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Strategies For Attaining Sustainable Food Security

By on March 31, 2012

The World   Food summit of 1996 defined food security as existing “When all people at all times have access to sufficient, safe, nutritious food to maintain a healthy and active life”. Commonly, the concept of food security is defined as including both physical and economic access to food that meets people’s dietary needs as well as their food preferences.

Sustainable development seeks to meet the needs and aspirations of the present without compromising the ability to meet those of the future, and Sustainable food security is linked to economic development, trade and the environment .

If food security is a crucial and vital aspect of National sustainability, and development Why is it not a Key Policy direction of the Governments of leading nations of the Globe? When you look at the budgets of over 120 governments in the world today the key policy directions  range from Defence, Economic Development , Tourism, Science and Research, etc while Food security and Agriculture is given low- budgetary allocation .

Treating the issue of food security with levity led to  an avoidable Global food crisis in 2007 that hit Europe, Asia and America due to poor economic policies and prioritization on sustainable food security measures and techniques.

It was so severe and acute that price of foodstuffs increased by 20% and countries like Thailand that produce rice, were performing below expected output and production, creating an initial scarcity that instilled fear for rice consumers.

In 2004  the Food and Agricultural Organization(FAO) warned that world hunger is back on the increase and was threatening to torpedo international efforts to halve the number of undernourished people by 2015.

By its record the number of hungry people worldwide fell by 37m, but the report for the 2003/2004 showed that there was an increase in the number of hungry people to the tune of 18 million, something quite alarming.

The  2011  Food and Agricultural Organization admits that food prices had hit a record high in December,2010 surpassing the levels seen during the 2007-08 crisis, which will increase fears of a repetition of complete scarcity of food and low supply, that will accelerate prices  of foodstuff.

From the analysis of the FAO the price of foodstuff  and agricultural commodities  like wheat, corn, rice, oilseeds, dairy products, sugar and meats jumped December,2010 to 214.7 points up almost 4.2 percent from November,2010. This index is at its highest since  the measure was first calculated in 1990.

This means that consumers by the analysis   may have little choice but to pay price higher prices for their food  and International prices could rise even  more if production next year does not increase significantly. Especially  in Corn, Soybeans and Wheat.

President Susilo Bambang   Yudhono addressing  the 2011  concluded Davos Economic Forum in Switzerland , said that with  a  Global population projected to rise from 7 billion people currently to nine billion people in 2045, there is need for concerted effort  to ensuring food security and availability.

He said that the population explosion will effect a race for scarce, which will invariably lead to conflict, chaos, and crisis, but still from davos President Sarkozy called for the regulation of the volatility and speculation of food prices.

More scary is the fact that  “Harder times” await the globe if the issue of Global agricultural production, price regulation, speculation and investments in sustainable food security are not given proper attention and priority by Political and Business Leaders.

There are three things that can be done to ensure and guarantee Food Security in the Globe before it escalates to an unprecedented crisis level that can pose great dangers to Human Development.

First is a Commitment from Leaders in the Globe to increase their Budgetary Allocations to the Agricultural Sectors boosting massive production of crops  like Rice, Wheat, Cassava, Yam, etc and also sustain fish farming . The massive allocation should also be fashioned to provide subsidy for peasant and commercial farmers that are ready to produce   food crops like the Chinese Government of Hu Jintao has done in their 2012 Economic plan.

Second is a need to step up the  Multilateral and Bilateral agreements and partnerships  that will encourage   Research, Innovation, and Improved Techniques for   Agricultural Production, Effective Food Storage measures that will guarantee food security  across the Globe.

When about 50  Leaders across the Globe  gathered in London on February 23rd  to discuss the famine situation in Somalia which is a deplorable one British Prime Minister  David Cameron warned ‘If the rest of us just sit back and look on we will pay a price for doing so’. That has been the attitude of Leaders in the past towards the issue of hunger and food security  in the Globe and it is time for a change of paradigm and strategy.

Ottoabasi Abasiekong
[email protected]

Public and International Affairs Analyst