Food is a basic need of life and is directly related to our body, mental and social health which is very necessary for our physical and mental growth. Healthy food provides us with the nutrients and energy to grow, play, learn, move, work and think. In the light of COVID-19 pandemic that is happening worldwide, preserving access to safe and nutritious food is and will continue to be an essential part of the response, specifically for poor and vulnerable communities who are hit hardest by the pandemic and resulting in economic declination. That is how the global food security concern comes in, when World Food Day was first celebrated in 1981.
What can we understand from food security?
Food security exist when all people, at all times, have physical, social and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food that meets their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy lifestyle (Committee on World Food Security, 2009)
It is estimated that by 2050, the global population would be 9 billion! The question is, can we really feed that much of people? Looking at what’s happening to the world right now, it’s possible but tricky – especially when we are also the cause of climate change. Weather patterns become more intense and erratic. Temperatures either rise or went down drastically. Sea levels rise. Agricultural land are now taken over and develop is another threat to food security. Plants and wildlife do not have time to evolve and adapt to the new conditions. Hence, agriculture fields are greatly impacted because it depends so much on nature like water, soil and weather.
With that said, here comes the genetic engineering in place. Plant genetic engineering is said to be a solution to agriculture’s problems i.e. resisting pests that destroy crops, producing better and faster yield, ability to withstand the extreme weather conditions & etc. If it’s done correctly, the genetically modified food (GMO food) might be able to address this concerning issue. Still, there is health safety issue to consider. We can’t mess up with nature, as our interventions may have unintended and unforeseeable effects later on.
In conjunction with Worls Food Day this month, here are some world hunger facts for you:
About 821 million people are chronically undernourished, more than 785 million recorded in 2015
Nearly 99% of undernourished people live in developing countries
About 60% of the hungry people in the world are women
About 1 in 5 births happen without a trained birth attendant
Nearly 20 million infants are born each year with low birth weight, of them, 96.5% are in developing countries.
About 50% of all deaths in children are under 5 years old due to malnutrition