Zero Hunger

Living Edition
| Editors: Walter Leal Filho, Anabela Marisa Azul, Luciana Brandli, Pinar Gökcin Özuyar, Tony Wall

Addressing Food Security Issues: Understanding and Anticipating the Future

  • Datu Buyung AgusdinataEmail author
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-69626-3_90-1


Foresight builds the capacity to think systematically about the future to inform decision-making today. It is a systematic, participatory, future intelligence gathering and medium-to-long-term vision-building process aimed at present-day decisions and mobilizing joint actions. To address food security issues, foresight can support decision-making toward a condition in which all people at all times have economic, social, and physical access to sufficient, safe, and nutritious food that meets their dietary needs, aligns with their preferences, and allows them to maintain a healthy and active life. Specifically, foresight can inform plausible alternative narratives about the future of food demand and supply in the next 5, 10, or 50 years. By informing policies, a system stewardship365体育网站 process enables adapting policy and steering the system toward established high-level food security goals for the future.


365体育网站One of today’s greatest challenges is achieving sustainable food systems worldwide to ensure nutritional security for all. Finding equitable ways to feed the growing population is a high priority in national and global policy agendas. The United Nations (UN) has set the goal of ending hunger by the year 2030. However, this future is difficult to envision because the world is complex and changes rapidly. The future of food security depends on many factors that have uncertain futures as well, such as technologies, lifestyle, climate, regulations, and global geopolitics. To design policies, decision-makers need information about how the future may evolve.

Food security issues are multidimensional and encompass economic, social, physical, and psychological aspects. According to the latest assessment by the UN (FAO et al. 2017), the number of chronically undernourished people in the world increased from 777 million in 2015 to 815 million in 2016. Many more people suffer from micronutrient deficiency or disorders associated with being overweight or obese. Food security status has particularly worsened in parts of Africa, Southeast Asia, and Western Asia, most notably in areas of conflict in combination with droughts or floods. These conflicts and climate issues have been identified as growing causes of food insecurity. Moreover, about half of the world’s population growth is predicted to occur in sub-Saharan Africa. This prediction is concerning because the region is among the poorest in the world and is vulnerable to famine due to climate change and violent conflicts (Gies et al. 2014).

Failure to account for uncertainties in food security leads to misguided decisions with grave consequences for human life. This study presents a foresight method to inform present decisions by anticipating world conditions in 10–50 years. The study first introduces the underlying concepts, elements, and approaches of the foresight method and relates them to food security issues. Next, it highlights two major foresight studies in the United States (USA) and European Union (EU) and a case study in East Africa, detailing some adaptation strategies against climate change. The chapter concludes with the key policy implications of foresight studies.

Foresight: A Method for Alternative Futures

Foresight is a systematic, imaginative, and thorough way to identify and analyze alternative futures. It answers two strategic questions: Where are we now? and Where do we want to go? Foresight is also a common descriptor for a diverse ensemble of tools to imagine futures in strategic planning or research contexts (Jemala 2010).

The roots of the foresight method can be traced to the future studies movement pioneered by RAND Corporation and the Hudson Institute in the 1950s. In early years, most foresight applications focused on the future of defense industry. The applications were later expanded to include topics related to science, energy, and technology. Recently, there has been a growing interest to apply foresight to sustainable development issues, including food security.

Foresight encourages longer-term thinking about futures than a typical annual or 5-year planning process. Specifically, the planning horizon of foresight involves thinking 10–50 years into the future, a period necessary for addressing food security issues. However, to create meaningful plans this far in advance, it is not possible to rely only on a limited set of assumptions about the future. Foresight provides a framework to systematically explore plausible futures and inform policies.

Uses and Applications

Given the lack of reliable data about the future (e.g., climate change, food prices, and consumer preferences), foresight offers principles for understanding system complexity and uncertainties about the future. Foresight can help describe how multiple factors and actors interact and how external drivers could play out. More importantly, by exploring a system’s plausible future behaviors (e.g., extreme weather or market failures), foresight can give decision-makers valuable insights on how to respond and adapt if these behaviors actually arise. This will enhance the system’s resiliency to future disturbances and stresses.

