How to solve the food problem in the world?
In 2017 the Rabobank introduced ‘Banking for food’. This new idea basically is the vision of the Rabobank on food security and what role the bank has in it. The security of food supply is something that affects us all. Entrepreneurs in agriculture and large food chains have to produce more food with less land and raw materials. The global food problem consists of the lack of food provision for the Earth’s population. It manifests itself primarily in the poorest countries of the Third World and is currently aggravating as the populations of these countries grow. The total number of people suffering from this lack of food is over one billion people worldwide. The fact is that population growth outpaces the growth of agricultural production and the development of agricultural technologies. But what can companies do to save the world from a lack of food?
The global food problem consists of the lack of food provision for the Earth’s population
According to WHO (World Health Organization) and FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization), the human daily norm should be 2,400 – 2,500 kilocalories, while other estimates give a higher figure: 2,700 – 2,800 kilocalories. Undernourishment is visible when a person consumes less than 1,800 kilocalories, while starvation comes when their daily norm drops below the critical mark of 1,000 kilocalories a day. Lack of food, or the poor quality of it, causes a negative impact on people’s health, labour force quality, and productivity, i.e. it prevents economic growth. This also causes social and political conflicts both in the regions suffering from food problems and other areas all over the world. Food security consist of different aspects: production, access to food, for example by income, and the nutritional value. All these aspects are dependent on price fluctuations and climate change.
Food security consist of different aspects: production, access to food, for example by income, and the nutritional value
There are different solutions for the world food problem. For example, improving the availability of food. The productivity of farmers must therefore improve. This can be done by wider and better applying existing knowledge and technologies. Or by stimulating innovations, in fields as genetics, precision agriculture and new applications for agricultural products and residual streams (biobased). A different solution is improving the access to food. People must have some access to food, either economically and physically. This has to do with disposable income, food prices and the availability and quality of the infrastructure. Next to improving the availability and the access to food, the food has to be balanced and healthy. It has to be safe and full of valuable nutrients.
An important condition for these changes is stability. Stability is necessary to ensure sustainable access to good and safe food. Decreases and increases in prices and supply of agricultural products and food can have major consequences for food security. Companies have several options to counter the world food problem. They can invest in sustainable projects, for example finance companies so they can improve and develop their technologies or invest in research into alternative ways of food production. But there are also a lot of smaller things companies can do. They could sell only biological food in their canteen or only buy fair trade coffee beans if such a large project would be too costly for the company.
Stability is necessary to ensure sustainable access to good and safe food
In the light of this global problem the Rabobank has launched ‘Banking for Food’. Rabobank was founded in 1898 on the basis that cooperative approach with farmers would be the best for everyone. Agriculture and food have been and will remain the heart of their business. They are not only a bank that finances agriculture and agribusiness, but also a bank that encourages and co-operates connections and cooperation within the value chains for agricultural products. Working together is their history and their vision. This is why they launched their new project ‘Banking for Food’. In which they want to tackle all of the possible ways to ensure a safer future regarding food for everyone. More than ever, they think we need cooperation to meet the global food challenge. They contribute to more sustainable feeding of the world, they offer access to finance, knowledge and networks for many small enterprises that struggle to meet the ever increasing demand for food.
The world food problem is something that has impact on everyone. We have to come up with a solution. Some companies, like Rabobank, are working on a solution. But all companies should follow. It’s a big problem that only can be solved by collaboration. If everyone contributes, we can solve the problem and make sure everyone has the ability to eat healthy and safe food. Together we can make a change.Marieke Rijpkema 11-04-2018
Josling, T., 2002. The world food problem: National and international aspects. Food PolicyVolume 1, Issue 1, 3-14
Rabobank (2018). Banking for Food: visie op voedselzekerheid en de rol van de Rabobank. Geraadpleegd op 6 april 2018 van https://www.rabobank.com/nl/about-rabobank/food-agribusiness/vision-banking-for-food/index.html.
Planetary Project Serving Humanity (2018). The global food problem. Geraadpleegd op 6 april 2018 van http://planetaryproject.com/global_problems/food/