Rising population, state of food security

THE FAO defines food security as: “When all people, at all times, have physical, social and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food that meets their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life.” If we talk about the current status according to this definition, nearly one billion people are undernourished, hungry and living without adequate daily calories.

The most affected community is the one that was already living in poverty. The highest rate of population growth is in developing countries and 16% of the population in these countries remains undernourished.

Globally, 1 in 7 persons is chronically hungry which means he has been facing lack of enough food to be healthy and lead active life. The factors that hugely impact food security are the agricultural policies, the prices of certain food commodities such as meat and grain and economic development.

The demographic trends also play role a role in this. The demand for food increase with the increasing number of people which leads to additional use of arable land and water.

Especially in the absence of adequate food production technology and integrated programs that simultaneously address community needs for food and reproductive health; the food security condition have worsened.

The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) projects that by 2050, population and economic growth will result in a doubling of global demand for food. Seven countries Bangladesh, China, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, India, Indonesia and Pakistan; account for two-third of world’s undernourished population. Most of the countries with the highest numbers of people facing food insecurity also have high fertility rates and rapid population growth. Food production depends on croplands and water supply, which are under strain as human populations increase.

Short-term solutions to food insecurity include social protection programs such as food aid, both in emergencies and long term provision of supplies to those hardest hit by hunger. Investment in sustainable agricultural technologies able to support increased agricultural intensity will meet the demands of a growing population and adapt to the environmental constrains due to climate change.

Increased production of food alone will also not solve the world’s food security problem. Projections from the International Food Policy and Research Institute (IFPRI) suggest that slower population growth could significantly lower malnutrition along with increased agricultural productivity, economic growth and investment in health and education.

Because population trends will continue to affect the demand for food for decades to come, it is important that agricultural technologies be adopted to improve agricultural productivity and achieve greater food security.


Taimoor Chaudhary—Writer is a student of Arid Agriculture university Rawalpindi and writes about agricultural development for better economic growth.