Peace Disruption by Weaponisation of Food Security through the Passage of Time (Part 1)


Prof Hoosen Vawda – TRANSCEND Media Service

“There is Enough on this Planet for Everyone’s Needs but not for Everyone’s Greed.”[i]

Food Security! Is the future of these Children Guaranteed against food Insecurity?
Local school children eat their meals at the Ban Bor Primary School in Xay District, Lao People’s Democratic Republic.
Photo Credit: Manan Vatsyayana (14 May 2019)

 This paper, discusses food security and the history of food chain disruptions from antiquity to the 21st century and how empires, cities and towns have been decimated by weaponisation of food and water security[1] over the millennia.  In the present era, the invasion of Ukraine by Putin[2] has caused great peace disruption, not only in the lives of ordinary Ukrainians, but also the food supply chains, globally, in particular, in Africa, where this disruption has the greatest impact upon the disadvantaged peoples and already famished populations of Africa. In these regions, the food insecurity is adding to the scourge of infantile malnutrition, due to ongoing conflicts, droughts, flooding, other natural disasters and contagions.  No one should have to go hungry, especially in a world the wealthy are overindulging with food, causing them to develop non-communicable diseases[3] like Obesity, Diabetes Mellitus, Hypertension, Coronary Artery Disease, Dyslipidaemia and Gout. However, the sad reality is that more than 821 million people are currently suffering from hunger[4]. That is one in nine people on earth who go to bed without even a single decent meal.

To contextualise the challenge, it is necessary to remember that prior to President Putin’s full-scale invasion, Ukraine was the world’s 5th largest wheat exporter, 4th largest corn exporter and 3rd largest rapeseed exporter. Grain ordinarily accounts for 41% of Ukrainian export revenue, and almost two thirds of the grain exported by the country goes to the developing world.[5]

In July 2022, a wartime deal brokered by Turkiye and United Nations[6], allowed passage of large ships containing Ukrainian gran through the Black Sea, a safe transit, without being attacked by Russia.  However, on 17th July 2023, this deal was unilaterally cancelled by Russia[7] resulting in an enormous breakdown in food chain supplies to Africa and the rest of the world, with millions suffering from famine and malnutrition , especially in African countries. The deal was providing a lifeline for millions of people around the world who depend on Ukrainian grain exports. In its first year, the agreement enabled 33 million tonnes of food to reach those who needed it in 45 countries around the world. Putin’s decision to rip up the initiative has reduced global grain supply at a critical time for vulnerable people, “when prices rise, the poorest pay”.[8]  In addition, since July 2023, Russia has also damaged or destroyed at least 26 civilian port facilities, warehouses, silos and grain elevators, by regular drone attacks in Ukraine. These attacks have directly reduced Ukraine’s export capacity by one third and destroyed enough grain to feed more than 1 million people for an entire year.[9]

Alongside military efforts to deter Russian attacks, the UK will also contribute £3 million in funding for the World Food Programme to continue work started under President Zelenskyy’s ‘Grain from Ukraine’ initiative, which was established in November last year to send Ukrainian grain to countries whose people are suffering from the high global price of staple foods.

Main Photo: A grain warehouse heavily damaged by a Russian drone attack is seen at a compound of a port on the Danube, amid Russia’s attack on Ukraine, in Odesa region, Ukraine  August 16, 2023. Press Service of the Operational Command South of the Ukrainian Armed Forces/Handout via REUTERS
 Inset: Ukraine infrastructure minister Oleksandr Kubrakov, UN secretary-general António Guterres, Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Turkish defence minister Hulusi Akar at a ceremony agreeing the deal to export grain.
Photo Credit: Ozan Köse/AFP/Getty Images

In its first six months, the Grain from Ukraine programme allowed 170,000 tonnes of Ukrainian grain to be delivered to countries including Somalia and Yemen. The uplift in UK funding announced today will enable further grain shipments to go to countries in need as identified by the World Food Programme. Ukraine has been a hugely important source of food for the World Food Programme this year. This year- up until July when Russia pulled out of the Black Sea Grain Initiative- WFP procured 80% of its global wheat grain from Ukraine.[10]

At this point, it is necessary to define “Food Security”[11] in a holistic manner, for the purposes to of this publication.  The holistic approach to food security encompasses a comprehensive and integrated perspective on ensuring access to safe, nutritious, and sufficient food for all individuals and communities. At community level food security is defined as the condition whereby the residents in a community can obtain safe, culturally accepted, nutritionally adequate diets through a sustainable system that maximises community self-reliance. It recognises that achieving food security requires addressing multiple interconnected factors that affect food production, distribution, access, and utilization. This approach goes beyond the simple provision of food and considers various dimensions, including social, economic, environmental, and health aspects.

The key elements of the holistic approach to food security are:

Availability: Ensuring an adequate and sustainable food supply through improved agricultural practices, land management, water resources, and technology adoption to enhance food production and prevent crop losses.

Access: Facilitating physical and economic access to food for all individuals, particularly vulnerable populations, by addressing issues such as poverty, income inequality, market infrastructure, transportation, and food affordability.

Utilisation: Promoting the consumption of diverse, safe, and nutritious foods, and addressing issues related to food safety, hygiene, nutrition education, and cultural practices that influence food choices and dietary patterns.

Stability: Enhancing resilience and stability in food systems to mitigate risks and shocks, such as climate change, natural disasters, conflicts, and price volatility, to prevent disruptions in food availability and access.

Sustainability: Promoting sustainable agricultural practices that conserve natural resources, protect ecosystems, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and foster climate resilience for long-term food production while minimizing negative environmental impacts.

Governance and Policy: Establishing effective governance structures, policies, and institutions at the national and international levels to support food security, including regulatory frameworks, investment in agriculture, research and innovation, and international cooperation.

The holistic approach recognises the interconnectedness of these elements and emphasises the need for coordinated efforts across sectors and stakeholders, including governments, civil society, private sector, and international organisations, to address the complex challenges of food security and achieve long-term sustainable solutions.

The war in Ukraine, coupled with global climate change, with cyclonic weather patterns  have a significant impact on food security, both in terms of current agricultural practices and the future sustainability of food production. Here are some key ways in which climate change affects food security:

Crop yield and production: Rising temperatures, changes in rainfall patterns, and increased frequency and intensity of extreme weather events like droughts, floods, and storms can adversely affect crop yields. Heat stress, water scarcity, and changes in pests and diseases can reduce agricultural productivity, leading to lower crop production and food shortages.

Shifts in agricultural regions: Climate change can lead to shifts in suitable agricultural regions as temperature and precipitation patterns change. Some areas may become less conducive to certain crops, while others may experience increased suitability. This can disrupt existing agricultural systems, affecting farmers’ livelihoods and the availability of specific crops in certain regions.

Water availability and irrigation: Changes in rainfall patterns can result in water scarcity, affecting irrigation systems and reducing water availability for agriculture. Increased evaporation rates and changes in the timing and intensity of precipitation can exacerbate water stress, particularly in regions already facing water scarcity. This can have a detrimental impact on crop growth and productivity.

Food price and availability: Climate change-related impacts on agriculture can lead to fluctuations in food prices and availability. Reduced crop yields can drive up food prices, making nutritious food less affordable and accessible, particularly for vulnerable populations. This can contribute to food insecurity and malnutrition.

Livelihoods of small-scale farmers: Small-scale farmers, who often rely on rainfed agriculture, are particularly vulnerable to climate change impacts. Their livelihoods are closely tied to natural resources and weather conditions. Climate change-related disruptions can threaten their incomes, food security, and overall well-being.

