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On Planning for Development: Right to Food and Food Security
Food Prices - Rural Development - Agrarian Policies - AgribusinessLandgrab - Migration - Poverty - Globalization

Sustainable Food Systems:
The Role of the City

by Robert Biel

December 5, 2016


This book, by a leading expert in urban agriculture, offers a genuine solution to today’s global food crisis. By contributing more to feeding themselves, cities can allow breathing space for the rural sector to convert to more organic sustainable approaches. Biel’s approach connects with current debates about agroecology and food sovereignty, asks key questions, and proposes lines of future research. He suggests that today’s food insecurity – manifested in a regime of wildly fluctuating prices – reflects not just temporary stresses in the existing mode of production, but more profoundly the troubled process of generating a new one. He argues that the solution cannot be implemented at a merely technical or political level: the force of change can only be driven by the kind of social movements which are now daring to challenge the existing unsustainable order. Drawing on both his academic research and teaching, and 15 years’ experience as a practising urban farmer, Biel brings a unique interdisciplinary approach to this key global issue, creating a dialogue between the physical and social sciences


New York University Law Students for Human Rights
This paper is authored by the Law Students for Human Rights at New York University School of Law. It was prepared at the request of the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food to inform a multi-stakeholder consultation convening on June 19-20, 2009 in Berlin, Germany on the role of the agribusiness sector in the realization of the right to food

Transnational Corporations and the right to Food
Aaron Bloom, Colleen Duffy, Monica Iyer, Aaron Jacobs;Smith,and Laura Moy - 2009

It is both ironic and tragic that eighty percent of the world’s hungry are food producers. Fifty percent of these are small-hold farmers, twenty percent are farm workers, and ten percent are pastoralists and fishermen. The other twenty percent of the world’s hungry are made up of the urban poor, who are acutely affected by rising food prices. In this context, the Transnational Corporations (“TNCs”) that operate in the food sector are crucially important in the struggle against hunger.
Not only is there a grave power imbalance between TNCs and the small-hold farmers and farm workers who supply them, but these TNCs also directly employ approximately 700 million wage workers, some of whom are among those who have the least access to adequate food.

UNCTAD Discussion papers No. 196
by Michael Herrmann,
01/11/09 (UNCTAD/OSG/DP/2009/4), 40 pages

Food security and agricultural development in times of high commodity prices

Efforts to promote food security must distinguish between short-term and medium-term measures, but also between countries with agricultural potential and without such potential, argues this paper. Furthermore, while high international food prices provide appropriate incentives for agricultural development, it would be misguided to expect that they will automatically result in an increase of agricultural output.

Globally, food security is both a demand-side and the supply-side challenge. High food prices make it more difficult to address food security on the demand-side, as more and more low-income households become unable to afford sufficient food, but at the same time, higher food prices can provide impetus to address food security on the supply-side, as more and more farmers may find it lucrative to increase agricultural production. However, not all countries can address both challenges simultaneously...

From Foreign Policy
Don't blame American appetites, rising oil prices, or genetically modified crops for rising food prices. Wall Street's at fault for the spiraling cost of food.

How Goldman Sachs Created the Food Crisis
By Frederick Kaufman - April 27 2011

Demand and supply certainly matter. But there's another reason why food across the world has become so expensive: Wall Street greed.
It took the brilliant minds of Goldman Sachs to realize the simple truth that nothing is more valuable than our daily bread. And where there's value, there's money to be made. In 1991, Goldman bankers, led by their prescient president Gary Cohn, came up with a new kind of investment product, a derivative that tracked 24 raw materials, from precious metals and energy to coffee, cocoa, cattle, corn, hogs, soy, and wheat.
They weighted the investment value of each element, blended and commingled the parts into sums, then reduced what had been a complicated collection of real things into a mathematical formula that could be expressed as a single manifestation, to be known henceforth as the Goldman Sachs Commodity Index (GSCI)...

From Oxfam

Growing a Better Future
Food justice in a resource-constrained world

Robert Bailey - 31 May 2011

"The global food system works only for the few – for most of us it is broken. It leaves the billions of us who consume food lacking sufficient power and knowledge about what we buy and eat and the majority of small food producers disempowered and unable to fulfil their productive potential.
"The failure of the system flows from failures of government – failures to regulate, to correct, to protect, to resist, to invest – which mean that companies, interest groups, and elites are able to plunder resources and to redirect flows of finance, knowledge, and food.

"This report describes a new age of growing crisis: food price spikes and oil price hikes, devastating weather events, financial meltdowns, and global contagion. Behind each of these, slow-burn crises smoulder: creeping and insidious climate change, growing inequality, chronic hunger and vulnerability, the erosion of our natural resources."

