Food distribution is an imperative issue in the contemporary society. Concerns regarding food security have existed for a long time. Angela, Beau, & Mark asserts “there is adequate production of food globally” (p.78). However, in spite of this disturbing truth, approximately one billion people are facing serious hunger worldwide. Presently, many people can easily access different types of foods within the local supermarket or the grocery store, which is thousands of miles away from the point of origin of the foods. Nevertheless, this modern convenience comes at a price. Many factors contribute to this sort of problem, the most significant one being poor food distribution.
Time: In the distribution of food, time is a very significant aspect, particularly when dealing with food products that are perishable, for instance, meat and dairy products. According to Zhuang, “time can mean the difference between a food product that is safe for consumption, and that which is not” (89). When food is to be shipped to another place, it is important that it reaches it destination within the appropriate time so as to avoid not attaining the standards that are set by the Food and Drugs Act. If the food that is being transported spoil prior to it reaching its destination, a lot of funds are lost, and it results into a food shortage in the region where it was destined to reach. Food shortage is one of the reasons why many regions are facing food insecurity.
Another aspect that is related with time, and which requires to be addressed regarding food distribution is the amount of waste that takes place after harvest as well as during transportation. Most of the agricultural produce are extremely perishable, and therefore susceptible to bacteria and fungi that make food to rot, hence contaminating them with disease, and rendering the food poisonous. Zhuang estimates that approximately 25 – 50 percent of the entire food that is produced goes into the waste (103). For instance, in India, about 7 percent of grains and 30 percent of both fruits and vegetables that are produced goes into a waste as a result of lack of appropriate storage systems (Beverley et al. 212). The tremendous volume of food that goes into waste results into a food shortage taking place. The shortage of food tremendously escalates food prices for the consumers. However, it does not increase the income that farmers receive while selling their crops. Therefore, the producers’ income is either stationary or declining, perpetuating the cycles of both poverty and hunger.
Cost: Food distribution to different parts is as well inhibited by the cost of food. Angela, Beau, & Markassert that “Even with access to the markets, there are many people who cannot be able to purchase food since they cannot manage to pay for the costs” (78). In some regions, consumers cannot buy adequate food for their families owing to the absence of purchasing power in addition to low incomes. Many farmers do not receive a sufficient return on the crops they produce, implying that they are cannot be able to make a sustainable income to offset their investments. However, there are several developed nations where the governments greatly subsidizes the agricultural industry so as to make it feasible economically. Therefore, even when there is a large food production, widespread hunger may still exist because of the incapability to buy it.
Energy: the energy prices form a paramount aspect of food distribution. In cases where the price of gas goes up, the transportation cost that is involved in distributing the food as well increases. Another food distribution concern that is related to the prices of energy is the cost of involved in the refrigeration of a truck or train, which is supposed to transport food safely. However, refrigeration is significant while transporting foods like dairy products, which are temperature sensitive, and they have to be transported in an environment that is temperature-controlled.
The aim of food distribution does not only entail the connection of food producers, for example, farmers, to the consumers, but as well to allocate food appropriately. Challenges are experienced in the decision concerning how distribution of food takes place, who possesses the power to distribute, as well as the methods that ought to be utilized during distribution. The conventional approach of distributing food is by means of establishing markets where food producers may sell their produce to the consumers directly. Nevertheless, owing to a lot of instances of ineffectiveness, food is transported to a central place and thereafter it is distributed to other cities or towns.
In the current system that is adopted for the distribution of food, the number of markets available as well as the means of accessing those markets is not adequate. Approximately 16 percent of rural populations that are found within the developing nations do not have appropriate access to the food market which usually inhibits the farmers from retailing their crops. In fact, Meier &James (23) provides an estimate of at most 40 percent of any crop is marketed whereas just one-third of the food is sold to the markets. It is important that the accessibility of the markets be enhanced so as to make it possible for farmers and consumers to interact.
In the developing nations, food distribution is faced by the limited transport that is available. The number of high-quality road networks or railway that may be utilized in the transportation of food to the centralized markets is inadequate. There is particularly a huge problem of transporting food in rural Africa due to roads that have been poorly maintained. The poor roads make a region not to be accessible as well as delaying their movement to the markets. A major concern with transportation emanates from the exceedingly variable geography as well as climate in every region. Every sort of transportation is effective in particular areas as compared to others, and the solution, therefore, should be formed from the local level by way of critically assessing the geography and the existing resources of those regions.
In conclusion, there is a huge discrepancy globally between individuals with sufficient food and those who are either facing starvation or malnutrition. For a larger population to have access to food that is of high quality, and in appropriate amounts, different organizations dealing with food distributions, as well as different governments ought to strive to reduce the above gap. The main concern exists in the fact that the long-term shortage of food is yet to be addressed so as to counter the issue of food distribution.