The actual cause of food insecurity across the globe has been a longstanding debate among the social, economic, political, and scientific fronts of the society. It is a common assertion that the cause of food insecurity revolves in ineffective agricultural pricing policies and distribution issues (Case, etl, 2008).
On the contrary, some individuals have blamed the problem to natural causes such as drought which are beyond our control ability (Kracht & Schulz, 1999). Nevertheless, given available scientific evidence that the world has enough resources to sustain its population, the problem of food insecurity is no doubt a question of poor agricultural policies.
This paper seeks to refute the claim that “famines are acts of God resulting from bad weather or other natural disasters. Therefore, there is nothing we can do about them except to send food relief after they occur”.
The actual causes of famines
Effective agricultural practices are instrumental in ensuring sustainable food security in the world. On the other hand, resources such as land, rains, and farming capital remain a major challenge to the realization of large scale agricultural production (Babu, etl, 2009).
Famine is defined as a period of food scarcity for sustaining a given population. True to the letter, famines are cause by a combination of natural and mankind factors.
Drought and crop disease outbreaks have been blamed for compromising the yielding capacity of crops (Babu, etl, 2009). This is because they negate the projected production provisions made by farmers. In addition, disasters like floods and strong winds potentially damages plants.
Poor agricultural practices are one of the commonly asserted mankind contributions to famine in the global community. Just like other investments, the level of agricultural outputs is dependent on the farming techniques employed by the farmer. The problem of global warming has also been blamed for causing weather prediction uncertainties (Babu, etl, 2009).
This has prompted the development of adaptive agricultural strategies to enhance production security under such situations. Nevertheless, most farmers, particularly in developing nation are still engaged in traditional farming practices which are no doubt a source of production risk in the event of weather failure. Moreover, failure by government to give farming incentives and subsidies (Babu, etl, 2009) serves to lower agricultural production.
Another artificial cause of famine is lack of effective food preservation and weather prediction strategies. Food security should be a matter of priority in any sober government. This means that the government should have a reliable strategy for monitoring its food reserves (Kracht & Schulz, 1999).
Failure in food production due to natural causes does not always lead to famine as can be evident from the 1989-1992 droughts that were witnessed in southern Africa region. Though agriculture production was low during this time the strategic approach employed by Southern African Development Community (SADC) played a crucial role in evading a famine crisis in the region (Babu, etl, 2009). Therefore, poor food conservation and weather forecasting strategies are major cause of famine.
The impact of agricultural pricing policies on famines
Consideration of agricultural pricing policies is quite important in understanding the problem of famine in a given community. Agriculture as a business serves as a source of livelihood for many individuals in the community. This is particularly true in developing nations where their economy is heavily dependent on agriculture (Case, etl, 2008).
On the other side, in a free market economy, the price of products is determined by the factors of demand and supply. This has the implication that overproduction of agricultural products calls for decreased prices in the market. However, the government as having the responsibility of protecting its economy has been engaged in regulating product prices.
This is evident from government policies such as purchasing agricultural products from farmers into its food reserves at competitive prices (Kracht & Schulz, 1999). Such are instrumental in ensuring farmers of competitive market availability for their products. Nevertheless, government agricultural pricing policies have been blamed for inhibiting production (Case, etl, 2008). According to available information, seasonal overproduction in the agricultural sector has witnessed low prices for such products as well as damage of products due to lack of markets and effective preservation practices.
Through this, the community suffers the consequences of food insecurity, an element that might lead to famine if poor persistent poor weather conditions occur.
In addition, motivation of farmers through effective pricing policies is found to promote innovative agricultural practices (Kracht & Schulz, 1999).
This is because it serves to guarantee farmers sustainable returns for their investments. Available literature has it that the globe is witnessing a gradual shift from agricultural economy to better paying jobs in the formal job market. This is in part a consequence of poor pricing policies in the agricultural sector which threatens sustainable economic independence of farmers (Case, etl, 2008). Indeed, lowered agricultural production in developing nations has been blamed on poor product prices.
This trend is of major concern to the realization of food security in the world, a factor which contributes much to the problem of famine. On the other hand, most developed nations have limited commercial agricultural production to big farms whose production can be efficiently monitored by the government (Clapp, etl, 2009).
This gives the government an added advantage of closely considering its moderation of product prices to protect this major source of food supply to the nation’s population. On the contrary, most developing nations engage in small scale, typically subsistence farming (Clapp, etl, 2009). Such compromises the development of effective government product pricing policies.