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Aquaculture, Food Security, and Hunger in the Developing World


*Image Source: Pexels

The World Health Organization reports that hunger and malnutrition remain the most pressing issues that dominate the poor and needy, especially in the globe’s poorest countries. Thirty percent of children, adults, adolescents and infants within the developing world are victims of various kinds of malnutrition. This is a direct violation of the fundamental human right to proper food and nutrition and freedom from hunger and malnutrition, where everything is possible to solve this grave concern.

Malnutrition has grave consequences that include disability, delayed mental and physical growth, and death. This eventually leads to a non-progressive socio-economic development. Children under five years of age have 10 million deaths every year because of malnutrition. Deficiency in iodine is the single most preventable cause of brain damage and mental retardation and deficiency in vitamin A is the single greatest preventable reason of blindness in childhood. Obesity is also rampant in many developing countries with fifty percent of the adult population affected with heart disease, hypertension, diabetes, and stroke.

Food security in relation to Hunger

United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Mary Robinson emphasized that food and nutrition rights are violated on such a heavy scale. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) reports that 790 million people in developing nations and 34 million in developed countries are not eating sufficient food to meet their basic nutritional needs.  

Food security is defined by FAO as  “access by all people at all times to the food needed for a healthy and active life.” The concern is that food must be available regularly in order to achieve food security. FAO reiterates that food insecurity and chronic undernutrition are caused by a combination of factors that include low productivity in agricultural, year-to-year and highly seasonal food supply variability, and deficiency in off-farm opportunities in employment.

One of FAO’s main programs is to destroy if not lessen poverty and food insecurity by placing food security as its priority in its agenda. Activities in the program include improving food supply stability, food production increase, an increase in employment in rural communities, and providing greater access to food supplies. FAO Constitution has an objective which is to ensure the freedom from hunger of humanity. Aligning with this has resulted to FAO launching a Special Program for Food Security and focused on Low-Income Food-Deficit Countries(LIFDC). These are countries that are unable or lacks the ability to import their food needs.

The World Food Summit recommends the group effort at all levels to increase access to food in86 LIFDCs and raise production of food in November 1996 in Rome. The objective is to decrease the number of malnourished people by half in 2015.

The Summit adopted a Plan of Action that ensures enabling conditions, producing food, improving food access, increase the role of trade, invest in food security, and deal with a disaster.

Poverty is concluded to be one of the major reasons of food insecurity. Thus, access to food requires the eradication of poverty.

Aquaculture as the poor’s source of income and sustainable food source

There are various food production systems in the world. One of these is aquaculture, which is defined as the farming of aquatic plants and animals. Aquaculture is eyed as an important tool in fighting against poverty and malnutrition in developing countries. In addition to that, it is considered to be a local benefactor of animal protein that is of high quality and/or a supplier of opportunities for employment and cash income.

In line with this great news, aquaculture has remained to be the fastest-growing food production sector in the world for almost twenty years. An estimated 11 percent overall growth rate since 1984 in comparison with 3.1 percent for terrestrial farm animal meat production and 0.8 percent of landings from capture fisheries.

With these data, the world’s greatest concerns that include poverty and food insecurity can be resolved by focusing on aquaculture.

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