Oxfam International Case Study:
Why India is Losing Its War on Hunger
Swati Narayan, Independent food and education policy specialist - 31 May 2011

"India is home to a quarter of the world’s hungry people. Since the Green Revolution, the country has produced enough food to feed itself, but it has not yet been able to wipe out mass hunger. Currently, 40 per cent of the population is malnourished – a decline of only 10 per cent in the past three decades.
"Stellar economic growth has not delivered on its promise for poverty reduction and food security. Following a series of neoliberal economic reforms in 1991, India’s GDP has doubled, but despite this, 53 million more people now go to bed hungry every night. To make matters worse, food prices have recently soared. Poor families, who spend more than 60 per cent of their incomes on food, are increasingly struggling to stretch their meagre household budgets.
"Unfortunately, small-scale producers have not benefited from high retail prices for food either, as they usually low prices for their produce. Clearly, the country is in the midst of both an agrarian crisis and a nutrition crisis."

Sleeping Lions.
International investment treaties, state-investor disputes and access to food, land and water

Javier Perez, Myriam Gistelinck, and Dima Karbala - Oxfam - May 2011

Today, the world’s natural resources are under increasing pressure and are often the object of important power struggles between corporations, states and communities. National governments and international institutions are responsible for shaping the environment in which these different interests operate.
As foreign investments in land, water and other natural resources grow in number and magnitude, international investment treaties have become more and more relevant. The international investment legal framework prioritizes the protection of investors’rights over almost any other consideration.
Will this system weaken developing countries’ capacity to regulate their food, land and water sectors and introduce policies that promote food security and poverty reduction? What lessons can be learnt from the past? This paper sets forth the principal elements of this debate through the analysis of eleven international cases of state-investor disputes.

Governance for a resilient food system
Alex Evans - 1 June 2011
Center on International Cooperation, New York University

Today, the world produces enough to feed all seven billion of its inhabitants – but nearly a billion people still go without. This paper is about why this global scandal continues, and what can be done to solve it. Its central argument is that access to food is as important as how much food is produced – and that in a world of food price volatility, climate change and other kinds of shocks and stresses, the challenge of building resilience in the food system takes on overwhelming importance.
Section One of the paper looks at what needs to happen within developing countries, focusing, in particular, on a massive scale-up in provision of social protection systems that target the poorest and most vulnerable people...
Section Two of the paper turns to action that needs to be taken internationally – above all to tackle the sharp increase in food price volatility of recent years...
Section Three focuses on ways of easing current tightness in the global supply and demand balance for food through policies to reduce demand. While policymakers are right to focus on increasing food production, a range of factors – including climate change, water scarcity, competition for land, energy security issues and falling rates of crop yield growth – suggest that this may not be easy...
Finally, Section Four explores how this agenda can be put into practice...

From The Economist - February 26th 2011 -
The 9 billion-people question
A special report on feeding the world

IN HIS 1981 essay, “Poverty and Famines”, Amartya Sen, an Indian economist, argued that the 1943 Bengal famine, in which 3m people died, was not caused by any exceptional fall in the harvest and pointed out that food was still being exported from the state while millions perished. He concluded that the main reason for famines is not a shortage of basic food. Other factors—wages, distribution, even democracy—matter more.

In 1996 the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) estimated that the world was producing enough food to provide every man, woman and child with 2,700 calories a day, several hundred more than most adults are thought to need (around 2,100 a day). The Lancet, a medical journal, reckons people need no more than 90 grammes of meat a day. On average they eat more than that now. As Abhijit Banerjee of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology says, “we live in a world that is capable of feeding every person that lives on the planet.”

From FAO headquarters
World Food Situation

About 50 million more hungry people in 2007 - July 2008
Food Situation in Latin America and the Caribbean - June 2008
Asia Pacific Food Situation Update - September 2008

Soaring food prices: facts, perspectives, impacts and actions required - June 2008
EBRD-FAO report: Fighting food inflation - March 2008
Current World Fertilizer Trends and Outlook to 2011/2012 - 2008
Growing Demand on Agriculture and Rising Prices of Commodities - February 2008

The State of Food Insecurity Reports
The State of Food Insecurity 2010
Addressing Food Insecurity in Protracted Crises

The State of Food Insecurity Report 2009
Economic crises - impacts and lessons learned
Foreword     Order a copy of the book   Press release    SOFI Flyer
2009 has been a devastating year for the world’s hungry, marking a significant worsening of an already disappointing trend in global food security since 1996. The global economic slowdown, following on the heels of the food crisis in 2006–08, has deprived an additional 100 million people of access to adequate food. There have been marked increases in hunger in all of the world’s major regions, and more than one billion people are now estimated to be undernourished.
About the series:
The State of Food Insecurity in the World
raises awareness about global hunger issues, discusses underlying causes of hunger and malnutrition and monitors progress towards hunger reduction targets established at the 1996 World Food Summit and the Millennium Summit. The publication is targeted at a wide audience, including policy-makers, international organizations, academic institutions and the general public with a general interest in linkages between food security, human and economic development.