Foresight can help guiding agenda setting for research, action, or investment, mobilizing key actors and building visions (Bingley 2014). It can also support horizon scanning, which identifies and analyzes new and emerging trends that are likely to have significant impacts. Organizations can use these trends to identify early warning signs of significant problem scenarios. If used to identify alternative actions and decisions, foresight can also facilitate wind tunneling365体育网站 to test alternatives under different assumptions of futures. As a process, foresight can bring different stakeholders to share their views about possible futures and engage these views with others. These transparent interactions can encourage stakeholders to challenge each other’s perspectives and avoid group thinking. Such a process is likely to produce creative ideas on the approaches, partnerships, tools, and measures to best address future challenges.

Several studies have applied foresight methods to food security issues. Below is a review of the approaches, outcomes, and implications of foresight projects by Sustainable Food and Nutrition Security (SUSFANS) (Rutten et al. 2018), UK Foresight (The Government Office for Science 2011), and the Global Futures and Strategic Foresight (GFSF) (Nelson et al. 2010).

EU Sustainable Food and Nutrition Security (SUSFANS) and UK Foresight

The SUSFANS foresight project aims to strengthen food and nutrition security outcomes and improve the performance of the EU food system using social, environmental, and economic sustainability perspectives. In contrast to SUSFANS, the UK Foresight project takes a more global view to address three main challenges in achieving food security: (1) ending hunger and ensuring food supply is accessible, stable, and affordable; (2) addressing the impacts of food production on climate change; and (3) maintaining biodiversity and ecosystems while meeting the global demand for food.

To achieve these goals, these foresight projects consider not only sustainable food systems but also sustainable and balanced diets. Both projects expand their perspectives on food systems to include the global food supply chain from production to plate, and they adopt a long-term, strategic outlook for changes in the global food system. The SUSFANS foresight approach is shown in Fig. 1. The process starts with translating future scenario narratives into quantitative model drivers. Then, a wide range of agro-food nutrition policy options are assessed and quantified using a developed toolbox. These policies are evaluated based on their ability to support sustainable food and nutrition security. The foresight results include (a) selected scenarios of holistic future development and (b) relevant agro-food policy responses in the short and long term.
Fig. 1

365体育网站EU Foresight approach

The Global Futures and Strategic Foresight (GFSF)

The GFSF project aims to increase agricultural productivity in developing countries while improving ecosystem services. It targets three areas of intervention: technologies, investments, and policies. These interventions will occur within future changes in population, income, technology, and climate until 2050. To inform policy decision, GFSF employs IMPACT (International Model for Policy Analysis of Agricultural Commodities and Trade) as a model to evaluate alternative intervention options (Robinson et al. 2015). Specifically, GFSF explores alternative futures for food and agriculture using IMPACT’s ability to connect climate, crop, water, and economic models (more information on IMPACT can be found at ).

Food Security Case Study of East Africa

The East Africa region has experienced several severe droughts in past decades. In particular, the Horn of Africa – areas bordering Kenya, Ethiopia, and Somalia – has been hit the hardest. This region is mainly pastoral and depends on communal rangeland for their livestock to graze. Approximately 80% of the population in the Horn of Africa relies on livestock and agriculture sales as a primary source of food and income (FAO 2013). However, average rainfall for the region varies from 200 to 600 mm a year and is often unreliable (Nicholson 1996). The recent droughts have devastated crops and livestock and caused widespread famine to the human population.

A case study of three East African countries (Kenya, Ethiopia, and Somalia) used the foresight approach to evaluate the cost-effectiveness of some policy options to improve food production and income generation using a combined hydrological and system dynamics model. Simulated policy options included investments in hydrological infrastructures and the introduction of sustainable agricultural practices. Hydrological infrastructure options included sand dams, rainwater harvesting (RWH) tanks, ponds, shallow wells, and boreholes. The investments were ranked based on how much water would be obtained for every dollar invested. That is, for each infrastructure, the net water gain was divided by the initial investment cost to determine a cost per gained cubic meter of water. The costs for each infrastructure were similar across all three countries, but RWH tanks were much more economical in Kenya because it has the lowest number of tanks successfully employed. Figure 2 shows the cost-effectiveness of each hydraulic infrastructure option for each country.
Fig. 2

365体育网站Cost-effectiveness of hydraulic infrastructure options

365体育网站Boreholes were found to be the most cost-effective source of water because they access deep aquifers that are not immediately affected by drought. Although boreholes have a high initial investment cost, they provide a large amount of water and have a low cost per cubic meter of water added during deficits for each region. Although the hydraulic infrastructures help reduce the magnitude of water deficits, none of them completely prevents the deficits from occurring. For all three countries, even shallow wells and boreholes – the most cost-effective infrastructures over the 10-year period, assuming they were implemented in well-suited locations – were unable to prevent water deficits during extended dry periods.

