News By/Courtesy: Ritwik Guha Mustafi | 08 Apr 2020 9:52am IST


  • Food security depends majorly on the availability and affordability of food
  • Food security is often linked with poverty
  • Efficient utilization of resources and reducing food waste can improve global food security

Food security is a measure of the availability of food and individuals' ability to access it. Affordability is only one factor. There is evidence of food security being a concern many thousands of years ago, with central authorities in ancient China and ancient Egypt being known to release food from storage in times of famine. At the 1974 World Food Conference, the term "food security" was defined with an emphasis on supply. They said food security is the "availability at all times of adequate, nourishing, diverse, balanced and moderate world food supplies of basic foodstuffs to sustain a steady expansion of food consumption and to offset fluctuations in production and prices [1]. Put more simply, families are able to afford and obtain enough nutritious food. A family is food secure when its members do not live in hunger or fear of hunger [2].  Both in the United States and in developing nations, food insecurity is often linked to poverty. Shifts in the global economy, including rises in global food and oil prices, can affect food security throughout the world, with especially severe effects in low-income countries [3].

The 1996 World Summit on Food Security declared that "food should not be used as an instrument for political and economic pressure [4]. Food security can be measured by calorie to intake per person per day, available on a household budget [5]. The World Health Organization defines three main aspects of food security. The first is food availability on a consistent basis and this may come through import-export. The second aspect is food access, having sufficient resources to obtain appropriate foods for a nutritious diet. The final aspect of food security is known as food utilization, or consuming a nutritious diet. This means that people make appropriate use of food, based on knowledge of basic nutrition and care, and have access to water and sanitation for preparing food and maintaining proper hygiene [6]. 

The Challenge of Change Commission has identified some major challenges in the way of achieivng global securiy [7]: 

  • Rising population.
  • Changes iin income and changes in diets.
  • Falling watertables.
  • Slowing irrigation.
  • Climate change.

Looking at food security globally, the number of people experiencing food insecurity in the United States and other developed nations makes up only about two percent of the global total. The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) states that 925 million people in the world are undernourished. The largest percentage of undernourished people live in Asia and the Pacific Islands, followed by Sub-Saharan Africa [8].

Efficient utilization of fertilizers, closing the yeild gap, using less water-consuming plants and improving irrigation techinques, growing crops with the aim of direct consumption, and reducing food waste are some of the ways to tackle the problem of global food insecurity [9].


1.) Food and Agriculture Organization, Food Security: Concepts and Measurement, UNITED NATIONS (April 8, 2020, 11:04 A.M.),

2.) U.S. Agency for International Development, Agriculture and Food Security, USAID (April 8, 2020, 11:06 A.M.),

3.) Stacy Rosen & Shahla Shapouri, Global Economic Crisis Threatens Food Security in Lower Income Countries, UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE (April 8, 2020, 11:10 A.M.),

4.) Food and Agricultural Organization, Rome Declaration on World Food Security, WORLD FOOD SUMMIT (April 8, 2020, 11:12 A.M.),

5.) Patrick Webb et al. , Measuring Household Food Insecurity: Why It's So Important and Yet So Difficult to Do, 5 The Journal of Nutrition 136 (2006).

6.) Peace Corps, Global issues: Food Security, PEACE CORPS (April 8, 2020, 11:16 A.M.),

7.) Lester Brown, Global Food Security: 10 Challenges, THE GLOBALIST (April 8, 2020, 11:18 A.M.),

8.) Food and Agriculture Organization of the United States, The state of food security and nutrition in the world, FAO (April 8, 2020, 11:22 A.M.),

9.) Manon Verchot, 5 Ways to improve global food security, TREEHUGGER (April 8, 2020, 11:24 A.M.),

Section Editor: Pushpit Singh | 08 Apr 2020 17:27pm IST

Tags : Global, food, security, poverty, efficient, utilization, food, waste

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