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Food security is defined by the World Health Organization as “when all people at all times have access to sufficient, safe, nutritious food to maintain a healthy and active life”. This is becoming increasingly difficult to maintain in all global sectors with increased population, trade restrictions and the effects of pests and diseases on quality and yield. These factors are compounded by predicted reduced availability of resources such as energy (oil) and fertilizer (phosphorous), and climate challenges. The food that is produced must also be free from pathogens or secondary compounds that affect human or livestock health. This subject will explore the causes of food insecurity and mitigation strategies to secure food at the local and global levels by farmers (producers), politicians, scientists and non-government organizations alike, with a strong focus on the biological and applied production issues.
Topics will include:
- Definitions and causes of food insecurity
- Risks to food security from the environment and current production systems
- Socio-political and cultural reasons behind food crises and lack of access to adequate food
- Securing food locally through rescue and redistribution, and reduced food wastage
- Health risks from food chain contamination
- Major plant and animal-borne diseases that impact food security and their accurate diagnosis
- Impacts of resource utilisation and genetic modifications on the food chain and the environment
- Quarantine measures and impacts for securing food quality and quantity
- Challenges of securing food in a changing climate and adaptations that can address this.
Intended learning outcomes
On completion of this subject, students will be knowledgeable in:
- Causes of food insecurity (political, cultural, economic and biological)
- Vulnerability and resilience of food systems
- Current national and international focus on food policy
- Securing food in a changing world
- Practical grass roots approaches to reducing food waste
- Impacts of pests and diseases on food security
- Pre and post farm-gate methods for food protection and human health protection
- Transformational changes occurring in food production systems aimed to increase yields under current and predicted climatic risks
On completion of this subject, students should have developed:
- An ability to critically review scientific literature
- Communication skills, through written and oral presentations
- A sense of intellectual curiosity
Last updated: 29 April 2020