Global Food Security in the 21st Century
Food crisis has remained a global issue in the face of the worlds souring population, natural resources degradation, global warming and climatic change. In the 21st century, the global food crisis has attracted even more the attention from researchers and governments. The researchers are particularly concerned with how the world will feed the nine billion people in 2050. The population growth rate, coupled with the global climatic change, is likely to make the daily bread not only expensive, but also unavailable. Evans Fraser is one of the researchers who have attempted to offer solutions to sustainable farming.
Fraser’s research has revolves on global environment, food security, land use and economic change. According to Fraser (2013), in order to feed the 9 billion people, the globe need adapt accordingly to the changes in the economy and climate. The appropriate adaptation strategy would be creating a food system that adequately feeds the 9 billion people without compromising the vital ecosystems such as biodiversity and carbon cycle. Like most of the world’s top food experts, Fraser believes that food shortages confronts the world with a perfect storm that needs to be counteracted alongside climate, ecology and population. Fraser (2013) argues that a new form of science will be a critical tool for boosting harvest. However, this argument is confronted by (Smith 2011), who proposes a partnership between scientists and farmers aimed at locally appropriate solutions. The latter argument appears to make more sense to small-scale farmers located in the sub-Saharan Africa where fertile soils, equipment and quality seeds is a problem. The second solution that Fraser suggests for food security is devising better distribution and storage for the already produced food. This approach is appropriate given that during famines, the world population tends to consume more than it produces. Johnson (2014) concurs that this approach is economically efficient but adds that for the approach to be more resilient and robust, the food should be distributed and stored closer to the more vulnerable world populations where it can be accessed easily during the time of need.
In his third solution, Fraser proposes that the need for more resource-efficient agricultures. Though modern agriculture produces vast amounts of food, it requires unnecessarily large amounts of water and energy, thus lacking in conservation. Food production will only be sustainable if farmers embrace practices that conserve water, soil and energy. In his last argument, Fraser (2014) proposes robust and biologically diverse local and foreign food systems that effectively connect consumers to farmers. While it is agreed that the foreign food systems are critically important, the importance of the local systems cannot be overlooked because it mitigates the effects of dangerous commodity swings to the consumer.
Fraser’s work has received widespread critic due to its emphasis on science and technology as a means to global food security. Smile (2009), Johnson (2011) & Walt (2008), concur that some well-meaning agricultural scientific breakthroughs have failed to improve the ongoing food crisis. Today, for example, the vast food trade is dominated by large multinationals that employ latest technology with damaging effect to human and environmental health. Contrary to the arguments in the science-based approach, “food security can only be realized when governments invest more on the small-scale farmers” (Walt 2008). What makes this approach more effective is the fact that approximately three quarters of the world population live in and depend on small-scale farms. Government and the environment can reap from the local farmers since they offer diverse, equitable and more sustainable solutions for global food security.
Fraser, E. (2013). Want to Feed nine Billion? A web page, retrieved from http://www.foodsecurity.ac.uk/blog/index.php/2013/06/want-to-feed-nine-billion/
Johnson R. (2014). Feeding 9 Billion. The Importance of Local Food Systems. A video, retrieved from https://feedingninebillion.com/video/local-food
Smile, V. (2009). Detonator of the population explosion. Nature, 400, 415.
Smith, T. (2011). Enriching the Earth: Fritz Haber, Carl Bosch, and the transformation of world food production, Cambridge, MA, MIT Press.
Walt, V. (2008). The World’s Growing Food-Price Crisis. Time Magazine.