Large-scale poverty persists in the world today because of a number of interrelated economic, political, social, and environmental changes taking place globally and within developing countries. Economic crises experienced in the last two decades have forced many developing countries to cut back social services which provide safety nets for their poor populations. Jobs have not been created as fast as the population has grown, and there are greater inequities in the distribution of income, resources, and opportunities. Political changes in the 1980s and 1990s resulted in instability and military insecurity, contributing to increased global poverty. Political and natural emergencies are on the rise, such that 59 million people have been directly affected. In addition, population growth rates have outstripped the environmental carrying capacity in most parts of the world, leading to tremendous environmental degradation. This is manifested in the destruction of tropical forests, the loss of biodiversity, and water and air pollution. Finally, the HIV/AIDS pandemic has reached crisis proportions. By the year 2000, 90% of the infections (estimated to be over 90 million cases) will occur in the developing world.
Poor people’s basic livelihoods are being threatened the world over. In 1992, 1.3billion people (more than 20% of the world’s population) lived in absolute poverty and were not able to meet their basic needs for food, clean water, shelter, education, and basic health care. Nearly two-thirds of these people live in South Asia or Africa. By the year 2010 these numbers could reach 1.8 billion.
To address the problem of food security, policy makers and project planners have continually looked for ways to get at the root causes of poverty and world hunger, and permit households to have “access. at all times to sufficient food and nutrition or a healthy and productive life” (US Agriculture Trade and Development Act,1990).
Factors that Influence Household Food Security
Food security is not static. The key to sustained food security is a household’s adaptability to change and resiliency to bounce back from shocks that affect household members’ abilities to earn income to produce or purchase sufficient food to meet household needs.
Types of Coping Strategies