The modern food system has wreaked havoc in many areas. Huge investments have been made in artificial input agriculture which has degraded the soil and polluted both ground water and rivers. The production of these artificial inputs like chemical fertilisers and insecticides causes even more pollution and disasters like the Bhopal Gas Leak which is still counting its fatal victims. Local agricultural production, especially in dry land areas where irrigation is not possible is neglected and it has decayed. The people in these areas who constituted the majority of the population of the world have to buy food produced in the industrialised farms from the market. Since they do not have the wherewithal to do so they are forced to go hungry. Their miseries are increased by the fact that financial institutions speculate on the world food markets and raise the cost of agricultural commodities even further. So much so that even Governments find it difficult to buy food and then distribute it at subsidised prices to the poor.
The biggest problem is that of the sustainability of food production. Agricultural bio-diversity is fast decreasing and instead of farmers, big agri-business multinationals are the ones who are producing and marketing seeds. The latest trend being the introduction of genetically modified seeds. What will happen if there are only a few strains of GM seeds around controlled by greedy multinational corporations a few years down the line is a sobering thought.
Another major problem area is that of water resource management. The huge demands of water for irrigation has led to the over exploitation of groundwater and the construction of large dams leading to serious social and environmental problems. In situ soil and water conservation have been neglected in the same way as dry land agriculture leading to serious problems of erosion and water scarcity.
However, despite these multiple problems the greed of financial oligarchs and technocrats is leading us down a path to perdition. Continuous propaganda through advertising and also the promotion of food habits through films and soap operas has led to unhealthy over eating by the rich which sustains the artificial industrialised agriculture that has created the present food crisis the world over. So even though it would be sensible to go back to a decentralised organic agriculture based localised food system this will not be possible in the near future.