Hunger and Food Insecurity
Food is essential to humans as it provides the energy required to carry out various life functions. Lack of sufficient food results in malnutrition, stunted growth, poor health, and mortality. Despite the importance of food, there are still people across the globe who face hunger and countries experiencing food insecurity.
Where do most of the world’s hungry live?
The highest number of the world’s hungry people live in developing nations. Specifically, 98 percent of the world’s hungry live in developing countries. It is also worth noting that most malnourished people live in Asia and the Pacific in countries such as the Philippines and Indonesia, with more than 500 million people. Additionally, more than 243 million people in sub-Saharan Africa face hunger, especially in arid countries such as Mali, Ethiopia, and Niger. Moreover, millions of people in the Caribbean and Latin America in places like Haiti and Guatemala struggle to find enough to eat (“The facts: What you need to know about global hunger”, 2020). Thus, the world’s most hungry people live in developing nations in various regions of the globe.
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Food Insecurity Issues for those Countries and Difference Between “food insecurity” and “hunger” in these countries
Two of the countries currently facing food insecurity in the world are Indonesia and Haiti. Since mid-1997, Indonesia has been in an economic crisis. Notably, this economic crisis was presided by the prolonged drought that followed El Nino. The drought associated with El Nino resulted in a decline in food production. The economic crisis aggravated the situation as the country has been unable to recover from the adverse impacts of the drought (Amrullah, Ishida, Pullaila, & Rusyiana, 2019). Another factor contributing to food insecurity is unequal access to proper food; the available food is unaffordable to many. Moreover, Indonesia’s lakes and rivers are highly polluted and highly vulnerable to seasonal variations. Lastly, the self-sufficiency policies implemented by the Indonesian government have severely limited access to food (“Indonesian Food and Water Security: Ongoing Inaction Could Lead to a Future Crisis – Future Directions International”, 2018). Thus, food insecurity has resulted from a combination of various factors.
Regarding Haiti’s food insecurity issue, several factors have contributed to the longstanding crisis. To start with, Haiti is highly susceptible to natural disasters such as droughts, hurricanes, floods, landslides, and earthquakes. Notably, these catastrophes have adverse impacts on agricultural production. The country also experiences irregular rainfall, and due to Haiti’s worsening economic conditions, the government has not sufficiently invested in water sources. Lastly, for a very long time, Haiti has been facing political instability, which makes it considerably challenging for the government to address the food insecurity crisis (“Food Assistance Fact Sheet – Haiti | Food Assistance | U.S. Agency for International Development”, 2021). The combined effect of these factors has led Haiti to find itself in a longstanding food insecurity crisis.
It is worth noting that there is a difference between hunger and food insecurity. Whereas the two are related, they are not the same. Hunger is physiological, while food insecurity is socio-economic. Hunger is measured at the individual level, while food security is measured at the household level (“What is food insecurity? Food security? – Food Forward”, 2019). In Haiti and Indonesia, both hunger and food insecurity are significant threats to the citizens.
Use of Biotechnologies in Solving the Food Insecurity
Low food production is mainly the leading cause of food insecurity in developing nations. These countries can address the problem of low crops yield by using biotechnologies. According to Najafi and Lee (2014), biotechnologies can help increase food production by introducing high-yielding crop varieties resistant to various abiotic and biotic stresses. Secondly, biotechnologies can reduce pest-associated production decline. Thirdly, they can increase the nutritional value of produced foods. However, on the downside, biotechnologies are associated with negative effects on health and technology (Prema, 2017). Thus, there is a need to tread carefully when adopting biotechnologies as a remedy to food insecurity.