Ecosystem disruptions: Climate change can disrupt ecosystems and ecological processes that are essential for food production, such as pollination and natural pest control. Changes in temperature and precipitation patterns can affect the timing and availability of natural resources and disrupt the delicate balance of ecosystems, thereby impacting agricultural productivity.

Addressing the impact of climate change on food security requires adaptation strategies such as developing climate-resilient crop varieties, implementing water management techniques, promoting sustainable agricultural practices, improving early warning systems, enhancing social safety nets, and fostering international cooperation to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions. These measures aim to build resilience in agricultural systems, ensure sustainable food production, and support the livelihoods of farmers and vulnerable communities.

While science has offered genetically modified food production technology, to mitigate the effects of peace disruption and climate change, Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) have been a subject of considerable debate when it comes to their impact on food security. GMOs are organisms whose genetic material has been altered through genetic engineering techniques. They are primarily used in agriculture to enhance crop characteristics, such as pest resistance, herbicide tolerance, and improved nutritional content.

The potential impact of GMOs [12]on food security can be viewed from different perspectives. Increased crop yields: GMOs[13] have the potential to increase crop productivity and yields through traits that confer resistance to pests, diseases, and adverse environmental conditions. This can contribute to improved food production, availability, and affordability, thereby enhancing food security.

Enhanced nutritional content: Genetic engineering can be used to improve the nutritional profile of crops, such as increasing the vitamin or mineral content in staple crops. This can address nutrient deficiencies and improve the nutritional quality of food, particularly in regions where access to diverse diets is limited.

Reduction in post-harvest losses: GMOs can be engineered to have traits that increase the shelf life of crops or improve their resistance to spoilage and damage during storage and transportation. This can help reduce post-harvest losses, ensuring more food reaches consumers and improving overall food security.

Environmental sustainability: Some GMOs are developed to be resistant to certain herbicides or engineered for more efficient nutrient uptake, which can reduce the need for chemical inputs and promote more sustainable farming practices. This may lead to reduced environmental impacts, such as pesticide use and soil erosion, contributing to long-term food security.

However, there are also concerns and challenges associated with GMOs that need to be addressed:

Environmental risks: GMOs have the potential to interact with non-GMO crops or wild relatives, leading to unintended ecological consequences. This includes concerns about gene flow, development of herbicide-resistant weeds, and impacts on beneficial insects or non-target organisms. Proper risk assessments and management strategies are necessary to minimize potential environmental risks.

Socioeconomic considerations: The adoption of GMOs can have social and economic implications, particularly for small-scale farmers. Issues such as access to seeds, intellectual property rights, market concentration, and dependence on seed suppliers can raise concerns about farmer livelihoods and agricultural diversity.

Consumer acceptance and transparency: GMOs have faced consumer scepticism and concerns about their safety, labelling, and potential long-term health effects. Ensuring transparency, clear labelling, and rigorous safety assessments are important for addressing consumer concerns and fostering trust.

Biodiversity and seed sovereignty[14]: Some critics argue that GMOs can contribute to the loss of agricultural biodiversity and consolidate the control of seeds in the hands of a few large corporations. Preserving biodiversity and promoting seed sovereignty are important considerations to maintain agricultural resilience and food security.

To fully understand the impact of GMOs on food security, it is crucial to consider a balanced assessment of their potential benefits and risks while implementing appropriate regulatory frameworks, ensuring rigorous safety evaluations, promoting transparency, and fostering inclusive dialogue amongst various stakeholders.

On another level, the question often raised in medical circles is, can GMO foods cause disease in Humans?[15] The scientific consensus is that genetically modified (GM) foods currently on the market are safe for consumption and do not pose a greater risk to human health than conventionally bred crops. Numerous scientific organizations and regulatory bodies worldwide have conducted extensive assessments of GM foods and have concluded that they are as safe as their non-GM counterparts.

The main points to consider regarding the safety of GMOs and human health, include:

Safety assessments: Before a genetically modified crop is approved for commercialisation, it undergoes rigorous safety assessments, including evaluation of potential allergenicity, toxicity, and nutritional composition. These assessments are conducted by regulatory authorities, such as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration[16] (FDA) in the United States, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA)[17] in Europe, and similar bodies in other countries. The assessments are based on scientific evidence and aim to ensure the safety of GM foods.

Scientific research: Numerous studies have been conducted to evaluate the safety of GM foods, and the vast majority of scientific research supports their safety. These studies have examined the potential effects of GM foods on human health, including short-term and long-term animal feeding studies, and have found no evidence of harm or increased risk of disease.

Allergenicity: One specific concern is the potential for GM foods to cause allergic reactions[18]. However, the regulatory approval process includes thorough allergenicity assessments to identify and evaluate potential allergens. To date, there is no documented case of an allergic reaction in humans attributed to a GM food on the market.

Substantial equivalence: The concept of substantial equivalence is often used in the safety assessment of GM foods. It means that a GM crop is compared to its non-GM counterpart, and if they are found to be substantially equivalent in composition and characteristics, the GM crop is considered to be as safe as the non-GM crop.

Consensus among scientific organizations: Leading scientific bodies, including the World Health Organization (WHO), the National Academy of Sciences (NAS), and the American Medical Association (AMA), have issued statements affirming the safety of GM foods based on extensive scientific evidence.

While GMOs have been widely studied and deemed safe, it is important to note that ongoing monitoring and research are necessary to assess any potential long-term effects. Regulatory frameworks and scientific evaluations continue to evolve to ensure the safety of GM crops and their products.

It is worth noting that individual experiences or anecdotes should not be the sole basis for drawing conclusions about the safety of GMOs. Scientific consensus, based on comprehensive research and rigorous safety assessments, provides the most reliable information on the topic.  Some critics state that it a great idea to deforest and use land for GMO crops, in order to feed the hungry world, in a sustainable manner.

The question of deforestation and land use for GMO crops to address global hunger is complex and requires careful consideration of multiple factors. While GMO crops can play a role in increasing agricultural productivity, it is important to evaluate the potential environmental and social impacts associated with deforestation.

Here are some key points to consider:

Environmental impact: Deforestation contributes to the loss of biodiversity, habitat destruction, and increased greenhouse gas emissions, which can exacerbate climate change. Clearing land for agriculture, including GMO crops, can lead to environmental degradation, soil erosion, and water pollution. Therefore, it is crucial to prioritize sustainable agricultural practices that minimize the negative environmental impacts, such as adopting agroecological approaches, promoting conservation agriculture, and preserving existing forests.

Land availability: The conversion of forests or other natural ecosystems for agricultural use, including GMO crops, can lead to the loss of valuable land resources. Ensuring the availability of suitable land for food production while preserving ecologically sensitive areas is essential. It is crucial to consider alternative strategies such as improving land use efficiency, reducing food waste, and promoting sustainable intensification practices to optimize existing agricultural land.

Socio-economic considerations: Addressing global hunger requires not only increased food production but also addressing issues related to poverty, access to resources, and social inequality. It is crucial to prioritize inclusive and sustainable agricultural development that supports small-scale farmers, promotes local food systems, and empowers communities. Investments in infrastructure, education, and market access can help enhance food security and livelihoods without relying solely on deforestation.

