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How is food security affected due to logistics and supply chain management?

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Food security was a hot topic discussed worldwide during this pandemic.

As a regulatory measure to flatten the curve. Countries came up with a strategy of nation-wide lock-downs. However, such a decision gave rise to an alarming concern among all about “Food Security”.

Before we proceed further let’s understand Food security briefly.

“Food security is said to be achieved when one has availability and accessibility of food to eat.”  A country is said to be food secure when its residents do not live in hunger or fear of starvation.

Food insecurity is a major issue for many people and households in poor and developing countries—it is estimated that 795 million people are undernourished.

Food Security Definition

 The World Food Summit of 1996 defined food security as existing “when all people at all times have access to sufficient, safe, nutritious food to maintain a healthy and active life”.

Food security exists when all people, at all times, have physical and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food to meet their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life- UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)

Food security exists when all people, at all times, have physical and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food to meet their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life- UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)

Drivers of Food Security

 Food Security is driven by two aspects, one being the physical and other being the economical aspect. Both the above aspects are equally important to provide one with food security.

Imagine a situation where a person doesn’t have money to buy him food and a second situation in which a person has lots of money with him but no food available for purchase or consumption. In both the situations we can say that there is lack of food security. In short like many mistakes, concern for food security is not restricted to economical aspects of the country but also of a physical aspect.

Food security affected due to logistics and supply chain management

There are many reasons affecting food security. But let’s concentrate on the physical aspect of it.

Food security is highly affected due to Lack of efficient Supply Chain & Logistics management. An estimated 30% of the food produced for human consumption globally is lost or wasted somewhere along the food supply chain. Meanwhile, the world’s population is predicted to reach 9.1 billion by 2050 and this will require an increase of 70% in food availability. Increased unavailability of food due to food loss in logistics is a key area of concern.

Where does food loss take place in Supply Chains?

 The level of losses differs from one stage of the food supply chain to another, depending on crop type, level of economic development, as well as social and cultural practices in a region.   In the case of fruits and vegetables, according to an FAO study, losses at harvest and during sorting and grading dominate in industrialized regions, probably mostly due to discarding during grading to meet quality standards set by retailers.  In developing regions, while losses at harvest and during sorting and grading are also high, losses during processing (14% – 21%) are much higher than those in developed regions (< 2%).

Areas of Improvement in Logistics and Supply Chain Management

There is a need to improve processing technologies for perishable products like fruits and vegetables in developing regions to decrease wastage.

The food industry can make a substantial contribution in this area by developing and disseminating low-cost and effective techniques such as drying to mitigate the wastage.Inadequate storage conditions are the main cause of the loss of food products at the stage of production and distribution. The shelf life of many products depends on the optimal temperature and transportation conditions.  Cold chain ruptures can have a dramatic effect on food quality and losses. At this stage of the food chain, an important role is also played by the type and strength of the packaging material to be used (susceptibility to mechanical damage during storage and transportation), logistics for production and distribution.  Overproduction and the overestimation of procurement resulting from incorrect tracking of market demand mechanisms are an important problem. These issues are particularly important in the case of seasonal production and consumption of different product groups, and during peak sales periods.

Conclusion

 As we saw above food security is severely affected due to inefficient logistics and supply chain management practices. The food security is another prime objective of a responsible supply chain management. Therefore, lets improve Food Security with the help of our supply chains.

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