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Support Government Efforts In Food Security

By Hashim Msusa

Not because it’s raining and farming is in progress, but because the issue of food security is fundamental. Fundamental in the sense that hunger saps strength and blunts intelligence; life is lost especially those of the vulnerable children. What position does Islam take in addressing food security?

The Noble Qur’an reminds the human race with the concept of change.

God Almighty changes not the conditions of a people (including the availability of food) until they change what is in themselves. (13:11)

Change of conditions as explained in the Qur’an entails that; food security can be realized by formulating sustainable methods of farming. Additionally, turning tables of our conditions should include social, spiritual and institutional perspective.

If harmonization between God Almighty orders, and humanity behaviour were followed, food security would be realized. Look! Even though humanity is in diverse spiritual direction, notably, Allah tells people in the Book He revealed, the Qur’an that it includes all needed management particulars and values for all aspects of human life activities including food security.

What is food security all about? According to the 1996 World Food Summit, “Food security exists when all people, at all times, have physical and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food that meets their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life.”

Conversely, for a country like Malawi to attain food security and to go by the definition of food security above, there is need for rapid increase in food production. As a nation, still we are unable to increase food production to meet the increasing demand both at national and household level.

The question begs itself as we talk about food security. Who carries the obligation? Food security obligation lies on everyone, from producers, to consumers, processors, and distributors. From the Islamic perspective, it is the government’s responsibility to ensure that every individual in the country has enough food to eat.

Government is obliged to appropriately plan and monitor food production for both domestic and imports.

Nonetheless, food security is an obligation of every person and the rest of the society. The Noble Qur’an, revealed 1400 years ago, clearly spelt out important principles to be observed by all humanity, especially pertaining to securing enough food by every citizen. Some of these principles are imposed on the rich targeted at helping the poor to secure food.

A classical example, of obligation to food security is the incidence, which occurred during the era of Prophet Yusuf (Joseph) (Peace be upon

him) when he was made the King of Egypt. He predicted years of bumper crops, followed by years of dry spell. With such a prophetic example, who then is responsible for planning, monitoring and implementing effective measures to achieve and maintain food security?

Finally, we cannot talk of food security without considering the fact that capital play a vital role in production of food.  Even if Malawi receives good rains, local subsistence farmers fail to effectively cultivate their land due to capital.

As a nation, there is need for organizations, the private sector, to join hands, as the rainy season picks to adopt charity-based approach to food security, by providing farming inputs. Such an approach may support government efforts to achieve food security.