Food security management .. dimensions and challenges

[27-10-2022 03:18 PM]

Ammon News - By Prof. Dr. Abedelsalam Al-Nabulsi

I cannot imagine that we will stand idly by and look at what is happening not only around us but in the whole world, and we are on the threshold of a real catastrophe that may reach the point of famine in some countries and inevitably will affect all the inhabitants of the world.
The issue is not an issue of a war going on in eastern Europe. Rather, this war has allowed us to imagine what might happen to the whole world in terms of food shortages, rising production costs, and misfortunes in supply chains.

The world has recently witnessed a deterioration in food security, as more than a billion people suffer from hunger around the world, and what has made the matter more difficult is climate change in addition to water scarcity, energy crisis, wars and the inability to raise the level of land use.

Food security instability has arisen as a result of environmental factors and human influence,
Food security is considered a pivotal issue of great importance at all global and national levels, not only because food is a right for every human being and is the essence of his survival, but also because of the failure of efforts made to overcome the food crises that many countries suffer from.
Food security is achieved when the governments of countries are interested in the local production of food or the external import of it.

Accordingly, the provision of food is linked to two basic matters:
-The ability to produce food commodities, which requires the existence of the physical means and the natural environment suitable for agricultural production, both plant and animal.
- as well as the ability to import foodstuffs, which requires the existence of a trade balance that provides the state with the possibility of importing what food it is unable to produce.

The level of achieving the dimensions of food security in many countries of the world, including the Arab countries, is still modest and faces challenges due to food dependency and its negative effects on economic activity, which calls for intensifying greater efforts to achieve development in general and sustainable agricultural development in particular, and to embody the elements of food security.

Food security is a comprehensive national goal, a strategic goal linked to several sectors such as agriculture, industry, supply, transportation, trade, health, education, social development, and others, Therefore, it is the duty of states to secure the nutritional needs of their people, and this is considered a necessity, because what is below the level of basic nutritional needs leads to malnutrition and hunger.
Usually the great countries are measured by their industrial production of heavy machinery, planes, trains and weapons, but in the coming days the great countries are the countries that manage their food security and maintain its sustainability, which opens the door for those countries to advance their various industries.

It has become necessary to design evidence-based food security strategies that go beyond mere food availability to address other pillars of food security, namely access to and utilization of safe food and the stability of its supply.

We find that the dimensions of food security in its comprehensive sense are:
Food Availability , which means the presence of sufficient and continuous quantities of food of appropriate quality, either through local production or import, in addition to food aid.

Food Safety To achieve food security, the food consumed must be safe and adequately meet the physical needs of individuals.
It is the guarantee of food health, safety and suitability for human consumption.

Food Accessibility and this means obtaining these foods in sustainable ways that do not conflict with the enjoyment of other human rights, and it also means that there is sufficient income to provide adequate food, or the existence of other resources that guarantee this food.

Food Stability, This means that sufficient food must be secured at all times, so that food is not cut off or its quantities decrease in emergency situations such as wars, political unrest, natural disasters or other factors.

Food security challenges are:
1- Poverty: It is when the family's income fails to meet the basic needs and food for its members. Today, many of those who live in chronic poverty suffer from the deprivation of their dignity and the lack of respect for it.
2- Unemployment: The economic decline and decline that most developing countries suffer from leads to unemployment, and thus the presence of large numbers of young people without work or a stable income, which in turn leads to the widening of the cycle of poverty and the inability to secure food and various foods.

3- Climate, desertification and extreme weather events: Climate change also reduces productivity in agriculture, and food insecurity will increase dramatically if efforts are not made to adapt to climate change. Climate change is a reality and it is changing the agricultural environment very rapidly.

4- The depletion of natural resources and pollution of the environment led to the depletion of the natural resource base, and the spread of all forms of pollution that affect water, soil and air, especially in urban areas.

5- Natural disasters: The occurrence of natural disasters such as floods, hurricanes, freezing, and drought are among the factors that lead to a decline in agricultural yields, which affects general food security, especially among the rural population.

6- Population growth: There is a direct relationship between population growth and food demand. It is expected that the world population will increase in the coming decades by 33%, to reach nearly 10 billion people by 2050.

7- Water crisis and resource scarcity: As a result of climate change, desertification, environmental pollution, pollution of water sources, increased demand and overuse, and the politicization of water security among neighboring countries. The increasingly deteriorating dimensions of water security are a disaster for food security.

8- The shortcomings and weaknesses of the educational and research systems in keeping pace with scientific and technical progress in the world and the requirements for achieving sustainable development.

9- Weak regulations and legislation to create an investment environment.

10- Globalization: Many countries, including some Arab countries, suffer from a severe problem, which is mainly represented in the lack of food and malnutrition, and the food dependency of the advanced capitalist countries. The economies of these (Arab) countries may face greater problems and challenges in the future in various respects, especially with regard to food security, because the world is moving towards globalization, and the removal of barriers to trade in goods and services, and the movement of capital.