The State of Food Insecurity Report 2008
High food prices and Food Security -Threats and opportunities.

World hunger is increasing. The World Food Summit (WFS) goal of halving the number of undernourished people in the world by 2015 is becoming more difficult to reach for many countries. FAO’s most recent estimates put the number of hungry people at 923 million in 2007, an increase of more than 80 million since the 1990–92 base period. Long-term estimates (available up to 2003–05) show that some countries were well on track towards reaching the WFS and Millennium Development Goal (MDG) targets before the period of high food prices; however, even these countries may have suffered setbacks.

2006: Eradicating world hunger – taking stock ten years after the World Food Summit
2005: Eradicating world hunger – key to achieving the Millennium Development Goals
2004: Monitoring progress towards the World Food Summit and Millennium Development Goals
2003: Monitoring progress towards the World Food Summit and Millennium Development Goals
2002: Food insecurity – when people live with hunger and fear starvation
2001: Food insecurity – when people live with hunger and fear starvation
2000: Food insecurity – when people live with hunger and fear starvation
1999: Food insecurity – when people live with hunger and fear starvation
FAO Focus on SOFI 1999
   Press release

3 - 5 JUNE 2008, ROME, ITALY
Addressing the global food crisis:
Key trade, investment and commodity policies in ensuring sustainable food security and alleviating poverty

The recent global food crisis can be seen as a wake-up call which can be turned into an opportunity by developing countries and the international community to revitalize global agriculture production and trade and do more to rectify the systemic imbalances in global agricultural production and trade that have contributed over the years to today's problems. The crisis has highlighted inherent tensions that exist in regard to the agricultural food sector. Responses to the crisis will have to include both shortterm and longer-term measures, reflecting the fact that the crisis has both short-term and underlying structural causes and implications. Of course the immediate and urgent priority is to ensure that adequate food is delivered to the people in need. This task is being well addressed by the humanitarian and emergency agencies. It does not stop there, however - responses to the more fundamental and deep-seated factors are equally important. From a trade and development perspective, and within the framework of a comprehensive approach to the crisis by the United Nations System, UNCTAD recommends a number of policy measures and concrete actions in respect of trade, investment and agriculture development at the national, regional and international levels.

Changing governance patterns in European food chains: the rise of a new divide between global players and regional producers
F. Palpacuer and S. Tozanli - 2003
This article traces general trends in European food markets and the strategies of leading firms in selected European food chains (milk, sugar, cereals, meat). The analysis highlights the emergence of a growing divide between the largest downstream firms on the one hand and specialty and upstream producers on the other. The former have adopted globalization and financialization strategies over the past decade and promoted global sourcing under the deregulated conditions of European primary food and agricultural markets while the latter remain anchored in national or regional markets and production systems. Implications of these findings for both Global Value Chain (GVC) analysis and European policy are discussed.

From Eldis
Food Security

Some papers:

Assessing the impacts of food insecurity in Sudan
( T. Frankenberger;J. Downen;J. Meyer / Food and Nutrition Technical Assistance Project , 2007)
This study provides an assessment of the key issues related to the impact that the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) has had on the most insecure food and nutritionally vulnerable areas and people...

Overcoming barriers in developing agricultural biotechnology in Africa
( N. Clark;J. Mugabe;J. Smith / African Centre for Technology Studies , 2008)
This book provides an overview of the potential benefits of agricultural biotechnology in Africa in the context of continuous poor agricultural production and rising food insecurity...

Developing agricultural practices that will achieve food sovereignty
( P. Mulvany / UK Food Group , 2007)
The article focuses on the debates and discussions that took place at the Nyéléni 2007 Forum for Food Sovereignty, which was held in Mali, representing organisations across various sectors...

Green Revolution 2.0 initiatives in Africa: the start of a corporate biotech boom?
( Action Group on Erosion, Technology and Concentration formerly RAFI , 2008)
When the G8 meets in June 2008 in Germany they are expected to announce a new research agenda that will again propose scientific solutions to Africa’s social problems. This communiqué ...

( F. Kanampiu;J. Ransom;J. Gressel / , 2002)
Focusing on sub-Saharan Africa, this paper presents both challenges and possible solutions over the weeds Striga hermonthica and S. Asiatic, which destroy maize, millet, sorghum, and upland rice. ...
Using biotechnology to effectively manage weed problems in African agriculture

Social protection key to mitigating famine
( R. Menon / Human Development Report Office, UNDP , 2007)
Reports of a devastating famine in Malawi first surfaced as rumors whispered in rural areas in the country around October 2001. However, little was done by way of action, despite warnings from expert ...

