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The Global Food Crisis

The Global Food Crisis

In an economic sense, people who try to improve the living conditions must also cope with the physical problems that the world is in. The world population is increasing day by day, and accordingly, the natural resources are gradually decreasing due to reasons such as ineffective consumption etc. In addition, globalization, which is known as economic growth and removal of the borders with the developing technology; and the negativities brought by the changing living standards due to urbanizing, which is one of the consequences of all these, are among the factors that stimulate these crises. The outcomes of all these manifest itself as global economic and food crises.

Although there are quite many problems that accompanied the globalization process, the food crisis is the most important one, for it directly affects the survival of human beings. Today, the rise in food prices globally has turned into a global crisis. Stimulated by the political and economic instabilities in various regions, this situation has become even more chronic in many regions.

The food crisis is the inability of individuals to access the foodstuffs that they need for normal growth, development and most importantly for an active and healthy life. The underlying cause of this crisis is related to the changing supply and demand equilibrium of foodstuffs. Economic growth of countries, decreasing in agricultural production and stockpiles, rising oil prices, poverty, epidemics, wars, conflicts, climate change are all the factors that stimulate the so-called crisis.

A research conducted in 2017 shows that around 124 million people worldwide are facing chronic starvation. This number was 108 million people in 2016. Myanmar, Nigeria, South Sudan, Yemen, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Syria are just a few of the countries where the food crisis is most prevalent. In Nigeria's northeastern provinces, South Sudan, Somalia, and Yemen, the number of people with food insecurity, which was 27 million in 2016, increased to 32 million in 2017. These people are also in need of urgent humanitarian aid.

As mentioned above, there are lots of factors which stimulate the food crisis. Wars and conflicts are also among these factors. Today, in nearly 18 countries, the number of people unable to access food has exceeded 74 million, as it is affected by armed conflicts. When this situation examined in particular for the continents and countries, it is seen that 11 countries in Africa have a chronic food crisis. This corresponds to approximately 37 million people. The situation in the Middle East is not different from Africa. For example, in Yemen, 17 million people are starving and in need of urgent help. The conflicts taking place in Syria, Iraq, and Palestine have been deteriorating the living conditions of the people of the region day by day. The official numbers show that over 10 million people in these regions are exposed to food insecurity. The wars in Asia and the climate-related disasters also cause millions of people to face the food crisis, as in the Middle East and Africa. In Afghanistan and Myanmar, for example, many of the people have been losing their lives every day for they cannot feed enough. However, independent sources indicate that the actual situation is worse than these current numerical data set out.

The transfer of global aboveground and underground resources to the industrial channels, along with the global warming caused by pollution due to industrial wastes and the disadvantages caused by disasters such as drought, floods etc. caused by climate changes are increasing the size of the food crisis.

The most fundamental reason for this situation is that human beings have not been able to achieve harmony between economic development and nature. Research shows that climate disasters, especially drought, food insecurity are among the main initiators in 23 countries. In this context, it is known that 39 million people suffer from nutritional problems and need urgent humanitarian aid. Two-thirds of the mentioned countries are in Africa. The number of people suffering from food insecurity in this region is about 32 million. There are 3 million people in Latin America and the Caribbean who try to maintain their lives vis a vis food insecurity as they are affected by natural disasters. The number of people suffering from food problems in South Asia is about 3 million due to similar circumstances.

Among the causes of the food crisis, the economic growth rates of the countries have an important place. Today, many countries in the world are experiencing high growth rates. The economic growth figures in China and India which have a particularly crowded population, are striking. For example, China's economic volume has been expanded to 6.56% in the first quarter of 2018. In India, this rate is 7.36%. This is a serious threat to food safety in the world as these sudden growth rates in developing countries directly increase consumption in the country. On the other hand, due to economic developments, the population flow from rural to urban is increasing day by day. Research shows that 66% of the world's population will be urban by 2050. This migration situation is one of the factors that contribute to the food crisis because the people change their consumption habits.

The diversity of industrial post-agricultural products that emerged with economic globalization, which began in the years following World War II, also changed the consumers' habits of consumption. Grain-based production and consumption demands in the past caused a supply-demand relationship based on meat, milk, fruit, and vegetables as a result of the changing and developing technological possibilities in agriculture. This has led many people to abandon traditional eating and drinking habits in much geography. The most obvious example of this is in Asia. Asian peoples having grain-based nutritional habits are starting to use much more calorie and protein products today. This tendency is predicted to increase further in the future. These consumption habits of the Asian peoples' nutrition also reflect their production in agriculture. 

The food problem, which poses a serious threat to the world societies, can cause internal conflicts and confusion in many geographies. Food insecurity, both as one of the results and as a driving force of conflict, leads millions of people to lose their lives. In particular, children are exposed to diseases such as pudginess due to malnutrition. People who cannot access enough food in a qualitative and quantitative sense can lose their lives because of the epidemic diseases they are caught. However, food insecurity causes many people to leave their homeland and migrate to other countries in many geographies. These migrations, especially those which are due to climate changes, environmental disasters, and war situations, lead to instability and confusion in the regions where the migrants live.

This problem which affects millions of people's lives at present, must be urgently addressed in order to protect the future of the human race. In this sense, measures should be taken to mitigate the effects of the crisis and to remove the adverse effects of rising food prices. The developing countries should also strengthen their agricultural policies and increase infrastructure investments in this regard. Against global warming and global climate change, every country should take its own measures and create action plans for environmental risks. The hunger problem that emerges in poor geographies should be resolved in the short term with urgent humanitarian aid made in this geography and the political and economic development of the mentioned societies should be ensured in the long term. In this sense, the major responsibility is for the developed countries and the United Nations.

Otherwise, it would not be wrong to say that the current food insecurity will create conditions which are to prepare the grounds on which the conflicts will increase. Researches state that the number of people displaced due to the hunger problem is increasing day by day. In short, if the ruling elite of the international community does not develop effective policies about how to feed 9 billion people, the present chaotic situation in the world seems to be getting deeper.