11- Conflicts and wars: They are closely related to famine and food insecurity and affect and damage crops, as this is manifested in high food prices and inflation, and causes an increase in food insecurity rates in the importing countries in the first place. The global food trade system has become less reliable.

12- Geopolitical alliances: The political power of the state usually increases as its geographical elements increase in quantity and quality, Looking at the broader global food supply chain, we can see the role of war and conflict in destabilizing the basic pillars of the global food system and disrupting logistical operations that cannot be compensated by other alternatives such as trains or roadways.

13- Economic shocks caused by several factors, including:
A- The rise in energy prices and the resulting crises.
B- Closures resulting from the spread of epidemics, the pandemic that began two years ago and has not ended to this day has a great impact on education, agriculture, industry, trade and services because of its restrictions that have harmed us all.
A pandemic that spread panic across the globe, changed a lot of the behavior and habits of the world, caused damage whose impact is still present, and is still trying to kill humanity again.
C- The collapse of money and currency markets due to wrong financial and monetary policies or because of internal conflicts.
D- International sanctions against some countries, freezing of assets and imposing an economic and commercial embargo.
E- The state's debts and its service burdens constitute a heavy burden on the economies of the vast majority of developing countries.

14- Food Wastage: Starting from the fields to the dishes, food waste embodies a shortcoming in the market and a threat to the environment, as the percentage of food wasted ranges between 33 - 50% of the food produced globally.

15- Change in food and consumption pattern as a result of globalization, exchange of cultures, urbanization and the nature of daily life.

16- Taxes and duties imposed on imported food and production inputs constitute a major obstacle to enhancing food security.

17- The difficulty of achieving sustainable agricultural development goals due to the high costs of agricultural production inputs, poor funding, limited logistics services, and a lack of focus on agri-food industries and their role in enhancing food security.

18- Weak infrastructure and the difficulty of accessing services to all segments of society and everything that would facilitate the production process from beginning to end, especially those related to agricultural production and logistics services.

19- Urban sprawl: It leads to unequal distribution of natural resources and services. It is a global problem that affects all countries in the world. One of the causes of urban sprawl is the low percentage of taxes imposed in remote areas, overpopulation in cities, and low house wages in remote areas.

20- Migration from the countryside: The main reason is the hope for a better standard of living in terms of job opportunities, higher wages, availability of institutions, health care and education.
21- Pests and locusts and the infecting of crops with infectious diseases and their failure to control them pose a threat to food security. Pest and disease threats are greater than ever due to increased global trade and climate change, It is more necessary than ever to protect plants from pests and diseases in order to achieve and sustain food security and sources of income for a growing world.

22- Lack of justice and equality between residents of rural and urban areas.
23- Absence of the role of agricultural associations, cooperatives and extension, Weak training, qualification and capacity building and cadres required for production processes and the exploitation of agricultural holdings. Weakness of agricultural expansion in arable and reclaimable areas and failure to benefit from arable lands for many reasons, including the small size and area of agricultural holdings and the absence of modern technology and human and financial capabilities.

24- Lack of economic integration and coordination with neighboring countries.
25- Refugee issues.
26- Supply chain crisis.
27- Weak sustainability activities.
28- Weak harmony between policies and strategies on the one hand, and the relevant agricultural and sectoral institutions.

Achieving food security is a major challenge for developing and developed countries alike, but to varying degrees, according to several factors and components, the most important of which are:
Political, economic and social stability within the state, justice, availability of human and natural resources, climatic, environmental and geographic characteristics, energy and water sources, and keeping pace with technology.
Among the main obstacles to achieving food security:
The presence of armed conflicts, civil wars, the absence of good governance, poverty, instability, and trade imbalances.

Some of these factors, in addition to weak will, lack of management and planning, rampant corruption and administrative slack, have led to a decline in food security levels in many countries of the world.
The result has been poverty and hunger. Globally, 1.3 billion people still live in multidimensional poverty, nearly half of whom are children and youth.

Achieving sustainable development requires the development of an integrated strategy with specific goals and clear priorities that takes into account improving the economic and social conditions of the Arab citizen, and preserving the environment and its natural resources, taking into account the conditions and peculiarities of our Arab region and a good appreciation of global developments and future changes.
Perhaps the most important pillars of this strategy are to enhance human capacity building and to set a number of indicators and criteria to measure the extent to which development has been achieved and to conduct a periodic evaluation to follow up on its programs and direct its course. Thus, we are assured that we are moving in the right direction.
Sustainability can only be achieved through effective and equitable governance, including appropriate and enabling policy, legal and institutional environments that strike the right balance between public and private sector initiatives, and ensure accountability, equality, transparency, and the rule of law.

Food insecurity:
Food insecurity brings societies to the point of starvation. Hunger prevents the body from resting, confuses the brain, stirs up corrupt ideas and false fantasies and leads to looting, thefts, disruption of regulations and laws, and societal insecurity, leading to wars, ruin, destruction and the collapse of those regimes and states.

