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6GEO4 Unit 3 Life on the Margins: the food supply problem

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1 6GEO4 Unit 3 Life on the Margins: the food supply problem

2 What is this option about?
The Life on the Margins :food supply problem option focuses on why so many people live at the edge of survival, whilst there is enough food globally to provide for all. See the food spectrum diagram below In addition to studying places suffering inequality in food supply and security, you will need to understand: The complex causes of food insecurity The impact of desertification Efforts to try to manage food insecurity. Synoptic context People Place Power Who suffers from food insecurity and over nutrition Feast or famine-where are the margins of survival? Who are the players involved in food security? Decreasing health health balance Decreasing health Famine--Malnutrition-----good diet Obesity

3 Food supply and security patterns
CONTENTS Food supply and security patterns Complex causes of food supply inequalities Desertification and life at the margins of survival Response to food insecurity and food supply issues Click on the information icon to jump to that section. Click on the home button to return to this contents page

4 1. Food supply and security patterns
There are four subtopics you will need to research- see below table The concept of a global food crisis started in the 1970s with worries over the basic volume and stability of food supply. The food crisis has since widened, as shown in the FAO definition Food security is a key aim of the UN MDGs: Goal 1 : Reduce by half the proportion of people who suffer from hunger by 2015 Food security definition by the FAO: ‘ a situation that exists 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 life’ Current issues: famine food miles ecofootprints globalisation of food tastes Obesity and over nutrition Environmental issues resulting from food production Why food supply varies spatially Types of life on the margins and role of food security: rural and urban

5 What is food security? Food security depends on direct and indirect factors Food must be: Available Affordable Utilised Food security -- Insecurity ……chronic hunger (malnutrition) -- acute hunger (famine) Good health Poor health

6 Current issues: 1. hunger hotspots
ASIA –threats from war, political disputes, natural hazards AFGHANISTAN BANGLADESH- NEPAL N KOREA (DPRK) The main problem in food supply is its uneven distribution Over 50% of the world’s population live in low income, food deficit countries 2009: worldwide 850 million people suffer from hunger, 1.02 billion are undernourished , most of them in developing countries. (FAO) EASTERN AFRICA - the Horn of Africa 20 m affected by civil dispute, displacement, drought SOMALIA KENYA ETHIOPIA SUDAN - LATIN AMERICA AND THE CARRIBBEAN – drought and over reliance on imported food and aid: GUATEMALA NICARAGUA HAITI SOUTHERN AFRICA - Millions continue to be affected by high levels of domestic prices, and high seasonal food demand during peak hunger months. : ZIMBABWE LESOTHO SWAZILAND

7 Current issues 2 : Future Food supply and famine
FAO report ‘How to feed the world in 2050’ projections: Global population of 9 billion will mean new and traditional demand for agricultural produce put ting growing pressure on already scarce agricultural resources. Global demand for food, feed and fibre will double. Crops increasingly used for bioenergy and other industrial purposes not food. Agriculture forced to compete for land and water with sprawling urban settlements, 70% population will be urban (50% at present) Agriculture will have to adapt to and also contribute to the mitigation of climate change, helping preserve natural habitats, protecting endangered species and maintain a high level of biodiversity. New technologies will be needed to grow more food with less people as rural depopulation continues in most regions .! Major Hotspot of deficit: Sub-Saharan Africa

8 Current issues3: Globalisation of food tastes, under and over nutrition
Food tastes are becoming more globalised, for example for westernised habits of meat eating, bread etc. People have more choices in urban areas The role of media is important: soap and cookery programmes encouraging westernised dietary and sedentary habits for the more affluent The rising middle classes in transition economies such as India and China are changing their food habits. This is called the food transition from staple to often high protein and fats and sugars This has huge implications : creating obesity and heart disease health risks. and changes in the social and physical environment of production areas. In countries where famine and under nutrition was traditionally the main issue, the reverse: over nutrition is increasing , especially in India and China. Obesity has now reached epidemic proportions globally, with approximately 1.6 billion adults and 20 million children under 5 years old being overweight.(World Health Organisation)

