Monday, November 28, 2011

Food Security

On this site I have written about the excesses, the nutritional value, and the importance of food. Most of my posts are geared towards individuals who have access to food but they are not using food in a way to benefit their bodies as best as they could. I provide information in order to help you to do this. However, in every society  is a group of individuals who are not Food Secure.In recent years this group has been growing at an alarming rate. This post is to give some basic information as to the situation, as I understand it.

Food Security is your ability to get food on a regular basis.This includes both food and clean water. Many persons do not even consider this to be something worth knowing, however after observing the recession and the sharp rise in the cost of food i think it should be something that we pay extreme attention to.

At the start of the recession there was an outcry for people to grow what they eat and eat what they grow.In an ideal situation it would be best to be less dependent on outside sources of  food and feed the nation's population on locally grown and manufactured food. In Jamaica there was an initiative suggested to increase the consumption of Cassava in order to increase the accepted sources of staples available to the population.That did not end well, however the access to food is something that we should always be mindful of.
During the height of the world food crisis, the cost of food was (and to this day still is )being driven up by the fact that other industries were using food to make biofuel and biodiesel as well as feed for animals . The most common  foods used to create these substances were the corn, sugar, vegetable oil and animal fats. This resulted in a greater competition to acquire these foods and food substances and resulted in the prices being driven upward.Therefore, every country that manufactures and imports products made from these any of these substances will be subject to the prices on the international market of these foods.

There are big problems with the farming sector in Jamaica. These problems will need to be addressed in order for us as a nation to truly be able to allow for our citizens to be food secure. Sporadic farmers markets will not work for the long term.

In the rural areas of Jamaica, food security is  somewhat greater than in urban areas. This is due to the fact that most rural areas are highly vegetated and most households have at least one crop that is growing in the yard.This alone does not account for the higher level of food security but by the fact that Jamaicans love to gift each other with food. Anything that is in season will be reaped and distributed between friends and family, and no one will turn anyone away if they ask for some produce, if this occurs it is very rare. Due to this, even with little to no money, a family or individual will still have access to a meal due to the gifts of others or from the land.

The same cannot be said for the urban areas of the country. Food insecurity is a real problem that needs to be addressed due to the lack of community support among other things. This is also a factor in the formation and continuation of underdeveloped areas referred to as garrisons. With little to none of the resources identified above, food security becomes more elusive.

The fact is, if we are not food secure we are at the mercy of those who are, and that kind of vulnerability is not something we can afford. The famine in Somalia and many other places are the worse case scenario. However there is a definite link between Food Security and Crime. This link cannot be ignored and this link will not be broken until everyone is able to identify and meet their basic nutrition needs.

The lack of basic knowledge is the first hurdle to overcome in order to ensure that this happens. Every country that is vulnerable to any sort of economic disturbance (the ENTIRE world) is vulnerable to Food insecurity. However on the individual level we should try to help in any way we can. If the current state of the world's economic instability  is to be taken into account many person face a real danger of losing food security.

In future posts I will attempt to explore Food Security and how it affects a society's most vulnerable groups. For now you may peruse and learn some more about this topic. Feel free to research and get involved. Also comment below.

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chicky said...

I don't think ppl should be hungry. Esp in Ja. Loads of land here. Time to revamp agricultural programs. Make it attractive and start grow some food!!We don't have to import as much as we do.

Tanya said...

Neither do I Chicky, however it is currently not seen as a priority to increase farming on the household level. I hope we will be able to change that in the near future. Thank you for your comment. tell a friend.