Causes, effects and solutions to food insecurity

Humans need food to provide energy and nutrients that our bodies use to thrive. When a person can satisfy these needs, they are considered food secure. Without enough calories and the right mix of vitamins and minerals, many health problems arise. When a person cannot get enough food in the right form, they are considered food insecure. Food insecurity can take many forms, from having little or no food, to being well fed but lacking a few nutrients in your diet. Food security also includes whether or not a person or community recovers from food shortages caused by disasters such as natural disasters or economic downturns. Hunger and lack of food are closely related, and it can be said that when you don't have food, you will be hungry.

The USDA defines food insecurity as the inability to have enough food for everyone in the family to live an active and healthy life. It can be a temporary situation for the family or it can last for a long time. Food insecurity is a measure of the number of people who cannot afford to buy food. More than 34 million people, including 9 million children, are food insecure in the United States.

Causes of food shortages


1. No access to agricultural land

Food is grown or harvested from the land where income is also earned. However, many people do not own their land or are unable to get arable land. Land ownership makes agriculture more productive because it can be used to grow different types of food, even if it is small. Lack of access to arable land means lack of resources to grow crops.


2. Land grabbing

This is closely related to the point above. Land acquisition occurs when families, groups or communities own or use land, which is taken from them by big businessmen or powerful government officials.
They acquire land to expand their empires, extract natural resources, or even grow food for export. Land acquisition deprives communities of the resources they desperately need to grow food and vegetables for survival. The result is poverty and social isolation, exacerbated by food insecurity.

 3. Conflict, violence and war

Conflict, war and violence affect production and food supply. Food insecurity is extremely high in many countries affected by civil war.
Examples are Somalia and South Sudan in Africa. A recent example is Syria's agriculture, which has been affected by the conflict. According to an FAO report from October 2018, 5.5 million Syrians are facing food shortages, partly because of the conflict. Conflict-related food shortages can also fuel food crises for years even after fighting has ended.

4. Unfair trade rules

The way big companies and local food producers do business is very unfair and does not reward farmers for the value of their work or products. Wealthy farmers get food supply contracts, but small farmers often work as contract farm workers. Such practices also lead to food shortages among farmers who are financially unstable.

5. Rapid population growth

We live in a world where despite the number of deaths, the number of births is greater. This growing number means there are more mouths to feed every day. The increase in population, along with the small increase in food availability, means an increase in food insecurity.

6. Biofuels

Agrofuels are produced from plants such as corn and sugarcane, and biofuels are emerging in response to the fight against climate change. Unfortunately, farms will be diverted to growing different types of trees and crops for biofuels, which will reduce the amount of grain available for food. It also raises the price of these grains. The growing demand for biofuels is also responsible for increasing deforestation in countries such as Malaysia and Indonesia, putting more food insecurity. In fact, cutting down trees leads to land clearing and climate change, which causes floods and bad weather conditions, thus destroying crops.

7. Natural disaster

Droughts, floods, hurricanes, typhoons and other disasters can wipe out entire crops or destroy crops. This situation is heartbreaking, especially for rural communities and families, who depend on these crops and small-scale agriculture for their daily meals.

 8. Climate change

Changes in climate patterns have affected agriculture. Farmers feel the effects of climate change, because the rains come too soon and the rains last longer.
Clean water is also scarce due to rising sea levels, heavy rains, cyclones and other severe weather events, which are frequent and severe. 

9. Food waste

1.3 billion tons of food is wasted every year, mainly in developed countries, which represents about 1/3 of all food produced for human consumption. For example, during the coronavirus pandemic, farmers are losing billions of food since restaurants and shops, the original buyers of food, have been closed.
Production levels exceed consumption, which means food will be wasted, but people in developing countries are starving. FAO reports that every year, the food lost in the world is about 1.3 billion tons.

10. Market Dominance by Corporate Giants

Large multinational businesses and exporters have entered the food market, which means that small farmers have less opportunity to sell their produce.
Therefore, they sell at unfair prices, large companies control the market, including selling food at high prices by looking for customers who are often picky, bring food for free. 


11. The ‘Financialization’ of Food

Food has become a precious commodity and is sold in international markets. Rising prices in the international food market lead to severe and prolonged food crises. Therefore, this means that, to a large extent, hunger, malnutrition and food shortages can result from market needs and greed for high profits. Effects of food shortages
Food insecurity can have a significant impact, depending on the individual's circumstances. Here are some examples of the effects of food insecurity:
• Food security can cause serious health problems when people have to choose between investing in food and medicine or health care
• Food insecurity can make it difficult for a child to learn and grow
• Food insecurity can lead to difficult decisions  like choosing between food and rent,bills and transportation.


Solutions to End Malnutrition

Process change
Continuing to innovate SNAP benefits: The National Nutrition Assistance Program, commonly referred to as SNAP, provides benefits to food insecure families and individuals. However, since it is necessary to help millions of families, SNAP benefits need to be improved. They still rely on the USDA's Thrifty Food Plan (TFP), which is no longer an accurate measure of food spending. TFP does not meet US federal nutrition standards. SNAP benefits are equal across the country regardless of cost of living, a feature that benefits some greatly, while harming others. Many families live in areas where they have to spend more than their income on expenses such as housing and often have little money for food, and SNAP benefits fall short in these situations. In addition, SNAP benefits do not take into account the time it takes to cook and prepare meals, which hurts many low-wage workers who must work long, often inconvenient hours. cover expenses such as rent. - they are tired of time.

Reduce food waste: 

According to the USDA, between 30-40% of the nation's food is wasted. Globally, the figure is close to around 30%, which would be enough to end hunger for two billion people. However, more needs to be done to reduce and eliminate food waste. Food is spent at different stages of production. Regardless of how the products are wasted, whether through damage in transit, loss due to cosmetic defects, or loss after the sell-by date er, space exploration food is wasted in the United States. One solution is to improve the understanding and clarity of food safety by creating consistent labeling conventions. The conflict between best before date, best before date, and best before date often causes confusion for consumers and leads to food being thrown away before it is. According to the USDA, most foods are safe and sound until there is evidence of spoilage, as long as they are properly processed. 

In addition, legislation should be enacted to protect the nation's grocers from the unusual costs that Bill Emerson's Good Samaritans food donation does not cover, so that they can donate unsold items to charities. . Provide free school meals to all: school meals should be free for all students. It is important for students' ability to stay focused throughout the day and improve learning outcomes. 

And since learning is one of the most important aspects of school, providing all students with free school meals will have many benefits:

• Reducing stigma related to school feeding needs
• Variety and quality in student food, especially fresh fruit and vegetables
• Better health and less obesity
• The attendance rate is high for students with no income and food
Schools are most effective when students are prepared, both mentally and physically, to learn. When students don't have access to the food and nutrition they need, especially as they get older, it reduces their chances of success.



As we said, food shortages affect all communities. It is rare in some places and common in others, but every state and country is affected. Helping to reduce food insecurity is a great way to make a difference in your community. There are a few easy ways to get involved with the feeling, regardless of your comfort level.


Volunteering at food banks, cooperatives and support networks is a great way to fight food insecurity and strengthen connections in your community. Volunteering benefits everyone involved: it gives you the chance to make new friends and connections, learn new skills, and it's fun (it really is!).

 Reach out to your representatives: 

To create effective system change, you need power. Your representatives, both national and local, are appointed to serve you and your community. Use your voice to contact them about your concerns about food insecurity. You can find your local representative here.


 Many organizations are always accepting donations to fight food shortages. Whether in the form of money or food, your donation can greatly help those in need.

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