Other simulated policy options introduced drip irrigation and agroforestry as sustainable agricultural practices. The effectiveness of each option was measured by the amount of food made available for the population. The total caloric availability from local agriculture was determined based on crop yield and calorie content for each region. This value was divided by the average annual population and the recommended human caloric intake (2100 kcal/day), giving an estimated percentage of the regional population’s diet that can be sustained through local agriculture. Figure 3 projects the change in the percentage of the population reaching caloric fulfillment from the baseline scenario each year after implementing drip irrigation and agroforestry practices in Kenya. The yields are a function of rainfall, which explains the fluctuations of caloric fulfillment throughout the simulation.
Fig. 3

365体育网站Change in percent of caloric fulfillment due to agricultural practice in Kenya

Each agricultural practice has its own disadvantages. Without ample water supply, drip-irrigated crops will simply have the same yields as rain-fed crops. For agroforestry, there is a decrease in caloric fulfillment during the first few years because the trees grow and compete with crops for water and nutrients. However, after this growing period, the trees provide soil stability, water retention, and tree fallow to fertilize the land, resulting in higher crop yields and a higher percentage of caloric supply from crop production.

Foresight Approaches to Address Food Security

The diverse applications of foresight can be categorized into four types of approaches (Kreibich 2006).

The explorative empirical-analytical approach.365体育网站 In this approach, foresight participants and practitioners use existing knowledge and empirical data to explore plausible futures. Future developments are systematically defined and specified using explicit assumptions (e.g., economic, sociopolitical, technological, and demographic) and given certain boundaries (e.g., geographical and time). Future scenarios are analyzed based on different criteria (e.g., cost-effectiveness, well-being, and social equity) to establish potential implications for the issue at hand. For food security issues, impacts can range from worst outcomes (e.g., famine) to desired ones (e.g., healthy balanced diets and equitable distribution and affordability of food).

The normative-intuitive approach. In this approach, participants and practitioners generate desirable visions of the future. Relevant, sustainable development targets range from expanding access to and the affordability of food to improving the income of smallholder food producers. These normative visions of food security are best exemplified by the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Goal 2 of the UN SDGs (ending hunger) is most relevant to food security and will have both synergies and trade-offs with the other SDGs. For example, food security efforts are synergistic and cannot be separated from efforts to eradicate poverty (Goal 1) and improve health (Goal 3). Success in providing food and nutrition also allows children to concentrate better in school, reinforcing education efforts (Goal 4) (Nilsson et al. 2016365体育网站). However, agriculture intensification will increase anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions and may cause harmful land-use change and biodiversity loss, setting back efforts to mitigate climate change (Goal 15).

The planning approach. In this approach, participants and practitioners explore ways to shape a desirable future. They harness their knowledge and experience to identify factors that could contribute to achieving their vision. These factors include new communication approaches to stakeholders, policies, governance, and implementation processes. In order to shape the desired future, this approach requires an understanding of the complex interactions among multiple goals, including food security, health, climate, economic growth, and land use. The planning approach is exemplified by the Erb et al. (2016365体育网站) study, which identified 500 possible pathways to achieve global food security by 2050. The feasibility of each pathway was assessed based on different conditions such as cropland intensification, livestock efficiency measures, and dietary change (e.g., low meat consumption, vegetarian and vegan diets). About two-thirds of the pathways were found to be “feasible” or “probably feasible.”

The communicative-participative approach. In this approach, participants are drawn from a wide variety of social actors to expand the knowledge base and increase buy-in from stakeholders. By involving various social actors, foresight methods can create “temporary transformative spaces” in which a multi-actor group imagines futures and explores possible uncertainties (Wiek et al. 2006; Kahane 2012). This approach is exemplified by an extensive participatory foresight exercise conducted at the Second Global Conference on Agricultural Research for Development (GCARD2) (Bourgeois and Sette 2017). The conference presented an inventory of existing foresight works on food, agriculture, and farming patterns.

