The UN Food and Agriculture Organisation in its 2018 analysis of Sustainable Food System explain the food system to include all actors and consequent value-adding actions involved in food production, processing, and distribution. It also extends to the consumption, & disposal of food items that come from agriculture, fisheries, or forestry.
As such, all the processes that farm produce passes through from the point are a relevant part of the food systems.
The food system is essential to achieving food security in the world. However, despite the importance of the food system, many challenges still face it. For instance, it is influenced by the prevailing social, economic, political, and environmental reality. Also, the effects of both climate and non-climate factors threaten the food system, which then has multiple effects on food security.
With food systems, there are two types; the good conventional system and the alternative food system.
Conventional Food System
The conventional food system utilises economic models like global trade, vertical integration, and economic specialisation to lower cost and increase the production of farm crops by leaning towards production level that maximises efficiency.
The conventional food system has been applied for ages. As a result of this, it has had great impacts across different areas—one of the impacts being on consumers spending.
The conventional food system is, however, based on the availability of fossil fuel which powers the machines used to practice mechanised farming, produce foods and package same for consumers.
Alternative Food System
The alternative is often described as everything that falls outside and is not included in the conventional food system. One of its main purposes, experts opine, is to create a sustainable food system.
As important as the food system is, it still faces some challenges which threaten food security. Some of the factors that threaten the food system include;
Rapid population growth
The rapid upsurge in population growth has put a greater demand on food for the population. Asides this, land is also threatened as people continue to feel the urge to expand beyond their current situation. Many of these problems are prevalent in poor or developing countries where there are very little efforts channelled towards birth control or biodiversity preservation.
Environmental degradation also continues to threaten the food system around the globe. Particularly, many natural and human disasters such as wildfire, flooding, drought have negatively affected food system, which has consequently affected food security.
Although industrialisation is critical to development around the world, it has come with its own effects on the world. One of such effects is the one on the food system.
For instance, industrialisation would also be connected to the emission of greenhouse gas. Greenhouse gases in the atmosphere lower oxygen and affect plants in special ways. When plants are affected, there would be a low production yield, and this would influence good security globally.
Practically, the food system is an essential part of life on earth as it ensures food security. Thus, whatever threatens it should be collectively tackled before it has a ripped effect on good security and affect everyone.