Diverse strategies: Solving global hunger requires a multifaceted approach that goes beyond solely focusing on GMO crops or deforestation. Emphasising diversified and resilient agricultural systems, promoting agroecology, supporting small-scale farmers, improving post-harvest handling, and investing in rural development can all contribute to long-term food security without solely relying on expanding agricultural land.

In summary, deforestation for agricultural purposes, including GMO crops, should be approached cautiously to mitigate environmental impacts and prioritize sustainable land use. It is important to consider a holistic approach that integrates environmental sustainability, social equity, and long-term food security objectives. By promoting sustainable agricultural practices, protecting existing forests, and addressing social and economic factors, it is possible to work towards a world where hunger is addressed without causing undue harm to the environmental ecosystems, globally.

It is also important to appreciate that large scale cattle farming in deforested land increases greenhouse gasses and contributes to  global warming?

Cattle farming, particularly intensive or industrial livestock production, can contribute to greenhouse gas emissions and contribute to global warming in several ways:

Methane emissions: Cattle, specifically ruminant animals like cows, produce methane as a by- product of their digestive process. Methane is a potent greenhouse gas with a significantly higher global warming potential than carbon dioxide (CO2). The methane produced by cattle is released through burping and flatulence, and it can accumulate in the atmosphere, trapping heat and contributing to global warming.

Deforestation for grazing land and feed crops[19]: Expanding cattle farming often involves clearing forests to create grazing pastures or to grow crops for animal feed. Deforestation releases large amounts of stored carbon into the atmosphere, contributing to CO2 emissions. Additionally, the loss of trees and vegetation reduces the Earth’s capacity to absorb CO2 through photosynthesis, exacerbating the greenhouse effect.

Manure management: Large-scale cattle farming generates significant amounts of manure, which can release methane and nitrous oxide (another potent greenhouse gas) during storage and management. Improper handling and storage of manure can lead to the release of these gases into the atmosphere.

Energy use and emissions associated with production: Cattle farming requires substantial energy inputs for activities such as feed production, transportation, and processing. The production and distribution of fertilizers, pesticides, and other inputs for feed crops also contribute to greenhouse gas emissions.

Water and resource use: Cattle farming is water-intensive, requiring significant amounts of water for drinking, feed production, and cleaning. The energy used to pump, treat, and distribute water contributes to greenhouse gas emissions. Moreover, the production of feed crops requires large amounts of land, water, and other resources, contributing to overall environmental pressures.

Reducing the environmental impact of cattle farming and mitigating its contribution to global warming can be achieved through various strategies:

Improved livestock management: Implementing practices such as improved diets, better breeding, and optimizing animal health can help reduce methane emissions from cattle.

Sustainable land use: Protecting forests and promoting sustainable agricultural practices that minimize deforestation, such as agroforestry and rotational grazing, can help mitigate greenhouse gas emissions associated with cattle farming.

Manure management: Implementing effective manure management systems, such as anaerobic digesters or composting, can help capture and utilize methane emissions from manure while minimizing their release into the atmosphere.

Transition to more sustainable farming systems: Encouraging agroecological practices and diversifying farming systems, such as integrating crops and livestock or promoting regenerative agriculture, can help reduce environmental impacts and increase the resilience of farming systems.

Reduced consumption: Encouraging reduced meat consumption or promoting plant-based diets can have a positive impact on reducing the demand for cattle farming and associated greenhouse gas emissions.

It is important to note that not all cattle farming practices have the same impact on greenhouse gas emissions. Sustainable and regenerative livestock management practices, as well as efforts to reduce deforestation and improve land use, can help minimize the environmental footprint of cattle farming while contributing to global efforts to address regional as well as global climate change.

It seems to be an arduous task to answer the rhetorical question: Can the hungry of the world’s population ever be fed adequately, or are the food agencies fighting a futile battle, as there is enough food to feed the world but NOT the GREED of the world?  Feeding the world’s population adequately is a complex and multifaceted challenge, but it is not an impossible task. While there are certainly obstacles to overcome, it is important to recognize that the issue of global hunger is not solely due to a lack of food availability. It is influenced by a combination of factors, including poverty, inequality, conflicts, political instability, inadequate infrastructure, and inefficient food distribution systems.

Some key points to consider:

Food production capacity: The world currently produces enough food to feed the global population. However, challenges such as post-harvest losses, inefficient supply chains, and unequal distribution hinder the equitable access and availability of food for all. Improving agricultural practices, investing in infrastructure, and addressing supply chain inefficiencies can help enhance food production and distribution.

Poverty and inequality: Poverty is a major underlying cause of food insecurity. Insufficient income and limited access to resources prevent individuals and communities from accessing an adequate and nutritious diet. Addressing poverty through inclusive economic growth, social safety nets, and targeted interventions can help improve food security.

Conflict and instability: Ongoing conflicts and political instability in certain regions disrupt food production, distribution, and access. Conflicts displace populations, disrupt markets, and destroy infrastructure, making it challenging to ensure food security in these areas. Resolving conflicts and promoting peace are crucial steps toward addressing hunger and allowing for effective food assistance and development interventions.

Sustainable agricultural practices: Promoting sustainable and resilient agricultural practices, such as agroecology, conservation agriculture, and climate-smart farming, can enhance productivity, protect natural resources, and build resilience to climate change. These practices can contribute to long-term food security while mitigating environmental impacts.

Social and policy interventions: Comprehensive strategies are needed to address the root causes of hunger. These include investments in education, healthcare, gender equality, rural development, and improved governance and policy frameworks. Empowering small-scale farmers, enhancing access to credit and markets, and strengthening social protection systems can also help improve food security.

While greed and unequal distribution are challenges that need to be addressed, it is important to note that feeding the world’s population adequately requires a collective effort involving governments, international organisations, civil society, and the private sector. Cooperation, sustainable development, and a focus on social justice are essential to overcoming these challenges and achieving global food security.

It is worth emphasising that progress has been made in reducing global hunger over the years, but continued commitment and action are needed to ensure a world where everyone has access to sufficient, safe and food that can sustain an adequate state of nutrition, in the future., across the globe in a sustainable manner.

There is a possibility that, if there is food insecurity within the next decade, due to climate change, there will be a global population growth decrease, by extrapolation.  The relationship between food insecurity, climate change, and global population growth is complex and multifaceted. While projections suggest that climate change could exacerbate food insecurity in certain regions, the impact on global population growth is not solely determined by food availability.

The key points to consider, are:

Regional disparities: Climate change impacts on food security are expected to vary across regions. Some areas may experience increased agricultural productivity, while others may face significant challenges, such as reduced crop yields, water scarcity, and increased frequency of extreme weather events. These regional disparities can influence migration patterns, population movement, and localized population growth or decline.

Socioeconomic factors: Population growth is influenced by a range of socioeconomic factors, including access to education, healthcare, family planning services, economic opportunities, and social and cultural norms. Improvements in these areas, along with efforts to reduce poverty and inequality, can impact population growth rates.

Adaptation and resilience: Building resilience and adaptive capacity to climate change can help mitigate its impact on food security and, by extension, population dynamics. Implementing sustainable agricultural practices, investing in climate-smart technologies, and improving water management systems can enhance food production and support population well-being.

Demographic transitions: Many regions of the world are already undergoing demographic transitions characterized by declining birth rates and slowing population growth. Factors such as urbanization, increased access to family planning, improved education for women, and socioeconomic development contribute to these transitions. These trends can continue irrespective of food security challenges linked to climate change.

