The problems with our food supply systems

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Global food supply systems are what we all rally on for food and we usually don’t think about them or how they are structured. They just work and the food finds its place on our tables. That’s how things are most of the time, but the global pandemic we’re dealing with has shown that things aren’t always that easy.

It’s important therefore to examine the systems we’re using and to think of alternatives before the next big event and possibly during this one since it will be one of the biggest disruptions in our lives and the economy we have ever witnessed.

Unsustainable agriculture practices

The first big problem that our food production is facing is about the unsustainability of the food production itself. Most of what’s used to produce food are not unlimited resources and they are being depleted by use.

This needs to change and it can only change by moving toward a more sustainable approach to agriculture and one that doesn’t work to deplete the natural resources needed for its survival. It will take time and effort to do so, but it’s safe to say that this crisis will move thing along.

Centralization

Centralization is another issue troubling the food industry and it’s a long term problem that came about of the years and is very much connected with the fact that it’s now a big business industry. It’s a problem for an ordinary consumer since the problem with the food system that’s happening across the world, affects everyone in particular.

The solution to this is to use the services of local farms and local food vendors. That is something that’s already happening right now and that came about naturally when the problems started arising.

Funding

Small and family farms are having trouble with the funding that they need in order to start the business in the first place and to remain competitive. This is especially noticeable since most of their counterparts in large scale businesses don’t have this problem and can always outspend them.

Even now, when there’s more of a demand for the locally grown produce, there’s a problem for these small companies steaming from the fact that they can’t meet that demand without expanding their production and thus borrowing more money. This is where a well-placed subsidy can help.

No back up

For the most part food production businesses are made to work with very little in terms of the profit margin. This means that the business isn’t made to save and store the produce they make or the profit the gain. Instead all of it goes towards expenses or re-investing.

When something like this happens, there’s less demand and there are stops in the usually chain of doing things. Businesses simply can’t take that and there’s a problem with the whole food supply system. We’re all going to need to learn to go a bit slower and to pace their development and growth.

Health risks

No one thinks about the health problems that might come up until they do. There are plenty of health risks related to producing and moving food since a lot of people are involved in the process. When there’s an epidemic such as this one, each of the people involved in the process can be a carrier.

It’s therefore important to come up with the ways to do what we have always done but in a way that minimize these risks. It’s not an easy thing to do and it will take us all time to adjust.

Focus on meat

Most of the vegetables and agricultural products in general are used to feed the animals and thus to produce meat. This is because of our culinary practices and tradition in that regard. This isn’t a good way to structure the industry for both the environmental and financial reasons.

Changing the way, we eat and how our produce is used is therefore the biggest change we could make. This isn’t easy and it can’t be done fast. It will take an effort from the general consumer population and not just businesses and governmental institutions.

Conclusion

There are plenty of problems that are pressing our food systems and that can cause trouble for an ordinary consumer and the industry as a whole. This is now more noticeable than ever because of the disruption caused by the covid19 epidemics and the measures put in place to deal with it.

This will require long term and sustainable changes that need to be done by everyone involved in the food production process. That’s something that takes time and will be costly, but it’s a more sustainable thing to do and it’s a way to prepare for the future disruptions such as this one.

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