Distribution encompasses the disparate infrastructure, policy, and organizational mechanisms which form the backbone of the world’s intricate food supply chain. How we distribute food is critical to the equity and efficacy of any solution addressing food insecurity. According to the UN World Food Programme, there is enough food in the world today to feed everyone, but is not being adequately distributed, leaving countless people malnourished. Factors such as poor transportation networks, oppressive foreign policies, lack of access to technology, and natural disasters perpetuate this status quo.
Over the course of the next century, we aim to provide developing countries with the resources and knowledge to create much needed infrastructure and to maintain them independently. We believe this will help developing countries become self-sustainable by building infrastructure for the transportation and distribution of food, improving emergency response, creating storage solutions, and empowering smallholder farmers.
Building Infrastructure In Developing Countries
Our main focus is in developing countries where farmers are unable to transport their crops to large markets. We aim to improve infrastructure in the form of expanding existing transportation to cover larger areas and make land-based food exports more profitable. We also explore the possibility of scalable development in both developing and developed countries.
Recent trends in natural disasters point towards an increase in droughts and storms due to climate change. In response, we suggest methods to prepare for extreme events, alleviate the devastation, and deal with the aftermath.
The current food aid process is inefficient, expensive, and harmful to local economies. This is largely due to donors using food aid to advance their own interests. In order to better serve those in need, we recommend the elimination of program aid, monetization, tied aid, and bilateral aid. This affords greater flexibility to organizations like the UN World Food Programme with lower costs and shorter delivery times as compared to current techniques. We also support the use of local and triangular purchases, cash transfers, and food vouchers rather than direct food aid, given that food is readily available for purchase in the affected region. Together, these changes will result in lower prices, but a faster and wider spread response, while contributing to the growth of local economies.
Installing and Improving Storage Facilities
The proper storage of food increases shelf life of crops, halves crop loss and thus increases food availability beyond the harvest season. We plan on helping developing countries keep food spoilage from occurring both in transportation, and in storage by providing the knowledge to create and maintain their own storage facilities.
Empowering Smallholder Farmers
Despite producing enough food, smallholders make up a majority of the food insecure, often because they don’t have access to critical resources and information. Farmer’s cooperatives and market information systems enable smallholders to increase their productivity and profitability and increase their economic standing, gaining food security.
Improving Accessibility in Urban Areas
For many low-income communities healthy food is difficult to access due to a lack of proximity and/or affordability. This unequal distribution of food results in poor diets and severe health consequences. We plan on addressing this problem by promoting the development of community gardens, which will improve the physical accessibility to fresh produce. Furthermore, partnerships between wholesalers and retailers would allow for healthy foods to be sold at an affordable price. These changes, in addition to establishing nutrition education programs that aim to increase awareness about health and diet, will help reduce the disparity in nutrition consumption.