It is essential to recognize that addressing food security and climate change requires a comprehensive approach that encompasses sustainable agricultural practices, social and economic development, poverty reduction, education, and improved governance. By investing in these areas, we can not only mitigate the impacts of climate change on food security but also contribute to positive population dynamics.

While climate change may pose challenges to food security, it is important to avoid simplistic extrapolations or assumptions about the relationship between food insecurity, climate change, and population growth. Comprehensive strategies that address the underlying drivers of food insecurity and prioritise sustainable development can help shape population dynamics in the future.  The relationship between food insecurity, climate change, and global population growth is complex and multifaceted. While projections suggest that climate change could exacerbate food insecurity in certain regions, the impact on global population growth is not solely determined by food availability.

The key points to consider, are:

Regional disparities: Climate change impacts on food security are expected to vary across regions. Some areas may experience increased agricultural productivity, while others may face significant challenges, such as reduced crop yields, water scarcity, and increased frequency of extreme weather events. These regional disparities can influence migration patterns, population movement, and localized population growth or decline.

Socioeconomic factors: Population growth is influenced by a range of socioeconomic factors, including access to education, healthcare, family planning services, economic opportunities, and social and cultural norms. Improvements in these areas, along with efforts to reduce poverty and inequality, can impact population growth rates.

Adaptation and resilience: Building resilience and adaptive capacity to climate change can help mitigate its impact on food security and, by extension, population dynamics. Implementing sustainable agricultural practices, investing in climate-smart technologies, and improving water management systems can enhance food production and support population well-being.

Demographic transitions: Many regions of the world are already undergoing demographic transitions characterized by declining birth rates and slowing population growth. Factors such as urbanisation, increased access to family planning, improved education for women, and socioeconomic development contribute to these transitions. These trends can continue irrespective of food security challenges linked to climate change.

It is essential to recognise that addressing food security and climate change requires a comprehensive approach that encompasses sustainable agricultural practices, social and economic development, poverty reduction, education, and improved governance. By investing in these areas, we can not only mitigate the impacts of climate change on food security but also contribute to positive population dynamics.

While climate change may pose challenges to food security, it is important to avoid simplistic extrapolations or assumptions about the relationship between food insecurity, climate change, and population growth. Comprehensive strategies that address the underlying drivers of food insecurity and prioritize sustainable development can help shape population dynamics in the future.  Another principle is that the more the populace is nourished, the greater will be the reproduction rate.  Hence, there will be a time when the population growth graph will become a “J” shaped configuration.   The concept you are referring to is known as the “population J-curve”[20] or the “J-shaped population growth curve.” It represents a hypothetical scenario where, as a population’s nutritional and health conditions improve, there is an initial increase in population growth followed by a stabilization at a higher level. However, it is important to note that this concept is an oversimplification and does not accurately reflect the complexities of population dynamics.

The key points to consider regarding the J-shaped population growth curve, are:

Demographic transition[21]: Population growth is influenced by a complex interplay of factors, including fertility rates, mortality rates, and migration. In many countries, there has been a transition from high birth rates and death rates to lower birth rates and death rates, resulting in a more stable population growth rate. This transition is commonly referred to as the demographic transition.

Fertility decline[22]: As societies undergo economic development, improvements in education, healthcare, and access to family planning contribute to a decline in fertility rates. Increased availability and use of contraceptives, changes in social norms, and women’s empowerment are factors associated with declining birth rates.

Impact of nutrition: Adequate nutrition is an important aspect of population health and well-being, but its impact on population growth is not solely deterministic. While improved nutrition can contribute to better overall health and reproductive capabilities, it does not necessarily lead to higher birth rates in all contexts.

Socioeconomic factors: Population dynamics are influenced by a wide range of socioeconomic factors, including education, employment opportunities, gender equality, access to family planning, and cultural norms. These factors interact in complex ways, and their impact on population growth is highly context-specific.

Environmental constraints: The carrying capacity of an ecosystem, determined by its available resources and environmental constraints, can limit population growth. Environmental factors, including access to food, water, and arable land, can act as limiting factors that influence population dynamics.

It is important to note that population growth rates are influenced by a combination of factors, and no single factor, such as nutrition, can solely determine population growth patterns. The J-shaped population growth curve is a simplified representation that does not account for the complexities of demographic transitions and the multidimensional nature of population dynamics.

Understanding population dynamics requires consideration of multiple factors, including socioeconomic development, education, healthcare, access to family planning, and environmental sustainability. Policies and interventions aimed at promoting sustainable development, improving health and education, empowering women, and addressing inequalities can contribute to balanced and sustainable population growth.

China is also the largest grain consumer in the world[23]. Given its large population, China’s grain consumption is substantial. The country has a high demand for grains to meet domestic needs, including food consumption, livestock feed, and industrial uses. China’s growing middle class and changing dietary preferences have contributed to increased grain consumption in recent years.

However, it is necessary to note that grain consumption patterns can vary over time, and other countries like India, the United States, and Brazil also have significant grain consumption due to their large populations and agricultural needs. It is recommended to refer to the latest reports and data from agricultural and statistical organizations for the most up-to-date information on global grain consumption.

It is also well documented fact that in first world countries, an enormous amount of food is wasted, while in developing countries, the poor scavenge food from domestic and restaurant waste bins, on a daily basis.

At this point it is necessary to highlight the scriptural narrations of the Abrahamic religions on measure which were taken to ensure food security in antiquity. The story of Joseph and his dreams in the Bible[24], particularly in the book of Genesis, is a famous narrative that involves themes of food security during a period of drought. A summary of the story:

Archeological excavations of most likely Joseph’s Grain Storage Silos in Ancient Egypt, as narrated.  in the Abrahamic Scriptural books.
The food provided for the people in need. God always provides for His people.

Joseph’s Dreams and His Journey to Egypt:

Joseph was one of the twelve sons of Jacob (also known as Israel). He was favored by his father, which caused jealousy and resentment among his brothers. Joseph had two significant dreams that played a crucial role in the story:

The Sheaves of Grain: In Joseph’s first dream, he saw himself and his brothers binding sheaves of grain in a field. His sheaf stood upright while his brothers’ sheaves bowed down to it. This dream symbolized his future authority and power over his brothers.

The Sun, Moon, and Stars: In his second dream, Joseph saw the sun, the moon, and eleven stars bowing down to him. This dream represented his future leadership, not only over his brothers but also over his entire family.

Joseph’s brothers, angered and envious of these dreams, plotted against him. They eventually sold him into slavery and told their father that he had been killed by a wild animal.

Joseph in Egypt:

Joseph was taken to Egypt, where he was sold as a slave to Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh. Through a series of events, including being wrongly accused of a crime, Joseph was thrown into prison. However, his ability to interpret dreams caught the attention of Pharaoh.

Joseph’s Interpretation of Pharaoh’s Dream:

Pharaoh had two troubling dreams. In the first, he saw seven fat cows being devoured by seven lean cows, and in the second, he saw seven healthy ears of grain consumed by seven withered ears. None of Pharaoh’s wise men could interpret these dreams.

Joseph, known for his gift of dream interpretation, was brought before Pharaoh. He explained that the dreams were a divine message from God, warning of seven years of plenty followed by seven years of severe famine in Egypt and the surrounding lands. Joseph advised Pharaoh to appoint a wise and capable man to oversee the collection and storage of surplus grain during the years of plenty to prepare for the years of famine.

Impressed by Joseph’s wisdom, Pharaoh appointed him as the ruler of Egypt, second in authority only to Pharaoh himself. Joseph’s responsibilities included overseeing the collection and storage of grain during the years of plenty.