9 Current issues 4 :Environmental issues resulting from food production
The scale and intensity of food production on land and in the oceans inevitably means changes to natural ecosystems and loss of biodiversity. In the 1990s issues centred on the threats from the Green Revolution, and later GM crops. Overuse of chemicals and technology resulted in environmental pollution and human health issues The latest debate centres on deforestation and replacement of staple food crops by often subsidised biofuels, especially in Brazil and USA There are global concerns over Ecofootprints and food miles . Ethical concerns over food production methods are rising, centred on animal welfare and exploitation of workers

10 Patterns of food supply and Law of diminishing returns
Some areas are naturally more suited naturally to food production: eg the great plains of America and Russia for instance. Peri-urban areas have also been traditionally important in food supply: eg Beijing Bangkok, Madrid. Such areas are under constant threat from urban sprawl Physical factors limit food production unless technology is available to overcome temperature, water and nutrient deficiencies. Irrigation, chemicals and greenhouses are costly however. Agricultural advances in yields have shown there is a law of diminishing returns which limits even GM products. Point of diminishing returns no matter what new input no real increased output Additional outputs ie crop yields, livestock Inputs ie labour, capital, machinery

11 Why food supply varies spatially: factors
Human factors Physical factors Accessibility of markets Land ownership systems- security of tenure. Inheritance laws- may be gender biased Market and Trade patterns and regulations skewed in favour of more developed economies Competition often unfair , especially if subsidies, quotas etc involved Government action and support Big businesses and TNCs now dominate research into agricultural production and are governed by profit margins rather than food security for poor people Aid agencies are key players in both long and short term food supplies Soil –nutrient store Climate -seasonal changes Precipitation –amount, frequency, type Length of thermal growing season Relief- steep or waterlogged areas less useful Aspect-slope angle Altitude- affecting temperature, water supply Hazards: tectonic, hydro-meteorological and biological Recent climate change and weather ‘shocks’ linked to global warming.

12 Types of life on the margins and role of food security: rural and urban
The FAO calls this the "century of cities“ identifying food supply as a major challenge Supplying cities with safe and affordable food will strain the food supply and distribution chain to the breaking point. The challenge is greatest in LEDCs , where urban poverty rates are often over 50% On average 30% more spent on food than in rural areas Long distances, bad roads, poorly maintained trucks and urban crowding cause spoilage of 10 to 30% of produce in transit. City and suburban farms supply food to about 700 m city dwellers – 25% of the world’s urban population. New research increasing on creating ‘hungerproof cities’! Traditional food insecurity is characteristic of rural areas especially in poorer economies Sub Saharan Africa has highest rate of undernourishment India has increasing URBAN dwellers facing scarcity NB even New York has soup kitchens!

13 2. Causes of global inequalities in food supply and security
Food production varies greatly Between : World cereal production doubled Food production increased by 33% per person Daily intake of calories increased by a third Real food prices dropped by almost 50% Yet almost 1bn people do not have enough to eat, mainly in poorer countries. WHY? You will study: The complexity of causes of famine and food surpluses: environmental, economic, social Long and short term, direct and indirect The role of population pressure in food insecurity The environmental impacts of attempts to increase global food supply Who are the vulnerable groups?

14 Factors affecting food security
Direct causes Indirect Root causes Economic Income ,poverty trap, land security/tenure, food supply from local, national or imported sources, aid, infrastructure ,food hoarding Trade restrictions Debt repayments Social Population growth, poor health and reduced labour especially scourge of HIV/AIDs pandemic, war, deliberate food destruction, War, civil disputes, corruption, refugees and displacement, rise of middle classes and changed food tastes, gender inequality Environment Natural disasters: floods, drought, desertification, deforestation, pests, overcropping, overgrazing, urban sprawl Pollution, climate change Root/ Indirect drivers Direct drivers Food security Since 1992 the % of short and long term food crises directly linked to human causes has risen from 15 to over 35%

