Food regulation and sustainability

The contemporary world is riddled with several developing uncertainties with food security and effective regulations being a prominent one. With the world population expected to reach 9 billion by 2050, the food requirement is anticipated at over 70% of current levels. Sustainably achieving these levels particularly against rising prices of food and fuel, climate changes, and competition for land and water; is a huge challenge. Universal food security is very critical as it is relevant to social welfare, political stability, and economic growth. Given the challenges at hand, food regulations are important in ensuring that food production is not only sustainable but also in line with the framework of the healthcare and food safety requirements.

Farmers today operate in an increasingly globalized world. In their efforts to contribute more to sustainable food provision, they are faced with several challenges like securing the future of their farms and their livelihood. As farmers strive to meet these challenges, they also serve as constituents of a large supply chain that includes corporate traders and retailers. Farmers have to adopt different strategies while responding to pressures and demands. Some of these prominent producer strategies include genetic modification, regional food labels and multi-functionality, and organic agriculture. Irrespective of the strategies adopted, all farmers are faced with the consequences of globalization, which include the pressure of higher productivity.

Sustainable food production is reflective of producing food in an ecologically-compliant and ethically responsible manner. This is in contrast to industrial-crop production associated with mono-cropping and extensive use of commercial pesticides and fertilizers, resulting in damage to the environment and people. Sustainable food production contributes to higher yields with time, and is environmentally friendly while also costing less.

Local food systems contribute to improving food security by increasing the accessibility of fresh and healthy food to populations having limited access of these. Local food systems have proved to contribute to the local economy too. Although these local and regional food systems are growing, there exist several barriers to initiating or expanding one, which need to be addressed. Establishing food hubs at the local and regional levels, help farmers meet their logistical, transportation, and marketing needs.

Regulatory frameworks covering all aspects of food production and consumption require to be reviewed at every stage. In trying to meet the challenges of food security and sustainable food production, we must also ensure that regulatory frameworks too keep pace with the developments.