Stakeholders identify prospects, challenges in sustainable food security

One of the core points identified in sustainable food security is the nature of the ecosystems regarding how the food chain works and how not to break the chain. 

This becomes imperative as food is the first basic human need and fundamental right of every human being, having constitutional guarantees in almost all countries.

Kutti Krishnan, while seeking clarity in the sustainability framework for all decisions noted that increasingly, this question is mostly anthropocentric i.e. human food security oriented and preservation of the natural ecosystem – food chain. 

He said: “It’s not about large automated organic farms, but it’s about an aware living with the strong belief that nature does exist and that makes us; human beings survive.”

Shahid Hussain Raja, in his e-book, 20 Global Issues: A Handbook, noted that with food security being a crucial issue in every country, foo crisis remains an existential threat to several weak states, including Nigeria. 

According to him, “There were many reasons for these food crises including: global population growth combined with increasing prosperity in the middle income countries particularly China, India, Brazil and Indonesia resulted in more than proportional increase in the demand for food grains.

“Loss of valuable arable agricultural land as a result of climate change, urban sprawls, infrastructural development and industrial growth in developing countries. The increase in area under agricultural use was utilized for the production of those crops which were used for making of biofuel.

“Failure of technology to develop high yielding varieties because of consistently reduced investment in agricultural research and development (R&D) over a long period.

“Sudden increase in world oil prices making not only the agricultural inputs expensive but also increasing the transportation costs,” all of which affect Nigeria in varied degrees.

Furthermore, he identified the imposition of restrictions on the export of food commodities by the food exporting countries and panic buying by the developing countries were the last straw on camel’s back and exacerbated by the speculative trading in the food commodities.

“Governance issues in developing countries accentuated the food crises as the access to food was restricted due to mismanagement more than the lack of resources. Similarly the anti-agricultural bias of public policies and non-availability of social safety nets also worsened the food security situation in most of the developing countries,” he added.

Similarly, Jacinta Uramah-Eze, while sharing her thoughts on, What are the biggest issues with food security? in her MBA Food Security & Business Administration, Business School Netherlands, said the subject is a complex situation that comes with multi-level factors.

Such factors, she argued, needed to be followed in order to achieve set goals, which would “involve multi-level stakeholders, from business leaders, politicians, nutritionists, environmentalists, social sector, researchers, technologists, ICT, food producers and most importantly consumers.”

Uramah-Eze listed a number of issues affecting food security including; the alignment of stakeholders, noting that “Some economies have developed structures to bring together the work done by these food stakeholders. Developed nations like the United States, Canada though still having some issues for example food safety but they are on track.” 

However, she added that “developing countries like Syria (and Nigeria) have been slow on this important step due to other instabilities like violence and corruption which is constantly distracting their attention.” 

Also is the presence of brokering organizations, which are key to bringing stakeholders together on a periodic basis to ensure that the food security is achieved or maintained. “Their role is to facilitate interactions, regulate, inform and educate the stakeholders on relevant knowledge, technology and skills to achieve or maintain food security.” 

Another is commitment of the government by taking deliberate actions to drive the local food economy. “To ensure progressive food security, the government or lawmakers must constantly work with the stakeholders, providing access to funding, an enabling environment and the right policy,” she added.

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