The GCARD2 presentation led a group of representatives of farmer organizations and civil society organizations to declare their intention to engage in a “grassroots foresight” initiative on the future of family farming. Case studies were identified from an inventory of recent foresight studies on food and agriculture through a worldwide survey in seven languages, a bibliography and multilingual web review, and a review by a group of foresight experts. The process highlighted the fact that:

365体育网站“most foresight studies are initiated by international organizations, government institutions and/or national institutions in advanced or emerging countries. Least developed countries and the civil society are largely under-represented. More local level foresight is needed in connection to global initiatives. Regional or national issues are better explored with a combination of regional/national and local foresight. Local level anticipatory work can contribute to make global foresight studies more locally actionable.”

Key Foresight Steps

According to the United Nations Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF 2010), a study of sustainable development issues using the foresight method has five major steps (Fig. 4). Since the process is iterative, it involves multiple feedback loops to accommodate new developments (e.g., new data or changes in regulations). Each step in the process is elaborated below, using examples related to food security issues.
Fig. 4

Key steps of foresight method. (Adapted from UNDAF 2010)

Step 1: Examine the strategic context This foresight step explores plausible futures by investigating various information sources, including the trajectories of key variables and the factors driving their past and current developments. In the context of rapid global change and uncertainty, the macro dimensions of food security cover economic growth, climate change, demographics, food production and distribution, and food price (Timmer 2000).

Step 2: Openly engage with a wide set of views 365体育网站 This step gathers information from relevant stakeholders, including the public and those who would be particularly affected by policies (e.g., vulnerable and disadvantaged segments of the population). Involving key policy stakeholders from the beginning will secure buy-in, increasing the likelihood that findings will actually inform decision-making.

Step 3: Look at a set of issues with multiple lenses – This step employs various tools and processes to capture diversity and alternative perspectives to develop common knowledge and ownership of the issue. A portfolio of tools to support future study is available for use (see Faure et al. 2017365体育网站). Two prominent tools and their application in the food security context are briefly highlighted below.

Social network analysis (SNA). In general, network analysis is used to analyze relationships among the entities of interest rather than the entities themselves. SNA in particular is a tool to draw, compare, and identify patterns of interactions within and among stakeholders (Borgatti et al. 2009). In the context of this chapter, these entities could be the actors involved in food production (farmers, landowners, and laborers), distribution (middlemen distributors), processing (household and commercial food processors), consumption (individuals and households), and policy (local and national government). For example, one SNA application in Ethiopia integrated the issues of food security and biodiversity (Jiren et al. 2018). SNA was used to investigate three questions: “how stakeholders interact in the governance of food security and biodiversity in a multi-level governance context; how the goals of food security and biodiversity are integrated in such a multi-level governance context; and which stakeholders are popular and play connecting roles between stakeholders in the governance network (Jiren et al. 2018365体育网站, p. 420).” The insights from SNA suggest a more effective governance network by identifying stakeholders with prominent power and influence.

Multi-criteria decision analysis (MCDA). MCDA is defined as “an umbrella term to describe a collection of formal approaches which seek to take explicit account of multiple criteria in helping individuals or groups explore decisions that matter” (Belton and Stewart 2002, p. 2). The method was applied in a case study of food security in Trinidad and Tobago, where the government has promoted agriculture as a pillar of national development and economic diversification (Ram et al. 2011). Using criteria such as food quantity, quality, and cost, MCDA can deal with conflicting, qualitative objectives while evaluating strategic options for multiple possible futures. These strategic options include providing basic infrastructure for farming (e.g., land tenure, road, and water access), promoting a positive image of agriculture among the youth, and implementing industrial farm production for higher-value local commodities.

One common process to capture multiple views of the future is the long-established Delphi method (e.g., Rowe and Wright 1999). Several rounds of questionnaires are sent to a panel of experts to obtain advice requiring judgments that go beyond well-established knowledge. The Delphi method has been applied, for example, to explore alternative scenarios for future agriculture in Finland up to 2025 (Rikkonen 2005365体育网站). Based on inputs from the agri-food expert community, resulting scenarios present both opportunities (e.g., automation technology in animal husbandry) and threats (e.g., ecological breakdown due to the expansive animal disease epidemics) to the agriculture sector. These Delphi outcomes can be used as a basis for future strategy and decisions.

