Access to food means a healthy population which translates to more production power hence eradicating poverty and hunger. For people to eat they need a system that is interconnected and efficient. The system involves production of food items, processing, packaging, distributing, marketing and finally consumption. Food systems are popularly characterized by the coexistence of modern and traditional supply channels.
The modern systems popularly known as the “supermarket revolution” is common to the upper and middleclass. It is a quality differentiated food market and tends to accommodate suppliers who provide food items that are well processed, packaged and in bulk.
The traditional system is characterized by small scale farmers who participate in food production but are not able to produce these food items in bulk and do not provide for processing and packaging. They supply these food items to their family unit, their neighbours and the local markets. We can not ignore this food production unit because up to 90% of food consumption in rural areas of low-income countries comes from domestic sources. The two food systems therefore have to co-exist with each other to ensure that the population is receiving a constant food supply.
The emergent trend in food systems is the formal structured supply chains which have increased the efficiency of product flows: from farm inputs to farmers and food products to consumers. It has however posed a challenge to food security because the distribution systems tend to be concentrated in more affluent urban areas and the low-income earners are ignored yet they equally need a consistent supply of food.
To make food production more efficient, the agricultural sector has to be keen on food loses. These majorly occurs in low income countries due to the technical limitations in harvesting, storage, transportation, processing, packaging and marketing. The farmer in this case has the food but is not able to get it to the consumers and therefore suffers a loss and yet the population has not been fed. Food loses can be mitigated by proper planning by the farmers. Even before they plant, they should have the answers to where will I supply my food items? How will the food products get to the market? What food items are preferred and in which season?
To make food production more inclusive, more people have been encouraged to take part in Agriculture and consider food production as an “I’’ problem not as a “they” problem. What is an individual doing to ensure that there is a sustainable food system? Simple acts such as having a garden kitchen go a long way in the production of food.
Illuminum Greenhouses has made sure more people are participating in agriculture by working with women groups, institutions, self help groups, school going children and having an inclusive team that is passionate about agriculture and is actively transferring agricultural knowledge to farmers. We have also ventured to include technology such as the Farmshield in agriculture that makes farmers easily monitor their greenhouses hence ensuring there is more food production.
We have to appreciate the food production is a continuous process because the population has to be always fed and well-nourished. Therefore, for food production to be more resilient more people every day, should take part in agriculture and cultivate an agricultural culture from one generation to another.