15 Who are the vulnerable groups in food insecurity?
Vulnerable groups of people Landless rural dwellers Anyone on a low income Refugees and displaced people People with low literacy rates Women and children and aged Urban dwellers with no formal employment People with poor health especially HIV/AIDs, Malaria Ethnic/religious minorities There are a huge range of people more vulnerable to food insecurity. The key factor is wealth

16 Population pressure and resource relationships
Traditional pessimistic Malthusian Model Boserup /technocentric model Population outstrips food supply. Possible in some localised areas but not at global scale-so far! Inventions and technology keep pace with demands for food . For decades, agricultural science has focused on boosting production through the development of new technologies -can be : low tech : crop resistant plants, targeted irrigation .... high tech: megadams, chemical pesticides.... Africa offers examples of systemic issues at a continental scale since pre independence most countries were self sufficient in food yet most now rely on imports and aid and there are many famine hotspots. Complex political-demographic and environmental factors are at play here

17 The food supply system OUTPUTS Desired: Food supply
INPUTS Machinery Chemicals Antibiotics Animal/fish feed PURPOSE Increased efficiency Increase yields Remove pests, weeds Reduce disease Increase density per area OUTPUTS Desired: Food supply Undesired outputs: -Pollution-toxic, eutrophication Degradation, deforestation, desertification soil erosion, antibiotic resistance more meat=more methane,more animal feeds.... The food supply system

18 Environmental alternatives in food production
Traditional organic Modern higher technology Relatively low impact on the environment EU, reforms of the Common Agricultural Policy( CAP )foster more environmentally friendly agriculture, with a growth in LEAF farms( Linking Environment with Farming). However tends to be less profitable than more technologically based types, and has suffered with global recession of the early 20th C. NB majority of farmers in developing counties are still rooted in subsistence and small scale production methods which are often organic too because of poverty. High impact on environment from modern farming in westernised countries since WW 2. Often large scale intensive or extensive commercial. Similar issues more recently in developing economies adopting Green Revolution techniques.

19 3. The role of desertification in threatening life at the margins
The 4 main topics may be grouped as below table summarises The UN defines desertification as ‘land degradation in arid, semi arid and dry subhumid areas resulting from various factors, including climatic variations and human activities.’ Land degradation means the reduction or loss of the biological or economic productivity of drylands. 70% of all drylands are classed as degraded ,excluding hyperarid deserts, and suffering desertification The scale and impact of Desertification The characteristics and vulnerability of dryland ecosystems Food production, supply and desertification

20 Drylands and desertification?
Drylands Include all terrestrial regions where the production of crops, forage, wood and other ecosystem services are limited by water. 41% of Earth’s land surface, 2 billion people ,33% of world population. Climate classified as dry subhumid, semiarid, arid or extreme hyper-arid. Precipitation often unreliable and sporadic hence ecosystems fragile and vulnerable to over use . On average low human well-being and development indicator: 90% are in developing countries. Asia and Africa dominate, with less areas in Central America and Europe. The top 10 are: Australia, China, Russia and USA Some smaller countries are almost 100% classed as dryland : Botswana, Burkina Faso, Turkmenistan, Iraq, and Moldova Desertification affects the food security of over 2billion people in drylands . Africa and Central Asia are particularly at risk, with 3 key areas of vulnerability in Sub-Saharan Africa: the Sahel, the Horn of Africa and SE Africa Salinisation is a linked problem

21 Causes of desertification
The Millennium Ecosystem Assessment identifies the cause as the result of a long-term failure to balance human demand for ecosystem services and the amount the ecosystem can supply See diagram for simplified complex causes Mismanagement and politics are often root causes Climate change is adding more complexity