Step 4: Identify possible futures and trends This step expands the scope of planning future scenarios to include undesirable and unlikely possibilities. These future scenarios challenge the mindset that the future is only an extrapolation of the current trend. Exploring a wide range of plausible futures allows for the systematic anticipation of multiple future conditions and their implications (Agusdinata 2008). For example, in 2010, agriculture was responsible for about 70% of water withdrawal from rivers and aquifers. In the future, the global water demand for agriculture will continue to rise. Water withdrawal for food production could increase by 30% between 2020 and 2030 and could double by 2050 (The Government Office for Science 2011). The Special Report on Emissions Scenarios (SRES) by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) expressed greater uncertainty about future temperatures than precipitation. Therefore, we can anticipate that the sensitivity to temperature of crops in most regions will also increase.

Exploration of futures can be supported by quantitative models. The International Model for Policy Analysis of Agricultural Commodities and Trade (IMPACT), for example, was developed by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) to provide insights on baseline developments in global agricultural systems to 2050 (Nelson et al. 2010). Some of the baseline scenarios are explained below:

  • Income growth365体育网站. Driven by economic growth, the global average income will increase by 150% between 2010 and 2050. The sub-Saharan African region will suffer the most from climate change, due to a 3% reduction in the region’s potential economic growth.

  • Agricultural productivity. Overall production of all major food commodity groups will increase by 70% during 2010–2050 period in both developed and developing countries. Between 2010 and 2050, areas harvested for crops will grow about 18–20%. This growth translates to about 200 million harvested hectares of land. Furthermore, climate change will reduce aggregate yields for all commodity groups by 2050. Average yields across cereal groups, for example, will decline by 6–9% in developing countries.

  • Food security and nutrition365体育网站. Climate change will affect food production, causing the number of undernourished children in developing countries to increase by 3–5% by 2050. Also, developing countries will become net food importers on food items such as meat, cereal, fruits, and vegetables.

  • Food price. The above three scenarios all indicate rising food price primarily because climate change (higher temperature) reduces harvest yields.

Drivers of Food Insecurity

Many futures studies have identified at least eight main drivers of food insecurity around the world. Foresight takes into account these eight factors, described below:

Climate Change

Changes in weather patterns are key drivers that affect food crop production globally, given that food agricultural productivity depends on local temperature and precipitation. The global temperature has been rising worldwide and is predicted to continue to increase in the coming years (IPCC 2007). Mean surface air temperature will increase by 1 °C by 2050 across all IPCC SRES scenarios, which is relatively modest compared to the projected 2–4 °C increase by 2100. Paradoxically, rising temperature will make new land suitable for agriculture in high-latitude regions. Climate change also manifests more frequent and unpredictable extreme weather events. In particular, droughts and floods have become more frequent, and their effects have become more intense. In East Africa, for example, severe droughts currently threaten the livelihood of up to 20 million people. Foresight studies employ climate models to simulate future scenarios through the year 2050, such as effect of climate change on agriculture production and food price. Under all possible climatic scenarios, vulnerability to food insecurity will increase with the highest effect on sub-Saharan African and South Asian regions (Richardson et al. 2018).


In 2000, the population of Earth was 6.5 billion people, compared to 3.1 billion in 1950. By 2050 the world population is estimated to stabilize at around 9 billion, according to forecasts by the UN. To keep pace with this population growth and other factors such as dietary change, food production will have to increase by roughly twofold (Foley et al. 2011).

There are two main challenges to achieving food security. The first challenge is to feed 9 billion people without increasing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, depleting water resources, and degrading land and biodiversity (Godfray et al. 2010). The second challenge is to provide access to food that is nutritious, as more than one in seven people today still do not have access to sufficient protein and energy from their diet and even more suffer from some form of micronutrient malnourishment (FAOSTAT 2009). It is a question of how to ensure around 1 billion of the world’s poorest are no longer hungry. The severity of food insecurity varies worldwide. Lobell et al. (2008) have identified 12 major food-insecure regions with a fair share of the world’s malnourished individuals, as estimated by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). The top five countries/regions with the highest percentage of malnourished people are South Asia (30.1% of the world’s total), China (18.2%), Southeast Asia (12.6%), East Africa (9.1%), and Central Africa (5.5%).


