What is Food and Nutrition Security (FNS)?
The concept of food and nutrition security is made up of two distinct, yet inseparable parts that individually, havefuelled debates over decades.
is when there is enough food physically available over time, for a particular household,community, country and/or region to meet their daily needs.Debate continues as to whether FNS should mean that a country should produce most of its own food, or focuson increasing wealth to purchase food from others (imports). Some leading experts have advised (developing)countries to concentrate their resources and efforts in areas that offer the greatest return to investment, wealthcreation and economic growth. This is usually veiled advice to ‘get out of agriculture and food production’. This isalso based on the premise that developed countries are ‘better at it’ and can supply foods at lower prices!
is when individuals in households, communities, countries and/or regions use food,through consumption, as raw materials for growth, fuel for energy and vitamins and minerals that keep thebody healthy and functioning properly.The nutrition debate has been re-ignited as the negative impacts of ‘poor nutrition’, due to poor diets, are becomingclearer and more costly in terms of wide-ranging illnesses, rising health care costs and ultimately death! Moreworrisome is that such nutrition-related illnesses are affecting a significant number of children and young adults.Because of this, a number of foods are being closely scrutinised for links between their over-consumption andill-health.Taken separately, these debates need to resolved and addressed. A first essential step is to keep the two individualparts of the concept firmly connected. It should become clear that food security and nutrition security are not thesame; that they are two sides of one coin, and that they cannot exist or be treated in isolation of each other.
Food is an important and major, but not only source of nutrition.But not all foods provide the nutrients that the body needs for good health.Understanding Food and Nutrition security is to understand that an individual must choose, amongthe increasingly diverse range of available foods within their means, those that are ‘nutrient dense’, inorder to keep the body healthy. Simply put, individuals must ‘fuel-up’ on a mix of foods that have thegreatest nutritional value and not ‘fill-up’ on ‘empty calorie’ foods. Empty calories are foods, though veryattractive, tasty and filling, contain little or no nutritional value, often called ‘Junk food’. Too much of their consumption is detrimental to good health.