Why is poor food distribution a problem?
800+ Million people in the world are going through the global issue of chronic hunger, especially in developing countries, with the majority of malnourished kids belonging to Asia and Africa (Source: The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World 2018*).
Other than climate change, unstable markets, and food waste, Al Maya, as one of the top food distribution companies worldwide, know that one of the most significant factors that have resulted in global chronic hunger and food insecurity is the poor food distribution system.
So, it is incredibly unrealistic to simply put the entire blame on the lack of food supply or scarcity, as the cause of global hunger. In fact, as a company involved in food distribution services, we are fully aware that the amount of food produced every year is enough to feed everyone in the world. However, it doesn't reach the ones in need, due to a poor food distribution network.
Food distribution is not only about connecting producers to consumers, but also about the proper allocation of food. There are certain challenges that hamper the efficiency of food distribution, related to the power of distribution and ways of distribution. Besides, consumers find it difficult to access the markets or cannot afford the costs of consumption. Farmers, on the other hand, find it tough to access these centralized markets, which makes it tough for them to sell their crops themselves.
Usually, producers send their foods or crops to centralized markets, from where they get distributed to villages and cities. In developing countries, many rural areas and towns don't have well-maintained roads or railways. So transporting foods or crops to centralized markets from these areas is expensive as well as inconvenient. The infrastructure is solely dependent on public maintenance, supervised by local government agencies, which is why it takes a lot of time to improve these modes of transport.
So, the main obstacles that lead to poor food distribution are as follows:
•Lack of markets
•Lack of access to markets for farmers and consumers
•Inability to afford the costs of consumption and production
•Inadequate transportation and infrastructure
There are two recommended solutions to help eradicate this problem, albeit slowly and gradually.
1. Establishment of mobile/ portable markets : Mobile markets are basically portable markets. So, it is a market in a vehicle that can enable farmers and consumers to get direct access to these markets, which is immensely beneficial for them.
2. Better infrastructure : Many regions in Asia and Africa still don't have seamless transportation systems. Due to this, it can be said that each area suffering from global hunger has its own share of issues. So, the solution to building better roads in these areas should consider the local geographical and transportation issues faced by the people in that area.
There is so much that we, as individuals, can also do, to eradicate global chronic hunger, even if it is slowly and gradually. It all starts with small steps, at an individual level. We should start being more considerate to understand how our lifestyle or food habits are contributing to these larger issues, and then come up with effective solutions, like minimizing food waste, shifting to plant-based foods, or buying directly from producers. As such, we all need to do our small part for the greater good!