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Food - Global patterns

Global Patterns of food surplus and deficit


Across the globe we now produce a huge amount of food in different regions and countries which is transported globally.  Countries use their geographic advantages to specialise in different food stuffs which can be consumed locally and/or sold internationally.  There is enough food for EVERYONE on the globe to have enough to eat, unfortunately this food is not DISTRIBUTED EQUALLY. This leaves countries and places in one of 2 states;

Areas of DEFICIT have Food insecurity - Being without reliable access to a sufficient quantity of affordable, nutritious food. More than 800 million people live every day with hunger or food insecurity.
Areas of surplus have Food security - When people at all times have access to sufficient, safe, nutritious food to maintain a healthy and active life.

Key words


Famine -A widespread, serious, shortage of food. In the worst cases it can lead to starvation and even death.

Food insecurity - Being without reliable access to a sufficient quantity of affordable, nutritious food. More than 800 million people live every day with hunger or food insecurity.

Food security - When people at all times have access to sufficient, safe, nutritious food to maintain a healthy and active life.

Undernutrition - This occurs when people do not eat enough nutrients to cover their needs for energy and growth, or to maintain a healthy immune system.

Generally, there are clear patterns of food consumption.  The richest nations consume the most Kilocalories per day (from 2,600 up to 3800), including North America, Europe, Australia, South Korea, Japan and parts of South America.  All of these places are part of the G20 group of richest world nations.  This can be seen on the map earlier in the chapter.


Large parts of central Africa, Asia and South America consume far fewer calories and can be said to be suffering from UNDERNUTRITION - where people consume less than the United Nations Department for Health's recommended daily MINIMUM totals at 1940Kcal for Women and 2550Kcals for men.


An added problem to deal with for those countries where people suffer under nutrition is the concept of MALNUTRITION.  This is where people may get sufficient calories a day but not have a balanced diet - all of their calories might come just from rice for example.  This can also have grave health consequences.  The double "whammy" is where a country or person suffers from both conditions at the same time.  The undernourishment issue is shown clearly on the map above.

Food Production and supply

The graph shows that different parts of the world have different advantages or preferences in producing certain foods.  Rice is a great example, with the production being dominated by Asia where the climate is ideal for rice growth and the population consumes a lot of it.  What is clear is that HICs like Europe and North America have smaller percentages of the World’s population but can produce more food than that percentage.  LICs like the majority of the continent of Africa, on the other hand, have larger percentages of the world population and produce less food. There are also clear patterns of global food supply and consumption, and these patterns are linked together by the trade in foodstuffs.  Agricultural goods are continually produced in some regions and sold in others.  Indeed, food and other agricultural products are GLOBALISED commodities that are traded the world over, and this has some startling consequences for our planet and the people that live upon it.
 

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