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Changing Dimensions of Food Security in a Globalized World: A Review of the Perspectives for Environment, Economy and Health

Author Affiliations

  • 1Department of Environmental Science, University of Calcutta, INDIA 2B.C. Guha Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology, University of Calcutta, Kolkata-700019, INDIA

Int. Res. J. Environment Sci., Volume 2, Issue (3), Pages 67-73, March,22 (2013)


With the change of time, income growth, globalization, urbanization, high energy prices, shifting diets and climate change are transforming food consumption, production and markets. The global food crisis is affecting the structures of the human society severely and pushing millions of people into poverty and malnutrition. Recent increases in the prices of the main agricultural commodities have increased the number of hunger affected people from 850 million to 963 million all over the world. Additionally, climate change is making the platform of food insecurity more strong. Increased rainfall amounts and intensities are leading to greater rates of soil erosion, whereas increasing problem of drought in some areas affects agricultural productivity tremendously. Rising sea levels are threatening coastal aquifers and adjoining groundwater systems, which in turn, is affecting the irrigation systems and food security. In Africa and Latin America many rain fed crops are near their maximum temperature tolerance, so that yields are likely to fall sharply for even small climate changes; falls in agricultural productivity of up to 30% over the 21st century are projected. Sea level rise in the Nile delta can change the water quality, can affect many freshwater fishes, can increase the salinity of the groundwater and also can inundate the fertile agricultural lands. The water from the melting Himalayas annually supports the production of over 514 million tonnes of cereals, equivalent to nearly 55.5% of Asia’s cereal production and 25% of the world production today. Melting of glaciers in Himalayas can highly reduce the agricultural productivity of India. Additionally, new biotechnological methods have been recently used to improve the quality and quantity of foods in our globalized world to meet the demands exponentially increasing world population. Genetically modified organisms are produced by specific changes introduced into their DNA by genetic engineering techniques. There is a growing concern that introducing foreign genes into edible plants may have an unexpected and negative impact on human health. By inserting genes from organisms which have never been eaten as food, new proteins with unexpected functions are introduced into the human and animal food chains. The new varieties of genetically modified seeds can increase the price of seeds, which can raise the question of affordability of the poor farmers of the developing countries. The technology can execute a devastating effect on the economy and food security of the farmers in developing world and can eventually destroy the locally adapted, inexpensive traditional crop varieties. Understanding food systems in modern socio-cultural context is essential for designing sustainable food production and marketing for adequate human consumption.


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