Food security during the famine was instrumental in saving the kingdom from starvation. Joseph’s leadership during the years of plenty ensured that Egypt accumulated vast stores of grain. When the famine eventually struck, not only Egypt but also people from surrounding regions came to Egypt to buy grain. Joseph’s brothers, who had sold him into slavery, also came to Egypt in search of food.

Joseph recognised his brothers but initially concealed his identity. He tested them to see if they had changed and whether they would treat their younger brother Benjamin well. Eventually, he revealed himself to them, forgave them, and arranged for his entire family to relocate to Egypt, where they could find relief from the famine.

The story of Joseph in the Bible, with its themes of dreams, jealousy, forgiveness, and food security, is a powerful narrative. It highlights how foresight and wise leadership, as well as divine intervention, can ensure food security during times of scarcity and crisis. Joseph’s role in Egypt’s food storage and distribution not only saved Egypt from famine but also reconciled him with his family, fulfilling the dreams he had seen years earlier.

Impact of the Biblical Anecdote in the 21st Century:

Lesson in Foresight and Preparedness: The story of Joseph in Egypt serves as a timeless lesson in the importance of foresight, preparedness, and responsible governance in addressing contemporary challenges. In the 21st century, this narrative can be seen as a reminder of the need to plan for and mitigate the impact of various crises, including natural disasters, economic downturns, and public health emergencies. Governments, organisations, and individuals can draw inspiration from Joseph’s approach to managing periods of abundance and scarcity. The story highlights the value of long-term thinking and responsible resource management in ensuring food security and overall resilience in the face of adversity.

Inclusion of the Story in Holy Scriptures:

The story of Joseph and his experiences in Egypt is included in the Book of Genesis, which is a foundational text in the Bible and an important part of the religious and cultural heritage of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. It is included in holy scriptures for several reasons:

Spiritual and Moral Lessons: The story of Joseph contains numerous moral and spiritual lessons. It explores themes of faith, forgiveness, family, humility, and divine providence. It teaches believers about the importance of trust in God’s plan and the value of forgiveness and reconciliation.

Historical and Cultural Significance: The narrative also has historical and cultural significance. It provides insights into the ancient world, including social structures, governance, and the challenges faced by people in different times. It helps to preserve cultural and historical knowledge.

Foreshadowing Divine Providence: For believers, the story of Joseph can be seen as foreshadowing divine providence and God’s plan for humanity. It demonstrates how God can work through individuals, even in difficult circumstances, to fulfill a greater purpose.

Literary and Narrative Value: Beyond its religious significance, the story of Joseph is recognized for its literary and narrative qualities. It is a well-crafted story with elements of drama, suspense, and character development that make it engaging and memorable.

Moral and Ethical Guidance: Many of the actions and decisions made by the characters in the story serve as examples, both positive and negative, from which readers can draw moral and ethical guidance.

In summary, the inclusion of the story of Joseph in holy scriptures serves a multifaceted purpose, combining spiritual, historical, cultural, and moral dimensions. It provides a rich source of inspiration and guidance for individuals and communities seeking to navigate the complexities of life and faith.

In the present-day context Joseph’s strategy may be regarded as food hoarding.  Joseph’s actions in the biblical narrative were not exactly advocating food hoarding as it might be understood in a contemporary context. Instead, his actions can be seen as a form of prudent and responsible governance in response to divine guidance and a specific crisis.

In the biblical story, Joseph interpreted Pharaoh’s dreams about seven years of plenty followed by seven years of famine as a divine message and a warning of the impending crisis. He recommended that Egypt should store surplus grain during the years of plenty to prepare for the years of famine. This storage and preparation can be likened to modern concepts of strategic food reserves and emergency preparedness.

The important points to consider:

Proactive Planning: Joseph’s recommendation was not driven by a desire to profit from food shortages but rather by a proactive plan to mitigate the suffering that would result from famine. It was a response to a specific crisis scenario revealed in the dreams.

Responsible Governance: As the appointed leader responsible for managing this effort, Joseph ensured that grain was collected systematically during the years of plenty and then distributed during the years of famine. This approach helped to prevent severe food shortages and starvation.

Public Welfare: Joseph’s actions can be seen as an early example of responsible governance aimed at safeguarding the welfare of the population. His approach sought to balance the needs of the present with the need to prepare for an uncertain future.

Divine Guidance: In the context of the story, Joseph’s interpretation of Pharaoh’s dreams was viewed as divine guidance. He saw it as a message from God, and his actions were guided by this belief.

In summary, while the biblical narrative of Joseph does involve food storage, it is not an endorsement of food hoarding for profit or speculative purposes. Instead, it illustrates a responsible and compassionate approach to governance and crisis management during a time of great need. It emphasizes the importance of foresight and preparedness to address food security challenges. Interestingly, the story of Joseph, also known as the story of Yusuf in Islamic tradition, is narrated in both the Torah (the first five books of the Hebrew Bible) and the Quran. While there are similarities in the overall narrative between the two texts, there are also some differences in details and emphasis, reflecting the distinct perspectives and purposes of each scripture.

In the Torah[25] (Genesis): The story of Joseph is found in the Book of Genesis, chapters 37 to 50. It recounts the life of Joseph, the favored son of Jacob (Israel), his dreams, his betrayal by his brothers, his journey to Egypt as a slave, and his eventual rise to power as a vizier in Pharaoh’s court. The story highlights themes of family, jealousy, reconciliation, and God’s providence. It does not contain explicit references to Islamic elements found in the Quran.

In the Quran (Surah Yusuf): [26]The Quran contains a surah (chapter) titled “Yusuf” (Surah 12), which is devoted entirely to the story of Joseph. While the core narrative of Joseph’s life is similar to that in the Torah, the Quranic version includes additional details and interpretations. It emphasizes moral and spiritual lessons, such as the importance of patience, trust in God, and forgiveness. The Quran also highlights the righteousness of Joseph and his commitment to God’s guidance.

In both the Torah and the Quran, the story of Joseph/Yusuf is considered significant and is often cited as an example of faith, resilience, and divine intervention. It serves as a source of moral and ethical teachings and is highly regarded in both Jewish and Islamic traditions. It is important to note that while the core narrative is similar, there are variations in the details and emphasis between the two texts, reflecting their respective religious and cultural contents.

However, food hoarding, whether by governments, communities, wholesalers, retailers, or individuals, can have significant consequences in the 21st  century, both positive and negative. The impact of food hoarding varies depending on the scale, intent, and context of the hoarding. Some of the key impacts are:

Positive Impacts:

Emergency Preparedness: Food hoarding can serve as a form of emergency preparedness. Governments and communities may stockpile food and essential supplies to ensure they have enough resources to provide for their populations during natural disasters, pandemics, or other emergencies. This can help mitigate immediate food shortages during crises.

Price Stability: In some cases, strategic food reserves held by governments or organizations can help stabilize food prices in times of market volatility or supply disruptions. These reserves can be released to the market when needed to prevent extreme price fluctuations.

National Security: Governments often maintain strategic food reserves as a matter of national security. Ensuring a stable food supply is crucial to a country’s self-sufficiency and independence.

Negative Impacts:

Market Distortion: Excessive food hoarding by large entities or individuals can distort markets. It can lead to artificial shortages, higher prices, and reduced access to food for those who cannot afford inflated prices. This can exacerbate food insecurity for vulnerable populations.

