The issue of food accessibility in developing countries is one of the acutest questions discussed by scholars, governmental organizations, and businesses around the world. The problem of food insecurity as the result of a chain of economic, social, political, and environmental factors imposes hunger threat and is even aggravated by rapid population growth. South Africa as a developing country is exposed to an insufficient system of governmental departments’ cooperation that fails to resolve the issue. It is necessary to find practical solutions based on technologies to solve the problem of food insecurity as a complex concept that incorporates multiple aspects.
Food Insecurity and the Role of Population Growth in It
Food insecurity as the globally relevant issue has been recognized in the 1940s and since then was widely addressed by responsible agencies as a severe threat to the well-being of populations. According to Hendriks (2015), food insecurity is a multi-faceted problem that combines such issues as “social norms, individual behavior and stages in the human life cycle, food availability and quality” (p. 609).
The complexity of its manifestations imposes a variability of approaches to understanding the core of food insecurity. Overall, it concerns the lack of people’s access to food which is regarded as food security. This term is generally defined as a condition when “all people, at all times, have physical and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food … for an active healthy life” (Hendriks, 2015, p. 609). South Africa is exposed to food insecurity and needs to find ways to solve the problem.
The rapid population growth in the countries of the developing world, including South Africa, has its significant contribution to the problem of food insecurity. This connection is evident due to the increasing number of people inhabiting the territory of the country and the difficulties of everyone’s access to quality food. According to the statistical data, one in four people in Africa is lacking “adequate food to sustain an active and healthy life” (Hall, Dawson, Macdiarmid, Matthews, & Smith, 2017, p. 124). Such indicators signalize the future issues of malnutrition and health quality decline in the countries of the developing world. Thus, the ongoing increase in the population quantity in South Africa imposes more difficulties for food distribution and becomes a severe threat to the well-being of the citizens of the country.
The Factors Interrupting the Flow of Food from the Source to the People in South Africa
Since food insecurity is a multi-dimensional problem, there exist many factors that influence it. Although there are social, environmental, and political contributors to the complexity of the problem, the roots of this issue are in the insufficient economic and political advancement of the countries like South Africa. Indeed, the quantity of food produced in the world nowadays is enough for all people.
However, not everyone has access to it due to local obstacles such as governmental controlling programs or a weak system of interventions aimed at food distribution (Smit, 2016). To illustrate the economic factor, it is necessary to discuss the urban population lives in Africa. According to Smit (2016), people living in African cities greatly depend on purchased products rather than on ones produced in households. Thus, the accessibility and quality of food in the cities are connected with the system of production, distribution, and retailing procedures that are carried out for people’s consumption (Smit, 2016). However, poor neighborhoods cannot afford quality nutrition due to their financial incapability.
As for the government programs as a factor of food insecurity issue, it arises as to the result of system fragmentation that is manifested in disagreement in the actions of different public and private institutions. As a result, the agricultural system, which is vulnerable due to environmental changes, is exposed to decline. Food system governance has its political and organizational aspects and fails to be carried out accurately due to the dysfunctional collaboration of different organizations involved in the process (Termeera, Drimie, Ingram, Pereira, & Whittingham, 2018).
Different governmental departments initiate multiple programs that aim at the reconstruction of improvement of separate areas influencing food insecurity, including agriculture, environmental issues, and economic factors of price stabilization (Termeera et al., 2018). For example, there are programs of the Department of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries and the Department of Basic Education initiated in South Africa. However, all these initiatives work separately and lack unity in the planning of their actions.
Technology that Can Be Used to Reduce Hunger and Improve Food Security
The complexity of the food insecurity issue that leads to hunger might be resolved with the help of modern technologies. The task of the government is to apply integrated approaches to unify different spheres that influence food security in South Africa to resolve the issue successfully. One of the ways to reduce hunger in the country is to contribute to the development of the agricultural system allowing the farmers to produce a sufficient amount and quality of products. Different countries of the globe invest in technological advancement to “increase food production, process and storage” to establish food accessibility from within (Osabohien, Osabuohien, & Urhie, 2018, p. 157). The application of technology to agriculture might enhance the progress in agriculture and contribute to food security in South Africa.
Innovative approaches to technologically developed equipment usage will improve the performance of the farming sphere and will increase production rates. Indeed, access to qualitative innovative machinery will enable the farmers to save time and make their work more effective. Besides, it provides prospects for the private sector’s development that needs the government’s support. Also, information technologies and analytical programs might be utilized for the assessment of the distribution system to ensure relevant and just delivery of food to consumers.
The development in the farming system with the help of technology ensures “production of plant and animal breeding (including biotechnology), the introduction of new crops, livestock and fisheries, mechanization” (Osabohien et al., 2018, p. 157). Therefore, it is vital to apply technology to the agricultural system in South Africa to reduce hunger threats and improve food security.
Food insecurity as a multi-dimensional concept takes its roots in the growing population, environmental changes, and economic decline of the developing countries. It results in poorly governed agriculture, the lack of clarity in the distribution of food, as well as the inaccessibility of products due to financial reasons. Thus, it is vital to apply scientific approaches to analyze the causes of food insecurity in South Africa. The government should incorporate different programs into one integrated strategy to eliminate the threat. Overall, one of the ways to reduce hunger in the country is to apply technological innovations to the agricultural equipment to enhance the farming system’s growth that will enable the improvement of food security.
Hall, C., Dawson, T. P., Macdiarmid, J. I., Matthews, R. B., & Smith, P. (2017). The impact of population growth and climate change on food security in Africa: Looking ahead to 2050. International Journal of Agricultural Sustainability, 15(2), 124-135.
Hendriks, S. L. (2015). The food security continuum: a novel tool for understanding food insecurity as a range of experiences. Food Security, 7(3), 609-619.
Osabohien, R., Osabuohien, E., & Urhie, E. (2018). Food security, institutional framework and technology: Examining the nexus in Nigeria using ARDL approach. Current Nutrition & Food Science, 14, 154-163.
Smit, W. (2016). Urban governance and urban food systems in Africa: Examining the linkages. Cities, 58, 80-86.
Termeera, C., Drimie, S., Ingram, J., Pereira, L., & Whittingham, M. J. (2018). A diagnostic framework for food system governance arrangements: The case of South Africa. NJAS – Wageningen Journal of Life Sciences, 84, 85-93.