Globalization of Food
The term globalization refers to the ongoing process of rapid integration of the global economy facilitated by reduced barriers to movement and transactions costs in goods and capital. Globalization has shown itself in the ever growing world economies interdependence, increase in capital movements, trade flows, which are rising, rapidly and an increase in internationalization of production.
These are often organized between and within multinational corporations. The success of globalization, to a large extent, can be attributed to a massive reduction in transaction costs, which was made possible through efficient communication and transportation facilities, as well as numerous innovations in handling of logistical processes. Systematic reduction in investment and trade barriers has also boosted trade and capital flows. This process has seen those who participated in it reap chunk benefits in terms of income (Marshal 67). In broader terms, the integration into a more competitive and a larger market has increased the returns to investments for producers and provided consumers with a variety of products at lower and affordable prices.
In a nutshell, the broader term globalization is a process of growing integration of the world’s economy. In October 2003, a workshop termed Globalization of food systems impact on food security and nutrition was held in Rome Italy the headquarters of United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization. The main agenda of the meeting was to gain better knowledge on the influence of globalization and urbanization on food systems and analyze their effects more so in developing countries (Bruisma 103) Two principal themes were discussed and that is, small farmers transformation in emerging economies and globalization which has been influenced largely by the urban dietary patterns, and the nutritional patterns of population in urban areas and urbanization. These are some of the tenets of food globalization, which requires further research. In this essay, however, my main focus will be to provide a discussion on the topic of food globalization as a whole.
Nevertheless, I will narrow down to effects of food globalization on the general populace. In every society, especially the developing ones, economic growth and higher standards of living are replacing day to day worries of living. With the goals of success in our minds, the world’s direction towards bigger and better things has never doubted. In this case, technology has been on the forefront in this trend touching people’s lives in all the ways possible. The mention of technology, what comes into one’s mind immediately is Internet, cellular phones, cars and other aspects of life which are non essential.
Technological advancement has been a subject of debate. Whether it has encouraged laziness or social isolation, technology reaches far beyond the socialculture spheres and into the realms of basic needs as human beings. Technology has been under discussion on the infringement of food globalization. Though technology has been known to work for the better of our lives, this case is in question. However, my discussion will not venture into this issue of technology and food globalization, but rather it will explore the globalization of food industry in regards to an increasing global population. Global social and economic change has seen the transformation of food systems at an unprecedented rate.
In developing countries, urbanization, foreign investments in markets of these countries and increasing incomes are the main facilitators to the observed changes. Intensive agriculture, emergence of food retailer outlets such as fast food outlets and supermarkets, new food processing and storage facilities, and the intensification of advertising and marketing of certain products are some of the concrete ways of food production that facilitate changes. The said changes have ensured the availability of diverse foods through out the year for those who can afford them. It has also led to a change in home made foods to pre-prepared ready to eat meals, which are in most cases, consumed away from home. According to World Health Organization’s research on food globalization and its impacts, these lifestyle and food system changes have consequently had an effect on health and nutrition of the people who have embraced it. Among the adults, obesity and rapid increases in weight arise.
Non communicable diseases related to diet are also a common phenomenon. On the other hand, social inequalities are at an increase especially in the urban areas.The common food that is part of our day to day daily meals is not produced in this country. These foods are originally from other countries, thanks to the food globalization that has made this possible. Imagine a situation where people only feed on the food that they produce, life would have been boring. Most food people feed on is a product of globalization (Regmi 317).
Moreover, food globalization has also seen to it that foods are grown using biotechnological techniques. This has seen the production of foods using modern technology; therefore, production is in mass and matures within a short period of time. Americans, more so, are concerned about the safety of foods from biotechnology just like genetically modified plants and animals. The much indecision about genetically modified food and biotechnology food is still in question, and its full acceptability is not guaranteed. The American population though wants their food produced under safe conditions be it globally or domestically.
They are not only concerned about the globalization of food but also trusted sources of food information. The changing food systems, which havve arise, due to forces of globalization has brought with it opportunities as well as challenges. A good number of countries more so the developing ones are faced with the endless burden of food insecurity and under nutrition and at the same time as we had said earlier, changes in diet and physical ability patterns are increasing the incidences of diet -related diseases. For example, the coronary diseases, hypertension, diabetes, among other diseases. In these foods, it appears there is a deficiency in micronutrient. The impact of food globalization both positive and negative is also worth mentioning.
There is concern on the change in the diet which come about as a result of control of food systems and influence by transnational and multinational corporations. In addition, there is also an alarm over the disappearing local culture and food traditions. Environment too has suffered in that there has been degradation arising from intensification of inputs into agricultural system, sustainability of the system, and loss of biodiversity. Traditional community life has also been eroded. These traditional communities have small stores can provide foods at an affordable costs to locals.
Supermarkets, on the other hand, tend to give priority to suppliers who guarantee regular and quantity thus at the end of it eliminating the small farmers unable to meet these standards. This, therefore, undermines the small -scale livelihood forcing farmers with limited options and most of them opt to migrate to urban areas.A number of dilemmas and controversies also surround food globalization. In an effort, to find a way to feed the ever growing number of population, the necessitation of use of technology arises. However, the problems that come along with it are serious and need to be addressed adequately.
Science and technology need to be tapped in order to meet this challenge. The problems are not only technical in nature, but are interwoven with beliefs, cultures, histories, values, and traditions. Politics and economy are also other controversial issues. The challenges are met easily only when non technical challenges are identified. Another reason why genetically modified food has aroused much controversy is that it contains genetic material manipulated. People view this as manipulation of nature and, therefore, unnatural.
Consequently, they believe that those who take these foods perhaps will be unnatural too (Mein 54). In conclusion, having defined the broader term globalization, analyzed technology and its contribution to food globalization, and last but not least the positive and the negative effects of food globalization, we can argue out that globalization is a part of technology that has greatly transformed the sector. In a nutshell, one can argue out that food globalization has brought joy to peoples table as well as other harmful effects.