Technology, in particular agricultural intensification technology, plays a critical role in increasing agricultural outputs. Applying existing knowledge and science to food production can potentially increase the average yield two to three times in many parts of Africa and raise global aquaculture productivity by 40% (The Government Office for Science 2011365体育网站). Some applications of modern agricultural technologies, such as genetic modification, nanotechnology, cloning of livestock, and synthetic biology, have raised ethical and health concerns. Although controversial, these technologies should not be excluded from consideration to improve food production. Moreover, the future of technology in farming is defined by trade-offs. For example, building a hydro dam will generate electricity, but also will reduce rice production irrigation and threaten fishery downstream.

Trade and Market

Future food security is shaped by trade regulations, especially trade and market barriers for agriculture products. The importance of trade and market in affecting food security is highlighted in the following statement: “The past few decades have seen an intensification of international food trade and the increase in the number of countries that depend on food imports. As an effect of the associated globalization of food, local shocks in food production, combined with the adoption of new national or regional energy and trade policies, have recently led to global food crises” (Suweis et al. 2015, p. 6902). The Suweis et al. (2015) study characterized countries into four groups: (a) net exporters (e.g., USA); (b) trade-dependent countries, where sustenance of population is not possible when relying only on local resources (e.g., Algeria); (c) trade-independent countries, where food trade does not have a substantial impact on food availability (e.g., Thailand); and (d) food-deficit countries (e.g., Burundi). The study found that when countries are highly dependent on trade for food supply, they lose their resilience and become more susceptible to shock events (e.g., natural disasters) and crises (e.g., price hikes). The UK Foresight study suggests the end of the low food price era (The Government Office for Science 2011365体育网站). There is a strong agreement among researchers and practitioners that the price rise will be significant, as increased food supply cannot match the demand driven by growth in population and income. Due to climate change, prices for aggregated crop commodities will globally increase by 12 and 18%.

Income and Growth

Economic development and income growth affect food security. On average, global per capita income is projected to rise by 2% per year in the coming few decades (Du et al. 2004). The growth rate is even higher for developing countries with low income. At the same time, food is becoming more available due to rising income levels and falling food prices. The negative consequences of increased availability, however, are health problems associated with unhealthy and excess food consumption, including a proliferation of obesity (Kearney 2010365体育网站). The distribution of income determines which segments of the population can enjoy access to food. With increasing inequality in a society, lower-income communities will face issues such as food desert. Rising income in poor countries will lead to increased food demand and pressure on food production.

Consumption Patterns

Two diametrically different patterns of food consumption exist (Kearney 2010). On one hand, more people, especially in the developing countries, are adopting westernized consumption patterns which involve more animal protein and calorie intake. On the other, more people are decreasing their consumption and eating healthier and organic food. Different dietary choices have different environmental footprints. For example, compared to plants, the production of ruminant meat such as beef, goat, and lamb/mutton causes 20–100 times higher environmental impacts per calorie of food produced (Clark and Tilman 2017365体育网站). Shifting food consumption from meats to fish, pork, poultry, or legumes would reduce the environmental impact as well as improve human health. Such switches in food consumption are more environmentally sound than alternatives such as shifting to organic agriculture or grass-fed beef.


Policies in various forms affect food security. Trade policies and tariffs for products such as rice can affect the availability and affordability of food. Other policies focus on agricultural developments. To maximize ecological services (e.g., water provision and erosion prevention) provided by natural systems such as forests, policy makers are also considering conservation policies. To encourage and accelerate innovations in agricultural practices and technologies, many governments provide incentives for research and development activities.

Societal Values

Food and socioeconomic systems are interlinked. Factors such as values, behaviors, and education contribute to a more sustainable use of resources. Food security is not only about food but also about the way people conduct their lives. The process of making food choices is complex. The decision to consume fruits and vegetables is influenced by many factors, including sensory appeal, familiarity and habit, social interactions, cost, availability, time constraints, personal ideology, media and advertising, and health (Pollard et al. 2002). Whether or not a person chooses to consume a particular food item also depends on the food’s properties, including taste, texture, quality, smell, and appearance (Clark 1998).

