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Impact of Natural Disasters on Food Supply

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  • Last Updated : 20 Oct, 2021
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The regular availability, accessibility, and affordability of food for all people is known as food security. At the point when food security is imperiled, it is reliant upon the government and its Public Distribution System (PDS) for checking and intercession. The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has raised awareness of the world’s numerous paradoxes, such as the fact that hunger has risen in tandem with other kinds of malnutrition, in recent years. Its fundamental design is to ensure individuals have customary admittance to enough great food to lead dynamic, solid lives. The World Food Program (WFP) seeks to provide food aid to over 80 million people in 80 countries and is always ready to respond to disasters. Besides this, its aim is also to avoid future hunger.

A country’s food security is guaranteed when each of its occupants approaches sufficient good food, everybody has the monetary way to buy food of satisfactory quality, and there are no hindrances to food accessibility. Individuals who live beneath the destitution line might be food-shaky constantly, though other people who are in an ideal situation might become food uncertain because of a misfortune or catastrophe. As far as the Global Food Security Index 2020 (GFSI 2020), India is positioned 71st out of 113 enormous nations. Nations that have accomplished more noteworthy public and family food security, for the most part, have a history of solid political accentuation on agribusiness, cautious thought of financial impetuses for agrarian creation, and human and monetary interests in exploration, augmentation, and preparing.

Some of the government initiatives for food security:

 National Food Security Mission:

  • It is a 2007-launched Centrally Sponsored Scheme.
  • Its goal is to increase rice, wheat, pulses, coarse cereals, and commercial crop production by expanding the area and improving productivity.

Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana (RKVY):

  • It was established in 2007 and allows states to choose their own agriculture and allied sector development activities in accordance with their district/state agriculture plans.
  • Its goal is to make farming a profitable economic activity by enhancing farmer effort, reducing risk, and encouraging agri-business entrepreneurship. Pre- and post-harvest infrastructure, as well as agricultural entrepreneurship and innovation, are all priorities.

Over the last two decades, the government has taken major measures to fight under-nutrition and malnutrition by introducing various programs:

  • Mid-day meals at schools: It is a centrally sponsored scheme that includes all school pupils in Government and Government-Aided Schools in Classes I-VIII.
  • To supply meals to pregnant and nursing women, Anganwadi programs have been established.
  • Subsidized grain is distributed through a public distribution system to individuals living in poverty.

Impact of Natural Disasters on Food Supply Chain:

It causes Food Shortage:

Natural catastrophes and food scarcity are inextricably linked. Floods, storms, tsunamis, droughts, and other climate-related threats can jeopardize food security and negatively damage agricultural activity. As a result, market access, commerce, and food supply are impacted, as well as income, food prices, agricultural revenue, and employment. Food insecurity and catastrophes disproportionately impact the weakest members of society; hence, it is necessary to be prepared as well as capable of managing calamities. Because India’s relatively high rates of economic growth have not resulted in a reduction in hunger and undernutrition, food security remains a top development priority for the country. Calamities have the potential to disrupt food supplies, market access, and trade. Agriculture value-added or sector growth, as well as national GDP, declines when post-disaster output losses are considerable, especially in nations where the sector contributes significantly to economic growth.

Relation of Poverty with the result of price increases:

Agriculture is the major source of livelihoods and food security in many of the nation’s most vulnerable to natural catastrophes, as well as a significant engine of economic growth. High production losses in medium- and large-scale catastrophes can lead to increased imports of food and it resulting increased public spending to end hunger and food poverty, as well as to construct sustainable, affluent futures. 

Cause of famine and starvation:

Famine is an inescapable circumstance wherein an enormous number of individuals in a nation or locale need admittance to a suitable food supply. Malnutrition, hunger, illness, and a high death rate are all consequences of famines. A famine can be caused by a natural disaster, such as prolonged drought, flooding, extreme cold, typhoons, bug infestations, or plant disease, in combination with government decisions on how to respond to the crisis. A natural calamity might start a famine, and a government’s incompetence or reluctance to cope with the repercussions could amplify the impact. If a natural disaster strikes a large region or occurs over a lengthy period of time, it may result in starvation. When crops or food distribution facilities are destroyed as a result of a natural catastrophe, it has a significant impact on the availability of food in the surrounding area which later becomes starvation. 

Effect on farmer’s income:

Farmers in rural areas are more vulnerable to economic downturns because they rely heavily on natural resources and have no other source of income or employment. Farmers’ crops will be harmed by natural disasters, and they will be unable to sell them at a good price. When landlords are unable to sell their crops at a good price, they will make less profit, and in order to increase their profit, they will hire fewer farmers. This will result in increased unemployment in the agricultural sector, lowering Marginal Labor’s income. Thus, unemployment will rise, resulting in a decrease in people’s earnings. This will exacerbate national inequalities as well.

An economy can lose the comparative advantage

Calamitous catastrophes demolish fundamental rural foundations and resources on a regular basis, disrupting creation cycles, exchange streams, and employment opportunities. This has an impact on food security, as well as causing additional disruptions across the value chain. The production of the overall nation will be reduced due to natural calamities, which will have a direct effect on the agricultural output of the nation. As output goes down, countries like India, where agricultural activities are high, will lose their comparative advantage at some point. This will also negatively affect the exports of the country, which will have an impact on the overall macroeconomy.


Hunger and other types of malnutrition continue to impact millions of people across the world. Natural disasters pose a short–term threat to food security, as well as a long–term threat to economic growth. The overall output of food grains drops as a result of a natural catastrophe. It causes a food shortage in the influenced regions. Food security is a critical public health concern during a disaster because total food grain production is severely impacted. We need a well-functioning food system for everyone to obtain adequate proper food stock during such natural calamities as these are unavoidable, and no one can stop them, but the government can prepare the country for the consequences.

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