Waste and Spoilage: Hoarded food can go to waste if it is not properly managed and rotated. Perishable items may spoil, and non-perishables can become unusable if not stored correctly. This waste is not only economically costly but also environmentally detrimental.

Inequity: Food hoarding can exacerbate social and economic inequalities. When individuals or entities hoard food for profit or speculative purposes, it can lead to unequal access to food resources. Vulnerable populations may suffer the most in these situations.

Supply Chain Disruption: Hoarding can disrupt the normal flow of goods within supply chains. When large quantities of food are removed from the market and stored, it can create bottlenecks, impacting the timely distribution of goods.

Loss of Public Trust: Excessive or unjustified food hoarding can erode public trust and lead to social unrest. It can be seen as a selfish act that prioritizes individual or corporate interests over the welfare of the broader community.

Misallocation of Resources: Resources used for hoarding, such as storage facilities and transportation, could potentially be used more efficiently for other purposes, including improving food distribution systems or reducing food waste.

In summary, the impact of food hoarding in the 21st century is multifaceted. While strategic reserves and responsible emergency preparedness can be beneficial, excessive or speculative hoarding can have detrimental effects on food security, market stability, and social equity. Balancing the need for preparedness with responsible and equitable distribution of resources is essential to minimize negative impacts. Regulations and policies may be necessary to prevent or mitigate harmful hoarding practices, especially when they threaten the well-being of vulnerable populations.

It is relevant to highlight, the philosophies as scripturally narrated and practiced by the major religions of the world regarding food security and service to humankind, in general, in this publication.

Hinduism, as one of the world’s oldest religions[27], encompasses a wide range of beliefs and practices, and it does not have a single, unified stance on issues related to food security and availability. However, there are some important principles and practices within Hinduism that can be related to food security and availability:

Ahimsa[28] (Non-violence): Ahimsa is a fundamental principle in Hinduism that advocates non-violence and compassion towards all living beings. This principle extends to how Hindus view and treat animals. Some Hindus are vegetarians or follow a vegetarian diet as a way of practicing ahimsa, believing that avoiding harm to animals contributes to ethical and moral living.

Vegetarianism: While not all Hindus are vegetarians, a significant proportion of the Hindu population follows a vegetarian diet. This dietary choice is often influenced by religious and ethical considerations, including beliefs about karma and reincarnation.

Sattvic Diet[29]: In Hinduism, there is a concept of different types of diets, with the sattvic diet being the most pure and conducive to spiritual development. A sattvic diet consists of pure, fresh, and light foods, often vegetarian, and is believed to promote mental clarity and spiritual growth.

Fasting: Hindus practice fasting on various occasions, including religious festivals. Fasting can be a way to develop self-discipline and spiritual focus, and it often involves abstaining from certain foods.

Food as a Offering (Prasada): In Hindu temples and households, food is often offered to deities as a gesture of devotion. This food, known as prasada, is then distributed to devotees as a blessing. This practice emphasizes the sacredness of food and the idea of sharing blessings with others.

Community and Sharing: Hinduism places importance on community and charity (dāna). Many Hindus and Hindu organizations engage in charitable activities, including providing food to those in need. The act of sharing food with others is considered a virtuous and spiritually uplifting practice.

Environmental Awareness: Some contemporary Hindu leaders and organizations promote environmental awareness and sustainability. This includes advocating for responsible stewardship of natural resources, which can have implications for food security in the face of environmental challenges.

It is important to note that Hinduism is not a monolithic tradition, and beliefs and practices related to food can vary among different sects, communities, and individuals. While some Hindus prioritize vegetarianism and ethical treatment of animals as a means of promoting food security and ethical living, others may have different dietary preferences and interpretations of these principles.

In summary, Hinduism contains various principles and practices related to food, including vegetarianism, non-violence (ahimsa), and sharing food with others. These principles can influence individual dietary choices and attitudes toward food security and availability, but they are not universally followed by all Hindus.

Sufism[30], the mystical and spiritual dimension of Islam, places significant emphasis on compassion, selflessness, and the service of humanity. Sufi orders often engage in charitable activities, including the establishment of “langars” (free community kitchens) where food is distributed to those in need. These langars are inspired by the Sufi values of selflessness, generosity, and the love of God through service to others.

Sufism, through its practice of langars[31], reflects and says about food security:

Compassion and Service: Sufism encourages its followers to embody compassion and selfless service to humanity as an expression of their love for God. Serving free meals to those in need through langars is seen as a practical way to demonstrate this compassion.

Inclusivity: Langars are open to people of all backgrounds, regardless of their religious, social, or economic status. This inclusivity reflects the Sufi belief in the universality of spiritual truths and the idea that all people are equal in the eyes of God.

Erasing Differences: Sufism seeks to transcend societal divisions and distinctions, and langars play a role in erasing differences by bringing people from diverse backgrounds together to share a meal. This fosters a sense of unity and brotherhood.

Eliminating Hunger: By providing free food, Sufi langars contribute to addressing the immediate issue of hunger and food insecurity in communities. They help ensure that those who are less fortunate have access to nutritious meals.

Spiritual Connection: Sufis often view acts of service, including preparing and serving food in langars, as a means to draw closer to God. It is seen as a way of purifying the heart and soul.

Humility: Engaging in manual labor in the langar, such as cooking or serving, is a practice that emphasizes humility. Sufis believe that humility is essential for spiritual growth and closeness to God.

Community Building: Langars serve as community hubs where people come together not only to eat but also to connect, socialize, and build relationships. They contribute to a sense of community and mutual support.

In essence, Sufism, through the practice of langars and similar charitable initiatives, underscores the importance of addressing food security as a practical manifestation of the love for God and compassion for humanity. The act of sharing food with others is viewed as a sacred and spiritually enriching practice that aligns with the core values of Sufism.

In Buddhist philosophy[32], particularly the practice of alms-round and the non-storage of food by monks and nuns, offers several valuable lessons and principles that can be applied to the general community. These lessons have both personal and societal implications:

Simplicity and Non-Attachment: The practice of not storing food emphasizes the value of simplicity in one’s life. In a world often driven by consumerism and excess, it reminds us that happiness and contentment can be found in simplicity and non-attachment to material possessions.

Mindfulness and Gratitude[33]: Begging for food mindfully and receiving it gratefully is a practice in being fully present in the moment and appreciating the generosity of others. It encourages the cultivation of gratitude and mindfulness in daily life, which can lead to greater emotional well-being.

Interdependence: The non-storage of food highlights the interdependence of individuals within a community. In a society where self-sufficiency is often emphasized, recognizing our reliance on others for various aspects of life, including food, can foster a sense of connection and cooperation.

Reducing Food Waste: In contrast to societies that frequently waste food due to overconsumption or inefficient distribution, the Buddhist practice of non-storage minimizes food waste. This has positive environmental and ethical implications, as it reduces the resources needed for food production and disposal.

Encouraging Generosity: The act of giving food to monks and nuns during alms-round is an expression of generosity (dana) and a source of spiritual merit in Buddhism. The general community can learn from this practice by embracing generosity in their own lives, whether through charitable giving or acts of kindness to others.

Mindful Consumption: The Buddhist practice of not storing food encourages mindful consumption. It discourages hoarding and overconsumption, promoting a more thoughtful and balanced approach to one’s relationship with food.

Reducing Environmental Impact: Non-storage of food aligns with sustainability principles by reducing the environmental impact associated with food storage and preservation. It can serve as a model for reducing resource consumption in modern societies.