People’s food habit is defined as “the way in which individuals in response to social and cultural pressures select, consume, and utilize portions of the available food supply,” and it evolves from experience and attitude toward food (Khan 1981). For example, public concern over issues surrounding organic produce, genetically modified foods, and type of packaging can influence an individual’s food choice decisions. Consumers’ knowledge on food nutrition is significantly associated with healthy eating, especially with fruit and vegetable consumption (Wardle et al. 2000). One policy implication is to include nutrition knowledge as a target for health education campaigns aimed at promoting healthy eating.

Step 5: Build on policy implications – This step asks the questions so what and what’s next? This foresight step identifies and evaluates proper responses and policies for the wide range of future trends. The challenge for ensuring global food security is immense. The FAO of the UN has projected an increase in food production by 70% in the 2000–2050 period to meet the global food demand. To achieve this it requires production growth at a rate of 1.1% per year. Since arable land is limited, this growth will need to come from increased productivity and yield (output/land area). Thus, to improve food security around the world, the following recommendations resulting from foresight studies can be suggested (for more details, refer to the sources given in the “Cross-References365体育网站” section).

Adoption of sustainable agricultural practices.365体育网站 Adoption, implementation, and expansion of existing and proven sustainable practices are considered the most cost-effective way to increase agricultural yields. Moreover, such practices can decrease the need for scarce resources such as land and water, therefore relieving the pressure on ecosystems. Sharing knowledge of improved agricultural practices (e.g., agroforestry and drip irrigation) and implementing existing technologies (e.g., hydraulic infrastructure) can also play a role in increasing food production.

Improvement of agricultural infrastructure. Agricultural productivity can be improved by providing farmers better access to roads and ports to transport and sell their produce. Building irrigation channels eliminates the dependency on rainfall to irrigate crops. Providing access to information systems and networking technology can increase farmers’ income by informing them the best price and location to sell their produce.

Reduction of food waste. The considerable amount of food wasted every day has become an alarming issue. Worldwide, as much as 30% of food is lost or wasted before it can be consumed. In the USA, the loss of fresh fruits and vegetables is estimated to range from 2% to 23%, depending on the commodity, with an overall average loss of about 12% between the production and consumption site (Cappellini and Ceponis 1984). Measures to reduce food waste include implementing the latest technologies in food packaging. For example, fresh produce can last longer if basic packaging is used during transport. During crop harvest, grain losses can be minimized by using existing simple grain-drying equipment and mechanical rice threshers on small farms. To avoid crop loss due to pests, farmers can grow crop varieties that are resistant to pests and use pesticides for nonresistant varieties. To preserve fish, the adoption of nonfuel-intensive fish-smoking kilns can cut losses and spoilage.

Empowerment of women. As mandated by the UN SDG 2, several action and policy measures can be implemented to end hunger. Empowerment of women is one measure, as women play a critical role in food production and agriculture has a significant influence on their well-being. In Africa, 60% of the time on total food production activities is spent by women. Almost 80% of the women in poor countries rely solely on agriculture as their primary source of livelihood. To empower women, more effective policies can be implemented to provide equal access to credit through financial institutions. Better regulations can strengthen women’s rights to land, water use, and inheritance. Accommodating these policies to cultural norms can increase women’s participation in the design and use of technology, extension services, and farmer cooperatives.

Improve governance of the food system. Governance is concerned with relationships, rules, and mechanisms for enforcing and monitoring institutions along the food supply chain. These mechanisms regulate the interests, rights, obligations, and differences of the stakeholders. Increasing food system productivity, sustainability, and security worldwide necessitates a fair and functioning market for food products at the international, national, and local level.

Concluding Remarks

For those working toward global food security, uncertainties abound. To achieve the goals mandated in the UN SDG 2, stakeholders will have to address complex interactions among key drivers such as climate change, demography, trade and market, income and growth, consumption pattern, societal values, and policies. This study presents foresight as a method to address these uncertainties. The method not only offers a systematic way to account for how uncertain factors will evolve in the future but also uses insights to design policies. If the method is applied based on inputs and participation of various stakeholders, the expected outcome is a coherent description of plausible alternative futures that can inform decision-making.



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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of SustainabilityArizona State UniversityTempeUSA

Section editors and affiliations

  • Datu Buyung Agusdinata
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Sustainability, Arizona State UniversityArizonaUSA