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Food Systems - Essay Example

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Food is the most important basic need in life. Food systems are linked to various aspects including societies, economies, culture, politics and ecosystems. Over the past few decades, food productivity has been fluctuating contributing negatively to economic growth. …
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Food Systems
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Download file to see previous pages At the same time, these systems are affected directly or indirectly by global climate change (Fraser et al. 137). This has had negative social and ecological outcomes. Food systems are made up of activities and outcomes ranging from production to consumption which entails human and environmental dimensions (Grace Communications Foundation). The basic objective of food systems is to provide food security. This paper explores the food system, areas where it is broken down, areas where it is failing socially and ecologically, ways in which the food system is intertwined with states and economies and consequences genetic engineered food alliances to the world food system. Areas Where the Food System is Broken Down. The proportion of the population that is undernourished has increased drastically in the recent past and the nutrition status in the world can be simply described as terrible (Wiggins). To make matters worse, the food prices have risen dramatically in the global market with a spiraling effect domestic and local prices. This goes ahead to prove that the food system is broken down. The system is broken in the production of staple foods including maize, wheat and rice. The food system is in trouble with regards to the supply and demand of these stable foods. The fluctuations in food prices can be seen as a result of the changes in demand, supply and stocks in the recent past resulting to huge price increments that have been worsened by the reaction of key players. Additionally, the world cereal production has been slowing down way behind increasing consumption and growing population. Stocks have reduced considerably over the years and this has weakened the ability of the food system to cope with resulting shocks. Oil prices have risen sharply for the past ten years and this has led to increased cost of agricultural production. On the other hand, rising oil prices have made it more profitable to produce ethanol in the US from maize (Wiggins). This diversion of maize to industrial application coupled with lower production has resulted to a further increase in food prices (Holt-Gimenez). This caused behavior change in some key actors. For instance, various countries restricted exportation of grains by limiting exports or imposing additional taxes. These countries include India, Argentina and Ukraine (Wiggins). This led to a corresponding increase in rice prices. The climate concern is the most important aspect affecting the food system. There have been extreme weather conditions for the past ten years resulting to falling harvests in food production. This has made the issue of food security one of the toughest challenges facing governments in the modern world (Frontline Club Charitable Trust). In addition to increasing food prices, the situation has been made worse by the global population influx. Therefore, there is an increase in the food consumption and demand. The food system is broken in terms of food consolidation as distribution networks have become more globalized. This leads to increased risk of food safety problems. This means that a single contamination affects vast quantities of food thereby affecting a higher number of people (Grace Communications Foundation). The world food system can simply be described as an oligopoly since what people eat is driven by a few multinational companies. This is another contributing factor to the break down in the food system since it leads to the increased consumption of highly processed foods leading rising cases of diabetes and obesity (Stuckler and Nestle). In summary, the food system is not totally broken down (Wiggins). It can be noted that the world produces adequate food for everyone annually. This food should be stored appropriately and ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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