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Wicked Problem Essay

844 words - 4 pages

A wicked problem is defined as having “no stopping rule”, as well as being a “symptom of another problem” (Rittel, 1973). Food Security is said, by the World Health Organisation (2014), to be based on three pillars of, food availability, food access and food use. Meaning that the problem is multi-causal, as it relies on sufficient food quantities, sufficient resources to obtain appropriate foods, and appropriate use.

Food Security can be seen as a wicked problem, because it has no stopping rule as it can be linked to natural resource depletion and climate change and is also therefore multi-causal. The European Commission believes that the problem will become worse due to their projected 70% increase in food demand by 2050, as a result of a growing population and changing diets (Freibauer, et. al. 2011)

The major problem of the growing population is the question of balancing population and land area. Land area is not entirely fixed but does not vary much compared to the time scale. (UN, 2004) According to the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (2004), 99% of the expected increment in world population will occur in less developed regions, and as less developed areas have less access to technology, food security will be further diminished. (Monsanto, 2014).

Climate change effects the food systems through crop production. Changes to rainfall, which can either lead to drought or flooding, will have impacts on production (food availability). This will have further effects on markets, as food prices will change (food access).(Gregory et. al. 2005). However, there are some doubts to wether climate change is even occurring.

Monsanto (2014) believes that due to the growing population, in order to feed everyone, food production will need to double. The problem is not only volume, but distribution, as well as the types of foods. Food is unevenly distributed, as more developed areas have better access than developing areas and is relatively more affordable. (Monsanto, 2014). Monsanto aims to combat this through joining the ‘Invest an Acre’ program, which encourages farmers to donate a portion of their harvest to those suffering hunger in the USA. Monsanto also matches the donation, dollar for dollar, which not only combats the immediate problem, but also the long-term.(Invest an Acre, 2014) The problem of Food Insecurity is only solvable through temporary, short-term solutions to the immediate problem, which will allow for further developments in the future (van Latesteijn, 2012), and as a wicked problem, “each attempt counts significantly” (Rittel, 1973). The Invest an Acre program aids the immediate problem through...

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