Global food security continues to be a challenge faced in different parts of the world, especially with growing populations and other concerns contributing to this. The goal of global food security is to make sure that all nations have the ability to feed their populations adequately. The three pillars of food security are the availability of food, the economic access to the food, and nutritional intake and consumption, which relate to the ability to take in the food and absorb its nutritional content.
A Food Security Crisis
The United States is leading many efforts to ensure global food security. Some of the challenges to this include growing numbers of people requiring such assistance with the world’s growing populations, economic challenges such as unemployment, conflict or war, and natural disasters such as drought, floods, and hurricanes. Other areas of concern include water, air, and land pollution, global warming, climate change, and unsustainable farming practices.
There are going to be an estimated 9 billion mouths to feed by the year2050. This task requires a combined effort to devise unique strategies and techniques to make sure that adequate food supplies with the right nutrition are available. The United Nations, as one of its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for the year 2030, includes ending hunger, achieving food security and improved nutrition, and promoting sustainable agriculture.
Science and Technology Contributions
Science and technology research and development play an important role in promoting food security at all the different stages. Researchers have been working on improving agriculture techniques to improve production for a very long time. Many startup companies and funded research programs are also looking to address these global issues.
Some of the key ways that science and technology can impact food security include ways that improve agricultural production and yields, looking at different alternatives to existing foods, and reducing food wastage. There are many concepts being explored to address all these issues. Many are still in the development or piloting stage, while others have already been launched and are producing great results.
Urbanization and development mean that more people are moving to built-up cities and towns and more infrastructure is being built. Urban agriculture has the goal of bringing the farm to the city. These techniques often utilize advanced technology systems to make farming in built-up areas successful. Examples of this include rooftop gardens, aquaponics, hydroponics, and vertical gardens.
To improve agricultural production and yields, some of the methods that can be used include training and education, smart systems for crop and soil monitoring, drone technology, improved irrigation systems, better fertilizer usage, and using better seed varieties. Agronomists are constantly researching better seed strains so that desirable qualities such as disease resistance, drought resistance, and faster growing periods can be attained.
Food alternatives can also provide a unique set of solutions. One example of this is the production of beef alternatives using plant-based proteins being carried out by some companies. Cattle-rearing is an old field that goes back to when animals were first domesticated. Without carefully monitoring, large-scale cattle rearing can continue to contribute to unsustainable farming practices. Some of the main challenges include excessive production of methane gas, which contributes to global warming, and huge volumes of waste.
As plant-based diets continue to gain in popularity, this could have positive effects on the environment. The research aimed at cutting down the growth time for plants using carefully controlled environments such as advanced greenhouses also has a lot of potential. Another approach to the food crisis is reducing the wastage of food, and on this point, everyone can make a difference in their own home and spheres of influence. All this must be achieved without putting a massive strain on the Earth, its resources, and the environment that we live in.