22 Food production in dryland /desertified areas
Food production generally requires massive amounts of water. Examples: 1 kg of wheat needs 1000l of water 1 kg of rice needs 3,000l. Irrigation can ensure an adequate and reliable supply of water which increases yields of most crops by up to 400%. Although only 17% of global cropland is irrigated, it produces 40% of the world's food. Ongoing food availability depends on increasing irrigation efficiency and limiting environment damage through salinisation, damaged aquifers or reduced soil fertility Human population growth in drylands increased by 18.5% Sensitivity to human pressure increases with aridity Human pressure decreases with aridity

23 4. Management and Responses to Food insecurity
Strategies and techniques to increase global food supply-: high and low technology Organisations involved in management Role of sustainable strategies Do nothing (ignore the issue/risk of food insecurity) Move to a safer location –refugees/displaced people Attempt to prevent the risk- Adapt lifestyle to the hazard A strategy means the overall aims and tactics of a scheme, It is implemented by various delivery techniques involving a range of policies and actual technology. Food security management mirrors hazard risk management-see diagram

24 Management target zones
production processing access distribution consumption waste management Increasing food production leads to greater availability of food and generates income which can help break poverty cycles. However there is a huge spectrum of long and short term strategies. These may involve: Fairer trade, Reduced debt servicing, reduced subsidies to richer economies, Less tied aid, More community involvement, appropriate technology, infrastructure building.....

25 Players Profit Role in sustaining life of the margins Examples
Player + motive Role in sustaining life of the margins Examples Individuals e.g. Farmers Survival/ profit Direct producers of food Communities harbour stores of valuable local knowledge, coping strategies and innovation Their co-operation is critical to ensure environmental sustainability Fair Trade Government stability Funding for agricultural research and development Creating political and economic conditions creating stability of food supply Response during times of crisis. Often technocentric large scale projects e.g. China’s Great Green Wall, or UK overseas aid projects TNCs Profit Research and investment into new farming methods and technologies Resource exploitation and trade in cash crops, fertilizers and farm machinery GM Golden Rice Monsanto NGOs and Foundations -Philanthropic Community level support for farmers in the developing world Education, training and skills providers Many promote social equity, for instance female empowerment Practical Action ,Water Aid Emergency aid eg Oxfam The International Alliance Against Hunger Research Organisations Academic Scientific research on new species and systems Education and skills training of farmers The development of HYVs by IRRI AGRAs work on a ‘Green Revolution of Africa’ IGOs Eg UNEP & FAO Stability Promote international co-operation Implementation of global actions such as MDGs Monitoring and research to identify problems and seek solutions Development assistance and aid to the developing world World Bank’s Global Response Food Programme 1994 UN Convention on Desertification Watchdog pressure groups Environment Research and information gathering and Lobbying of agencies World Resources Institute USA Coalition Food SUSTAIN

26 Business as Usual or Sustainability in food security?
Seeking ways of providing food, water and energy that are long-lasting and have less of an impact on the environment has led to the quest for sustainable food supply systems ( the red star) need 3 overlapping criteria to work effectively. A well-functioning food system : Improves human health and social well-being Is positive for the environment and the economy long term Can therefore cope with shocks from natural and human created disasters. Difficult to achieve without some form of negative externalities Economic stability/growth Social equity & Health Environmental Health Food consumption Food production Food processing

27 World Food summit 2009 Aims of FAO and 180 member countries help for poorer farmers Strategies to halt rising food prices increase investment in science and technology, continue studying biofuels and cut the number of the world's hungry by half by 2015 The global food insecurity situation has worsened The number of hungry people could increase by a further 100 m in 2009 and pass the 1bn mark Food prices remain high in developing countries, The global economic crisis is aggravating the situation by affecting jobs and deepening poverty Is it possible to eat well and save the planet as promoted by pressure group SUSTAIN? Achievements Failures Some significant pledges of emergency food aid eg $1.5 billion US from the Islamic Investment Bank. A similar world hunger reduction target was made in 1996’s food summit. Between the number of the world's hungry has increased. No long term strategies for dealing with the crisis

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