Strengthening Community Bonds: The practice of alms-round fosters connections between the monastic community and the lay community. It encourages interaction and mutual support, which can strengthen community bonds and social cohesion.

Incorporating these lessons from Buddhist philosophy into everyday life can lead to a more mindful, compassionate, and sustainable approach to living. While not all aspects of Buddhist practice are directly transferable to other cultural and religious contexts, the underlying principles of simplicity, gratitude, interdependence, and generosity can be universally valuable for individuals and communities.

Additionally, the non-storage of food practiced by monks and nuns may inspire reflection on the importance of reducing food waste and adopting more sustainable practices in food production, distribution, and consumption in broader society.

The image of a round or obese monk might seem contradictory to the perception that monks, especially those in Buddhist traditions, practice moderation and mindful eating. However, there can be several reasons for this observation:

Medical and Genetic Factors: Some individuals naturally have a tendency to gain weight or face medical conditions that contribute to obesity. These factors can affect monks, just like anyone else.

Lifestyle: While monastic life emphasizes simplicity and moderation, it doesn’t necessarily guarantee a consistently healthy lifestyle. Some monks may face challenges in maintaining a balanced diet due to the food that is offered to them or their own dietary choices. They may also have limited opportunities for physical exercise, depending on their specific monastic routines.

Cultural and Regional Variations: Dietary customs and food availability can vary widely among Buddhist traditions and regions. In some cultures, the offerings made to monks may include foods that are high in calories or less nutritious. Additionally, certain cultural practices may encourage monks to consume generous portions.

Changes Over Time: Monastic communities, like any other communities, can evolve and adapt to changing circumstances. In some cases, changes in dietary habits or lifestyle within a monastery may lead to variations in the physical appearance of monks over time.

Individual Choices: Monks are individuals with their own choices and preferences. While there are guidelines and rules regarding food consumption in monastic communities, not all monks may adhere to them strictly. Some may make personal choices that impact their weight and health.

It is important to remember that monks, like all people, have diverse backgrounds, habits, and health conditions. While the monastic lifestyle promotes simplicity and mindfulness, it doesn’t guarantee uniform outcomes in terms of physical appearance or health. The appearance of a particular monk should not be taken as an indicator of their level of spiritual practice or adherence to monastic principles, as these aspects are deeply personal and go beyond outward appearances.

In extreme cases, there is a process called “Sokushinbutsu[34].” Sokushinbutsu is a rare and extreme practice observed by certain Buddhist monks, primarily in Japan, with the goal of achieving enlightenment and salvation through self-mummification, by starvation, to death. It is important to note that this practice is extremely uncommon and has been prohibited by Buddhist authorities for centuries due to its extreme nature and potential for harm.

An overview of the process of Sokushinbutsu[35] is:

Austerities: The process begins with a period of intense asceticism and austerities. The monk follows a strict regimen of fasting, meditation, and physical hardships to purify the body and prepare for mummification.

Dietary Restriction: The monk gradually reduces his food intake, transitioning from a regular diet to a diet consisting of nuts, seeds, and other natural substances with preservative qualities. This step aims to reduce the body’s fat and moisture content, making it less susceptible to decomposition.

Drinking Toxic Tea: To further dehydrate the body, the monk consumes a toxic tea made from the sap of the Urushi tree (commonly used for lacquerware) and other herbs. The tea induces vomiting and diarrhea, helping to expel bodily fluids.

Sealing in a Tomb: After weeks or months of these preparations, the monk enters a tomb or underground chamber, usually in a meditative posture. The tomb is sealed, leaving a small air tube and a bell that the monk can ring to signal that he is still alive.

Meditation and Chanting: Inside the tomb, the monk engages in deep meditation and chanting, focusing on his spiritual journey toward enlightenment. This phase may last for several years.

Death and Mummification: When the monk dies, his fellow monks seal the tomb completely. Over the years, the monk’s body naturally mummifies due to the extreme dehydration and the sealed environment.

Sokushinbutsu is considered an extraordinary and extreme form of spiritual practice, undertaken by a very small number of Buddhist monks in specific sects, most notably the Shingon and Tendai sects of Japanese Buddhism. It is important to emphasize that this practice is neither a mainstream nor accepted form of Buddhist practice. In fact, it has been condemned by Buddhist authorities, and in Japan, it has been illegal for centuries.

Modern ethical and medical considerations regard Sokushinbutsu as a form of self-harm and suicide, and it is considered a relic of the past rather than a legitimate spiritual path. In modern times, preservation of historical Sokushinbutsu mummies is carried out as a cultural and historical practice, but the practice itself has long been discontinued.

Food security also marine and aquatic security as well, and this aspect is often referred to as “marine food security” or “aquatic food security.”[36] Food security, in a comprehensive sense, encompasses access to safe, sufficient, and nutritious food from various sources, including the world’s oceans, seas, rivers, and freshwater bodies. An amplification of the importance of marine and aquatic food security for human well-being is:

Diverse Food Sources: Marine and aquatic ecosystems are rich sources of diverse and nutritious food, including fish, shellfish, seaweed, and other aquatic organisms. These resources contribute significantly to global diets, particularly in coastal regions and island nations.

Protein and Nutrition: Fish and seafood are excellent sources of high-quality protein, essential amino acids, vitamins (such as vitamin D and B vitamins), and minerals (including omega-3 fatty acids, iodine, and selenium). Incorporating these foods into diets can improve overall nutrition and health.

Global Food Supply: Aquatic ecosystems provide a substantial portion of the world’s food supply. Fish, in particular, are a crucial protein source for billions of people, especially in developing countries. Sustainable fisheries management is essential to ensure a consistent and reliable supply of fish for human consumption.

Livelihoods and Economies: Fishing and aquaculture provide livelihoods for millions of people worldwide, from small-scale artisanal fishers to larger commercial operations. The seafood industry also contributes significantly to local and global economies.

Cultural and Traditional Significance: In many coastal and island communities, marine and aquatic foods have deep cultural and traditional significance. They play a central role in culinary traditions and social gatherings.

Biodiversity and Ecosystem Health: Ensuring marine and aquatic food security requires responsible and sustainable management of these ecosystems. Sustainable practices protect biodiversity, preserve ecosystem health, and maintain the long-term availability of aquatic resources.

Climate Change Resilience: Aquatic ecosystems are affected by climate change, including ocean warming and acidification. Ensuring aquatic food security involves addressing the impact of climate change on marine and freshwater environments to maintain food production.

Food Safety and Quality: Ensuring the safety and quality of seafood products is critical for public health. This includes monitoring for contaminants, ensuring sustainable fishing practices, and minimizing foodborne illnesses related to seafood consumption.

Global Demand and Supply Chain: The global seafood supply chain is complex, with seafood products often exported and imported across international borders. Ensuring food security in this context requires international cooperation, regulation, and monitoring to prevent overfishing and illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing practices.

In summary, marine and aquatic food security is a vital component of overall food security, contributing to nutrition, livelihoods, cultural heritage, and economic well-being for many communities around the world. Sustainable management and responsible consumption of aquatic resources are essential to ensure their availability for current and future generations.

Global and oceanic warming have significant impacts on marine food security, affecting both the availability and quality of seafood resources. These impacts are multifaceted and have far-reaching consequences for both the environment and human populations that rely on marine and aquatic food sources. Here are some key effects:

Altered Ocean Ecosystems[37]: Rising sea temperatures can disrupt marine ecosystems by affecting the distribution and behavior of marine species. Many species of fish and other aquatic organisms have specific temperature ranges they prefer, and as waters warm, they may move to different areas in search of suitable conditions. This can disrupt traditional fishing patterns and impact the availability of certain species.