Consequences of food insecurity:
- Health problems, chronic and psychological diseases, especially among children, as they are among the groups most affected by food insecurity.
- Decreased ability of the state to pay attention to education and consequently reduced ability to learn.
- Food price hike.
- Poverty and hunger spread.
- The spread of epidemics and communicable diseases.
- Spread of crime, devastation and destruction.
- The collapse of regimes and states.

Food security solutions:
1- Focusing on achieving the first goal of the sustainable development goals, which is the fight against poverty.
2- Establishing peace and societal security by creating the appropriate political, economic and social environment and climate.
3- Enhancing human capabilities to achieve development.
4- Increasing food support and not limiting it to wheat and barley.
5- Achieving sustainable development in the countryside and enhancing agricultural wealth.
6- Achieving the regional dimension of food security and the importance of cooperation and coordination between neighboring countries and countries of the region.
7- Laying down legislation, enacting laws, adapting policies and reforms in line with economic, social, developmental and environmental challenges, and working on their implementation and follow-up.
8- The government's promotion of food security through support and spending on agricultural research, innovation, knowledge transfer, and direct spending on agricultural development.
9- Reducing energy costs for the agricultural and industrial sector and the state’s direct and indirect contribution to reducing food production costs, and supporting local fertilizers for the agricultural sector.
10- Strengthening social protection networks.
11- Develop programs to improve the conditions of motherhood, childhood, youth, old age, and people with special needs.
12- The necessity of policies paying attention to upgrading infrastructure, especially transport lines, as well as adopting policies that facilitate the access and access of food to markets to achieve food security.
13- The importance of having policies that encourage investment and partnership with the public and private sectors in the best way.
14- Raising vertical productivity through the efficient use of technology and fertilizers.
15- Reducing food waste by introducing sustainable procedures in agriculture, reducing crop losses, enhancing storage and transportation methods to maintain food quality, and reducing food waste from distributors and consumers.
16- Raising water productivity through achieving integration and cooperation to increase the efficiency of water use, manage water resources in the agricultural sector, modernize irrigation systems, and strengthen the infrastructure of water reserves through building dams and watersheds.
17- International cooperation to ease the burdens of refugees and find political solutions to the issues of refugees by returning, or economic solutions that help the state and residents through sustainable development projects.
18- Encouraging investment, attracting capital, and allocating the necessary financial resources for sustainable development programmers.
19- Creating job opportunities in all sectors and adopting pioneering projects, which in turn reduce unemployment and poverty rates.
20- Adopting modern management methods and introducing information technology to improve efficiency, rationalize spending, adopt transparency and accountability, and encourage creativity and competition.
21- Greater interest in renewable energy projects and the development of energy infrastructure networks.
22- Strengthening women’s economic participation in the various agricultural, industrial, service and leadership sectors and developing plans and policies in partnership with the private sector that contribute to attracting women to work in this sector, enhancing their productivity and their contribution to economic renaissance and sustainable development.
23- Information and education, as the media plays a major role in guiding public opinion and building or destroying bridges of trust and awareness among the various components of society.
Food Security Solutions/ Jordan:
1- Forming a Higher Council for Food Security whose objectives are to address duplication and conflict in policies and plans related to food security. And it acts as an umbrella for all sectors strategies (agricultural, industrial, commercial, financing, health and education, environment and work, transportation, social development, information technology, works, development zones and special economic zones).
2- Supporting the active sectors in Jordan, investing them in an optimal way, and introducing some rapid improvements to them.
3- Working on making Jordan a strategic and regional center for food security, logistics services, agricultural production and food industries.
4- A program of structural and legislative reforms for the investment environment centered on the axes of maximizing industrial and agricultural returns, and the returns of the communications and information technology sectors.
5- Paying attention to the efficiency of human capital, developing it and attracting it to work by creating a safe environment that guarantees a decent standard of living.

Conditions for achieving food security:
- Will: Planning must be effective and flexible, define goals and objectives, and adhere to transforming goals into a tangible reality (meaning that we have a real will to transform our goals into reality) through management and through teamwork, participatory, social and economic justice, and achieving security and community peace. The basic conditions for development, there is no development without security and no security without development.

- Today, we have to move from the planning stage to the implementation stage. The existing plans, the latest of which is the vision of economic modernization, are enough to achieve the hoped, if there is a sincere will to remove the dress of suffering and get out of this dark situation.

- As for the administration, its approach must be based on objective assessment, accurate information, direction, organization, reform, development, building trust, creating leadership, maximizing partnership with the private sector, and implementing the state’s general policy in order to achieve the set goals in light of the preservation of law and the application of justice and order without favoritism or equivocation.

- I am still convinced that what is to come is greater, that the value will be for food and not for money, and that precaution is a duty. We must study all scenarios for the coming days, to find that the opportunity is ripe today to accept these challenges, and direct the compass towards the desired real renaissance.

- Jordan possesses the potential and natural resources that would change a lot if they were invested in the right way and if we had the real will to produce.

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