VI on Food Security

 

Introduction

A nation’s population having physical social and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food that meets their dietary needs (for adequate growth, development and maintenance) and food preferences for an active and healthy life, at any given time is considered to be food secure (FAO, 1996; FAO, 2002). Household food security is the application of this concept to the family level, with individuals within households and families as the focus of attention.

Food insecurity exists when people do not have adequate physical, social or economic access to food. Undernourishment exists when caloric intake is below the Minimum Dietary Energy Requirement (MDER). The MDER is the amount of energy needed for light activity and to maintain a minimum acceptable weight for an attained height. It varies by country and from year to year depending on the gender and age structure of the population (WFP, 2007; WFP and FAO, 2010).

The theme Food Security has been identified as an issue of national importance and has been incorporated into the strategic plans of Ministry of Agriculture (Ministry of Agriculture, 2010) and Ministry of Technology and Research (Ministry of Technology and Research, 2010).

Food Security

When all members of a population, at any given time have physical and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food (i.e., food of high quality), that meets their dietary needs (for adequate growth, development and maintenance) and food preferences for an active and healthy life, that population is said to have food security (world food summit, 1996).

According to this definition, the following dimensions of food security can be identified:

1. Food Availability - The availability of sufficient quantities of nutritious food of high quality, supplied through local production or imports

2. Food accessibility - Power of purchase (economic stability) - Proper distribution of food commodities evenly

3. Use and utilization - Proper utilization of available food is very vital in securing food

4. Stability/ Resilience – Measures to overcome sudden shocks (economic or climatic crisis), cyclical events (seasonal crop failures)

Therefore, in the VI on Food Security, these four dimensions will be used as the basis for forming relevant programmes and consequent Clusters.

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