Changes in Fish Stocks: Warming oceans can lead to shifts in the distribution and abundance of fish stocks. Some species may thrive in warmer waters, while others may decline or migrate to cooler regions. This can affect the catch potential for fisheries and the availability of certain species for human consumption.

Coral Bleaching: Rising sea temperatures can cause coral bleaching events, which harm coral reefs. Coral reefs are critical habitats for many fish species, and their decline can have cascading effects on the entire marine food chain. Reduced coral health can lead to lower fish populations and less reliable catches for coastal communities.

Ocean Acidification[38]: Increased carbon dioxide (CO2) levels in the atmosphere, which contribute to global warming, are also absorbed by the oceans, leading to ocean acidification. This can harm marine organisms with calcium carbonate shells or skeletons, including some shellfish species. Reduced shellfish populations can impact the availability of these food sources.

Disruption of Reproduction and Migration: Changes in ocean temperatures can disrupt the reproductive and migratory patterns of marine species. For example, some species of fish may alter their spawning locations or timing in response to temperature changes, affecting the predictability of catches for fishermen.

Increased Disease Risk: Warmer waters can facilitate the spread of diseases and parasites among marine organisms. This can weaken fish populations and reduce their overall health.

Economic Impact: Marine food security is not only a matter of food availability but also economic stability for many coastal communities and nations. Disruptions in fisheries can have severe economic consequences for regions heavily dependent on seafood industries.

Food Security for Vulnerable Populations: Many coastal and island communities, especially in developing countries, rely heavily on seafood as a primary protein source. Changes in the availability and affordability of seafood can impact the food security and nutrition of these vulnerable populations.

Climate-Induced Migration: In some cases, climate-induced changes in marine food security can contribute to human migration, as people may need to relocate due to reduced fish stocks or economic instability in their traditional fishing communities.

To address these challenges, sustainable fisheries management, responsible aquaculture practices, and international cooperation to mitigate climate change are critical. Efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and promote resilient marine ecosystems are essential for maintaining marine food security in a warming world.

Coastal fisherfolk in Tamil Nadu, India, sift through the wreckage of their village following the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami, causing a great food insecurity in the affected regions and Peace Disruption.
Photo Credit: FAO/Ami Vitale

Bottom Line is that the phrase “Feed the world, not the greed” is a commonly used slogan and does not have a specific attributed source. It is often employed by various individuals, organizations, and movements to emphasise the importance of prioritising global food security and addressing issues of inequality and greed in relation to food production and distribution.

The phrase reflects the idea that there is enough food available to feed the global population adequately, but challenges such as unequal distribution, poverty, and greed can hinder access to food for many people. It serves as a reminder to focus on the collective goal of providing nutritious food for all, rather than allowing greed and inequitable systems to impede progress towards achieving food security.  The world’s largest grain producer is China. China has consistently been one of the largest grain-producing countries, including staple grains such as rice, wheat, and corn. China’s large agricultural sector and extensive cultivation areas contribute to its significant grain production. However, it is important to note that agricultural production can vary from year to year due to various factors like weather conditions, market dynamics, and government policies. It’s always advisable to consult the latest reports and data from agricultural and statistical organizations for the most up-to-date information on global grain production.

While the exact origin of the phrase may be difficult to trace, it has become a rallying call for advocates and organisations working to address hunger, poverty, and social justice in the context of food systems.

The threat to global food security is influenced by a complex interplay of both man-made factors and natural disasters. It’s challenging to categorically rank one as more significant than the other, as they often intersect and amplify each other’s impacts. However, both types of factors are indeed significant and pose substantial risks to food security:

Man-Made Factors:

Conflict and Instability: Armed conflicts and political instability can disrupt food production, distribution, and access. This often leads to food shortages and humanitarian crises. Conflict can also result in the displacement of populations, further straining food resources.

Economic Disparities: Poverty and economic inequalities can limit access to food for vulnerable populations. High food prices and income disparities can lead to food insecurity, even in regions with sufficient food production.

Food Waste and Distribution: Food waste at various stages of the supply chain, from production to consumption, is a significant man-made factor contributing to food insecurity. Inefficiencies in food distribution systems can also lead to unequal access to food.

Environmental Degradation: Man-made factors, such as deforestation, overexploitation of natural resources, and pollution, can degrade ecosystems and reduce agricultural productivity. Poor land management practices can lead to soil erosion and degradation.

Climate Change (Partially Man-Made): While climate change itself is influenced by natural factors, it is accelerated by human activities, particularly the release of greenhouse gases. Climate change disrupts weather patterns, increases the frequency of extreme weather events, and affects crop yields and water availability.

Natural Disasters:

Droughts: Prolonged droughts can lead to water scarcity, reduced crop yields, and food shortages. Regions with inadequate water management systems are particularly vulnerable.

Floods: Flooding can damage crops, contaminate water sources, and disrupt transportation and distribution networks, leading to food supply interruptions.

Cyclones and Hurricanes: These extreme weather events can cause extensive damage to infrastructure and agricultural areas, resulting in food production setbacks.

Pests and Diseases: Natural outbreaks of pests and diseases can devastate crops and livestock, threatening food production and livelihoods.

In conclusion, both man-made factors and natural disasters play significant roles in global food security challenges. The interactions between these factors can exacerbate vulnerabilities, making it essential to address both dimensions in efforts to ensure food security. Comprehensive strategies, such as sustainable agricultural practices, disaster preparedness, poverty reduction, and climate change mitigation, are crucial for mitigating these threats and ensuring access to safe, sufficient, and nutritious food for all.

Hunger is increasing in many countries where economic growth is lagging, particularly in middle-income countries and those that rely heavily on international primary commodity trade. The annual United Nations 2019, report also found that income inequality is rising in many of the countries where hunger is on the rise, making it even more difficult for the poor, vulnerable or marginalized to cope with economic slowdowns and downturns.

“We must foster pro-poor and inclusive structural transformation focusing on people and placing communities at the centre to reduce economic vulnerabilities and set ourselves on track to ending hunger, food insecurity and all forms of malnutrition,” the UN leaders said.[39]

The Plight and Anguish of a Mother with her Severely Malnourished Child, not knowing when and where the next meal will be!
Photo Credit: World Health Organisation, Food and Agriculture



[i] Quote by Mahatma Gandhi:                                                                                            










































Professor G. Hoosen M. Vawda (Bsc; MBChB; PhD.Wits) is a member of the TRANSCEND Network for Peace Development Environment.
Director: Glastonbury Medical Research Centre; Community Health and Indigent Programme Services; Body Donor Foundation SA.

Principal Investigator: Multinational Clinical Trials
Consultant: Medical and General Research Ethics; Internal Medicine and Clinical Psychiatry:UKZN, Nelson R. Mandela School of Medicine
Executive Member: Inter Religious Council KZN SA
Public Liaison: Medical Misadventures
Activism: Justice for All


This article originally appeared on Transcend Media Service (TMS) on 18 Sep 2023.

Anticopyright: Editorials and articles originated on TMS may be freely reprinted, disseminated, translated and used as background material, provided an acknowledgement and link to the source, TMS: Peace Disruption by Weaponisation of Food Security through the Passage of Time (Part 1), is included. Thank you.

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