Understanding Food Security and its Components as an Issue

Food security is a global issue which is most importantly apparent in the developing countries. First, we have to know that what is food security and its components? Then, we have to discuss it as an issue of concern.


According to FAO (2004), “food security exists when all people, at all times, have physical, social and economic access to sufficient, safe, and nutritious food which meets their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life”.

The above definition shows that there is mainly three basic components of food security i.e. food availability, food accessibility, and utilization of food.

Components of Food Security

Food Availability

The first components of food security are the availability of food. This element deals with a situation, where sufficient quantities of food are constantly available to all individuals. Food is made available to the individuals of a nation through production at household level, domestic outputs, commercial imports, and food assistance (Bashir et al., 2013).

Food Accessibility

The second component of food security is food accessibility. It is attained when individuals and households have enough resources to obtain appropriate and nutritious food. Various factors including
income levels, its distribution and food prices affect food accessibility (Bashir et al., 2013).

Food Utilization

The third and last component of food security is food utilization. It is when food is properly and biological used. Food utilization means a diet to provide sufficient energy and essential nutrients. Food shortages and the processing techniques affect food utilization within the households. Additionally, the basic principles of nutrition, proper child care, and illness management also affect food utilization (Bashir et al., 2013 and Riely et al., 1999).

The Issue of Food Security

Food security is a global problem. According to the FAO (2010, 2015), worldwide 795 million people are suffering from food insecurity. The issue is found with more severity in the developing countries, where 780 million population suffer from food insecurity. However, food insecurity is more profound in developing countries. Among these countries, the food insecurity is higher in Sub-Saharan African and South Asian countries. There are 281 million undernourished people in South Asian countries making it the highest region in terms of food insecurity (FAO, 2015 and FAO, 2010).


Food security is a global problem which requires immediate actions. Food security can be to meet when its three components i.e. availability, accessibility, and utilization are achieved. However, the developing countries and especially, South Asian countries have the issue with high intensity. Therefore, there is a need of governmental and non-governmental organizations’ efforts in this endeavor.

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