Food Systems problems

Problem in the world food system has its origin in the expansion of corporate capitalism and in a system designed to sustain corporate profits rather than meeting people’s needs. They consider food as a commodity and not as a resource for everyday human life. Their progress and success is determined by sales targets and not the quality and the well being of the people. There is a business module stuck behind every decision corporations make which seeks to expand, withhold products to manipulate exchanges and dominate over local business who wish to supply healthy quality products. This expansion model has led to degradation of quality and questionable manufacturing methods. We need to realize that something’s wrong in the food systems when a bottle of soda is cheaper to purchase than a bottle of water.

Our lifestyle has changed drastically, here in the urban context. We hardly give thought to what we consume daily and rarely do we consider the origins and the process of these food systems. There is complete isolation of these methods which we don’t bother to look into. We pick up food today from the super markets, not for their taste or nutrition value, but for how convenient and less time consuming it is to prepare.

And of course there is the global issue of supply and demand. There is no way that the agriculture sector can meet the demands without using artificial means, fertilizers and chemicals to enhance faster growth of crops and extract every bit of cultivation potential of the land. This of course leads to a chain of problems including, soil erosion, chemically enhanced products, poor waste management and health issues too, for the consumers. Meeting demands of this ever-increasing population growth seems to be getting tougher by the day. The quality of vast scale manufacturing of food products will only get worse as with the rise of population. Not to mention this entire model works on high value transportation services, which only adds to the carbon footprint and adds to global warming.

The solution again seems to be one that has less to do with methods and process but the mentally itself. Adapting a resource based economy and applying its ideas for food systems is the only way. No number growing your own terrace garden tomatoes, or buying milk from the local milkman will help. These are just inclusionary ad hoc measures we might practice from time to time, giving us a sense of contribution. It will not help in the long run. Like every other global ecological and sustainability issues, solutions for them can only come from transforming to world’s economic module.

Abhishek Bodkay

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