor of society have access to it. Accessibility of food can be affected by social and political issues.

Factors such as geographical conditions and pricing can seriously affect food accessibility.

Utilization - Food security and utilization do not include food in their definition. But it includes nutritious food. The food for every individual should be of good quality. It is most important that food should be healthy enough so that every individual can get enough nutrients from it.

Stability - Good food stability includes the factors of food access, availability and utilization. It can be said as the condition where all of the three other conditions should be fulfilled. Stability is defined as the easy access and availability of food to every individual. Less stability of food can be disastrous in society.

FAQs on Food Security

1. Write in Brief about India’s Green Revolution?

The Green Revolution of India was led by M.S. Swaminathan after India’s independence. It was a massively successful initiative which helped the economy and agricultural production of India in many ways. Through the initiative of the Green revolution, newer and more advanced agricultural practices began in India. After years of British rule, the economy of India reached a new low and through this revolution, the economy strengthened by a large scale. It helped Indian farmers to grow their own crops for selling and consumption instead of being dependent on foreign exports. Therefore, this revolution brought about massive agricultural changes and improvements.

2. How Do Pesticides Damage the Environment?

Although pesticides are great for the protection of crops and vegetables from pests and insects, pesticides are often harmful to the environment. Since pesticides contain chemicals to kill pests and bugs on crops, the chemicals are harmful to human health. Therefore, whenever these pesticides get washed down by the rain, they pollute the water bodies such as rivers, lakes and ponds. As a result, marine life gets affected due to these pollutants which often enter human bodies due to the consumption of fish and other aquatic beings. Pesticides also kill useful insects under the soil which are beneficial for agricultural practices.

3. How is food security measured?

The methods to measure food security are : 

1. Estimating calories per capita 

2. Calculation of Household income and expenditure surveys

3. Measurement of  individual’s dietary intake

4. Measurement of individual’s height, weight and body composition

5. Reports of individual’s experience of food security

4. What is food Availability?

Availability - It is simply the existence of food within a community. This is closely linked to the efficiency of food production and food import. Availability of food is not possible if there are not enough resources available for that,  for example, if there is no availability of water and irrigation then production of food would be difficult.

5. How does the concept of food security emerge in Today's world?

The concept of food security has become famous in today's world. Food security is generally the making of policy for the better preservation and distribution of food. The term food security got fame in 1974 when World Food Conference defined food security in the terms of assuring the availability of food to every person and stability of price so that every individual can get better food Access. In 1983, FAO focused on food Access to every individual. It said in its statement that Every individual should have access to the basic food items which they need for a better lifestyle.


In 1986, the famous World Bank Report on Poverty and Hunger focused on food insecurity. The points of this report were complemented by Sen's theory of famine in 1981. It highlighted the effect of food Access.


The World Food Summit of 1996 reinforced the concept of food security and food access. It also reinforced the concepts of food Availability and food stability.