Food Security and Nutrition In the World.
Area of research and its relation to food safety and control
Developing ways to avoid malnutrition is the area of research being undertaken for this project because of its relation to food safety and control. Accordingly, food safety and control has been described as, “one part of targeted interventions to reduce malnutrition” (Unnevehr and Hirschhorn, 2000: 32), which thereby signifies the importance of developing more sustainable supply chains. How this can be achieved will be difficult to determine, yet as pointed out by Smith (2007): “Co-operation among food manufacturers, retailers, NGOs, governmental and farmers’ organisations is vital.” Consequently, unless international co-operation is achieved, a sustainable food supply will not be established because insufficient food security is one of the main problems causing malnutrition (World Bank, 2008: 9). Providing underdeveloped countries with access to clean water and sanitation would significantly help to prevent malnutrition because at present; “unsafe drinking water and poor sanitation and hygiene account for around 90 per cent of diarrhoea cases worldwide” (World Bank, 2008: 9). Whilst this could easily be addressed, a substantial amount of money will be needed which could be acquired through public investment (Rosegrant and Meijer, 2002: 11).
Current state of knowledge
Malnutrition, which is generally caused by a lack of nutrients in a person’s diet, most commonly occurs in underdeveloped countries where food is deficient. Nevertheless, malnutrition also occurs in developed countries and is therefore a worldwide problem that needs to be tackled through the creation of a sustainable food supply. Malnutrition has been described by the World Health Organisation as the “greatest single threat to the world’s public health” (Kashyap, 2012: 230). It is therefore vital that nutrition is improved in order to eradicate hunger since this is deemed to be one of the most effective ways to prevent malnutrition. Improving nutrition would require a substantial amount of money, nonetheless, which is why it is important that greater emphasis is placed upon this area so that sustainability within the food supply chain can be attained.
It has been said that at present around “$300m of aid goes to basic nutrition each year. In contrast HIV/AIDS, which causes fewer deaths than child malnutrition, received $2.2 billion” (The Economist, 2008). This is clearly illogical and unless more aid is given to nutrition, malnutrition will continue to be widespread. In order to alleviate global hunger and malnutrition, however, public investment will be required which may be difficult to obtain, yet “without concerted action, 140 million under-five children will be underweight in the year 2020” (Hunt, 2005: 11). Furthermore, in order for most countries to be converted into a developed state malnutrition must first be addressed since this will otherwise stifle economic growth. As such, even though malnutrition occurs mostly in underdeveloped countries, its effects are widespread.
The need for research and understanding of malnutrition
Because of how important improving nutrition within the food supply chain is, it is imperative that sufficient research is conducted within this area. This is because, unless malnutrition can be properly understood, it will be difficult to determine the most effective ways of tackling it. Moreover, a lack of understanding will prevent sustainability challenges from being overcome within the supply chain (Hamilton, 2012) and more effective sustainability practices will not be adopted. This was clearly identified by the World Bank (2008: 9) when it was put forward that; “technical interventions to combat malnutrition already exist. They need to be expanded to scale and placed in a wider multisectoral context.” In addition, because economic growth will be established if nutrition is improved in all countries, both developed and underdeveloped, “it is rational to build approaches that help infrastructure work for the help of the poor, and to scale up successful experience through regional public goods that ensure efficient and equitable sharing of low price, health-enhancing tradable goods” (Hunt, 2005: 35-36).
Outline of the Work
Overall Plan, Aims and Objectives
The objective of the research is to decide on the most effective way to develop a sustainable food supply worldwide so that malnutrition can be avoided. Current practices will thus be examined in order to decide whether they are sufficient or not and the views of experts around the world will be analysed. Accordingly, the study intends to highlight the problems within this area and thus provide a greater understanding of the causes and effects of malnutrition worldwide. Once this has been achieved it will be easy to determine what programs need to be established in order to tackle malnutrition overall.
The research questions that will be asked include;
How can malnutrition be avoided worldwide
How does food safety and control relate to malnutrition
How can nutrition be improved
Experimental Design and Methodology
A secondary approach will be undertaken for this study so that relevant data can be accessed easily. This will save on time and costs which is highly necessary given the time limits for this project. The difficulties associated with primary research will also be eliminated since it would prove extremely problematic if data was to be collected directly from experts around the world. As such, a primary approach would not seem viable in light of the project’s requirements. In conducting the applicable research for this assignment, both quantitative and qualitative research methods will be used which will provide a wider analysis of the topic. This is because, quantitative research enables data to be gathered in numerical form and put into various categories which subsequently provides for the collection of raw data. On the other hand, qualitative research gathers information that is not in numerical form but which consists of descriptive data which is a lot more difficult to analyse than quantitative data. The resources that will be used include text books, journal articles, governmental reports, online databases and relevant websites.
Practical Considerations and Realistic Workload
The time limit is the main consideration that needs to be taken into account since the project will have to be undertaken over a three month period. This is why a secondary approach seems to be more appropriate as fewer problems will arise when carrying out the project. Accordingly, any issues relating to the ethical approval of human subjects will be removed and a straightforward approach will be utilised. Once the applicable research begins, any problems that are encountered should be dealt with in a timely manner by analysing the situation and considering how it can be resolved.
Expected outcomes in relation to the project’s aims and objectives
It is expected that the findings of the project will relate to the project’s aims and objectives in that a determination as to the most effective way of avoiding malnutrition will be found. Hence, it will be shown that improving nutrition through additional funding will help to develop a sustainable food supply, yet unless international co-operation is achieved this will be unlikely.
Anticipation of Related and Future Work
It is anticipated that further studies will be conducted in future years relating to the prevention of malnutrition so that its true causes can be identified. Proposals will subsequently be put forward and an overview as to what programs ought to be implemented will be highlighted. This will enable underdeveloped countries to transform into a developed state which will be beneficial to the economy overall.
Hamilton, K. (2012) Sustainability in the Food Supply Chain, [Online], Available: http://sustainability.agraevents.com/ [02 December 2012].
Hunt, J. M. (2005) The Potential Impact of Reducing Global Malnutrition on Poverty Reduction and Economic Development, Asia Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition 14.
Kashyap, S. (2012) Saving Humanity: Swami Vivekanand Perspective, Vivekanand Swadhyay Mandal.
Rosegrant, M. W. and Meijer, S. (2002) Appropriate Food Policies and Investments could Reduce Child Malnutrition by 43% in 2020, Environment and Production Technology Division, International Food Policy Research Institute, [Online], Available: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12421865 [03 December 2012].
Smith, G. B. (2007) Developing Sustainable Food Supply Chains, The Royal Society Publishing, [Online], Available: http://rstb.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/363/1492/849.full [01 December 2012].
The Economist. (2008) The Starvelings, Malnutrition, [Online], Available: http://www.economist.com/node/10566634?story_id=10566634 [02 December 2012].
Unnevehr, L. and Hirschhorn, N. (2000) Food Safety Issues in the Developing World, Volumes 23-469, World Bank Publications.
World Bank. (2008) Global Monitoring Report, 2008: MDGs and the Environment – Agenda for Inclusive and Sustainable Development, World Bank Publications.