This brief paper will review the phenomenon of food insecurity as a critical global problem today (Grigg, 1993, p. 18), and as a crisis as argued by Bernstein, Crow and Johnson (1992) or as a potential silent holocaust as argued by Kent (1984)…
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In the discussion, the focus will remain on reviewing what food insecurity denotes, what causes it and the consequences that accrue thereof. The discussion is based on a critical evaluation of peer-reviewed literature beginning with the definition and then discussing what causes it, and how it emerges in the developing world. Defining and Contextualizing Food Insecurity The Context of Food Security Since the 1970s, the term food insecurity has been differently used to refer to numerous related but often diverse concepts. Yu, You, and Fan (2010) argue, “there are various descriptions of food security plus the concepts of food security that have evolved, in the previous 30 years, to reflect the transformation in official policy thinking” (p. 30). This variant understanding of food security and insecurity has been explored by Clay (2002) since the World Food Conference initiated a discussion of food security in the early 1970s, both at the national and international level. As shall emerge hereunder, food security encompasses questions of food supply, food availability, food price stability, geographical locations and typology of available food (Bernstein, Crow and Johnson, 1992, pp. 34 - 71). However, to understand the term food insecurity, it is essential to first contextualize the term food security. According to the United Nations, food security should be defined as “all people at all times having both physical and economic access to the basic food they need” (Clay, 2002, p. 4). According to UN figures, nearly 1 billion people in the world today are not guaranteed that they can access, afford and always find adequate food. For these 2 billion people, they may not be hungry and in critical need of food, but they cannot guarantee that they will have anything to eat tomorrow to sufficiently sustain their health. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization (2013), “a total of 842 million people in 2011–2013, or about one in eight individuals globally, were anticipated to be suffering from chronic hunger, regularly not getting enough food to conduct an active life” (¶7). While this figure is relatively lower when compared to the 868 million people reported between 2010 and 2012, and while the number of undernourished people has reduced with 17% from what was recorded between 1990 and 1992, food insecurity is still a major global problem. As such, they are insecure about the source of their requisite diets, where to find food, when and whether such food would be affordable when accessed (Curtis, Hubbard and Shepherd, 1988, 37). This context thus introduces the dynamics of food security, a complicated process determined by numerous factors from poverty levels to climatic conditions, from geography to governance, from education and awareness to culture (Grigg, 1993, p. 21; Curtis, Hubbard and Shepherd, 1988, p. 61; Bernstein, Crow and Johnson, 1992, p. 69; Kent, 1984, p. 23). The key question, therefore, is about guarantee that food will be available when needed, as well as which type of food will be avai
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