Root Causes of Food Insecurity and the Current Food Crisis
Food is man’s number one source of energy and sustenance—making it the number one priority for your survival. However, the Russia-Ukraine war, the COVID-19 pandemic, and the looming Monkeypox crisis are causing extreme disruption to the world supply chain on food, materials, and other goods. Thus, the terms food crisis, food shortage, and food insecurity have been emerging in the media worldwide, including in America.
In this article, we will be discussing the current situation in the world to understand food insecurity. We will be enumerating the factors of food insecurity, the current food crisis in the world, and why are there countries that cannot provide enough food for their families. We will also be talking about the food shortages in America in 2022 and what you can do to prepare for a food crisis. We believe that understanding the root causes of food insecurity and the current food crisis is an important first step to preparing to survive in times of crisis.
What is Food Security?
According to the United Nations Committee on World Food Security, food security is defined as the standard that all citizens, have physical, social, and economic access to sufficient, safe, and nutritious food at all times that meet their specific food preferences and dietary needs to have an active and healthy life.
All throughout the decades, the world has been experiencing various events that hindered numerous countries' ability to provide their citizens with food security. These events included climate change, the constant growth of the world population, inflation, and environmental stressors which significantly changed people’s lives. Because of this, numerous movements and world organizations, including the United Nations, have started initiatives to fight against food insecurity and aim toward food security for the whole world.
Why is Nutritious Food part of Food Security?
Food security is not only about random food to fill families, but it is also about affordable and nutritious food. Thus, healthy food is vital for food security. Food safety and nutritional balance are significant factors toward food security. Nutrition involves food composition for nutrient requirements, which involves healthy food, toward an active and healthy lifestyle, which is the main goal of food security. Food consumption of healthy food and forging healthy diets will bring families long-term sustenance and is a tool for ending global hunger.
What are The 6 Factors That Causes Hunger and Food Insecurity?
To address food insecurity and hunger we must know what causes it. Food insecurity and hunger are global issues that are seen to be complex and difficult to solve. More to that are the effects of food insecurity that are highly unpredictable and irreversible. Here are the six factors that cause food insecurity and hunger.
1 - Population Growth
Statistics show that one out of seven people in the world is experiencing chronic hunger due to the lack of food and the absence of leading an active life. By the end of the century, the global population is expected to grow by 9 billion which poses a great threat to food security. An increasing population increases the demand for food which affect sufficient food supply in countries, especially in the advent of the lack of adequate food production technology to address food insecurity. Most poor countries are also seen to struggle with food production and food security because of rapid population growth bringing the country to be severely food insecure. This brings families less access to food and can greatly affect health outcomes such as chronic diseases and other illnesses.
2 - Climate Change
Developing countries that are below the poverty line are the countries most likely to experience natural disasters. Natural disasters bring damage to food and water supply which endangers a country’s food security. Climate change is seen to be the most challenging environmental issue that the world is facing. This also affects the agriculture sectors of developing countries which causes problems in their food supply and farmlands.
3 - Increasing Costs of Food
The constant increase in food prices reduces a family’s access to food. Thus, the increased costs in food prices greatly affect the rate of food insecurity in the world. Inflation caused by the current pandemic and the Ukraine-Russia war is the main cause of the breakdown of the supply chain of food and goods in the world. Farmers have been experiencing struggles as well with the price of fuel and fertilizer that it has greatly impacted food prices, especially on grain and other goods.
4 - Unemployment
Unemployment is a cause of food crises because of how much it can negatively affect household food insecurity. It can cause causing acute food insecurity to severe food insecurity. Unemployment and job instability are one of the most significant factors of hunger and food insecurity, especially in America. This is seen to be a common factor throughout high-income countries. Unemployment can be seen to cause disrupted eating patterns in families. Another factor in this having an economic slump in a country where jobs and opportunities are not enough or are non-existent to provide for a family enough or are non-existent to provide for a family.
5 - Poverty
Poverty is the number one cause of food insecurity and hunger. Families in poor neighborhoods or in rural areas who are experiencing extreme poverty are the most people who experience hunger and severe household food insecurity. These families do not have enough or no land at all to grow enough food which brings them to a great disadvantage. They also earn little to no income to have access to food for their needs. When people do not have cannot afford to purchase food for their families and are food insecure, it is most likely that children headed into the cycle of hunger and poverty.
6 - Loss of Biodiversity
The loss of biodiversity is a threat to agriculture. This means that threats to agriculture are a threat to food production of healthy food and food security. The loss of biodiversity undermines the proficiency of the world’s agricultural systems to adapt and develop to the changing conditions brought by vast issues such as climate change. This jeopardizes livelihoods, especially in agriculture, and families’ food security. This factor also causes devastating harvest failures that put food production systems into a ruckus.
Food Insecurity in America 2022
People and families who experience food insecurity can go for long or short periods of having not enough food in their system hinders them to have active lifestyles. According to USDA, in 2022 more than 38 million Americans, which includes 12 million children, experience food insecurity. Mostly affected by the issue of food insecurity are adults and children who are below the poverty line. Child hunger is seen to be a real issue in the country where almost 22 million children rely on lunch programs at schools.
The American government has set up numerous food stamps, food banks, and food pantries to help address and resolve the issue of food insecurity and hunger in the country. According to Feeding America, 53 million Americans turn to these food banks and food pantries in 2021 which shows how much these are helpful to those in need and experiencing severe food insecurity.
That said, we also so an increased risk of food insecurity in the United States, in the early part of 2023. The worry here is that more systemic factors, like supply chain constraints and global trade issues around the Russia-Ukraine war, will result in nationwide food insecurity. This is why we warn our readers to prepare for the worst, and hope for the best.
What can you do to Prepare for a Food Crisis?
It is never too late to prepare for a food crisis as food insecurity can come to any family or individual. The past few years have shown us that we are not immune to any disaster, pandemic, or food crises, thus, it is a must to prepare for any challenge ahead of us. Preparing for a food shortage is easy to do and can be done by anyone. Planning which emergency food supply is a viable option. You may also look up what food supplies are a must in your pantries and which methods you can use to make your emergency food supply sufficient to have consistent access to food.