A methodology for measuring the impact of development interventions on food security
( R.,M. Saleth;A. Dinar;S. Neubert / International Water Management Institute , 2007)
Governments and development agencies constantly plan, implement, and evaluate various development interventions, and there is an understandable concern over the actual impacts that these interventi...

What are the spatio-temporal variations of rice yields in China and Brazil?
( L. You / International Food Policy Research Institute , 2008)
Increasing population growth and scarcity of land suitable for rice production suggest that China and Brazil need to further increase rice productivity if they hope to continue meeting the...

more papers here
From the BBC - 6 June 2008
Unnatural roots of the food crisis
by Gonzalo Oviedo

As representatives of the world's governments gather to address shortages in major foodstuffs and rising prices, Gonzalo Oviedo counsels them to focus on ecosystems. The modern business-dominated agricultural industry, he argues, promotes the degradation of nature - and that, in turn, means less and worse food.
Four plant species - wheat, maize, rice and potato - provide over half of the plant-based calories in the human diet.
Feeding the world requires healthy ecosystems and equitable governance.
The current model of market-driven food production is leaving people hungry.

Destroying African Agriculture
By Walden Bello - 7 June 2008

Biofuel production is certainly one of the culprits in the current global food crisis. But while the diversion of corn from food to biofuel feedstock has been a factor in food prices shooting up, the more primordial problem has been the conversion of economies that are largely food-self-sufficient into chronic food importers. Here the World Bank, International Monetary Fund (IMF), and the World Trade Organization (WTO) figure as much more important villains

From The World Bank Group - April 2008
'7 Lost Years' - The Effect of Rising Food Prices on Poverty > > >

WASHINGTON, April 11, 2008 - World Bank President Robert Zoellick warned today of the threat posed by rising food prices world-wide.

Zoellick he stressed that food prices would be at the top of the agenda, and that the international community must make agriculture a priority.

Brandishing a sack of rice to make his point, World Bank president Robert Zoellick told reporters in Washington that rice prices have jumped 75% globally…and that’s in the last two months.

In Bangladesh, a 2 kilogram bag of rice now costs half of a family’s daily income. And the price of rice is likely to rise again.

From the World Bank Development Committee - 2008
Rising food prices: Policy options and World Bank response
The rising trend in international food prices continued, and even accelerated, in 2008.U.S. wheat export prices rose from $375/ton in January to $440/ton in March, and Thai rice export prices increased from $365/ton to $562/ton. This came on top of a 181 percent increase in global wheat prices over the 36 months leading up to February 2008, and a 83 percent increase in overall global food prices over the same period
Increased bio-fuel production has contributed to the rise in food prices. Concerns over oil prices, energy security and climate change have prompted governments to take a more proactive stance towards encouraging production and use of bio-fuels. This has led to increased demand for bio-fuel raw materials, such as wheat, soy, maize and palm oil, and increased competition for cropland. Almost all of the increase in global maize production from 2004 to 2007 (the period when grain prices rose sharply) went for bio-fuels production in the U.S., while existing stocks were depleted by an increase in global consumption for other uses. Other developments, such as droughts in Australia and poor crops in the E.U. and Ukraine in 2006 and 2007, were largely offset by good crops and increased exports in other countries and would not, on their own, have had a significant impact on prices. Only a relatively small share of the increase in food production prices (around 15%) is due directly to higher energy and fertilizer costs.
Numerous countries have set standards or targets for use of bio-fuels. The E.U. has set a goal of 5.75 percent of motor fuel use from bio-fuels by 2010. The U.S. has mandated the use of 28.4 billion liters of bio-fuels for transportation by 2012. Brazil will require that all diesel oil contain 2 percent bio-diesel by 2008 and 5 percent by 2013, and Thailand will require 10 percent ethanol in all gasoline starting in 2007. India mandates a 5 percent ethanol blend in nine states, and China is requiring a 10 percent ethanol blend in five provinces. From 2004 to 2007, global maize production increased 51 million tons, biofuel use in the U.S. increased 50 million tons and global consumption for all other uses increased 33 million tons, which caused global stocks to decline by 30 million tons.
This note is being distributed for information as background to the discussion of recent market developments at the Development Committee meeting. It was prepared by PREM, ARD and DEC, drawing from work across the Bank. Questions/comments should be addressed to Ana Revenga, PRMPR (ext. 89850).

UNCTAD Policy Briefs No. 2 - June 2008
Tackling the Global Food Crisis
This policy brief addresses the systemic causes of the crisis and identifies strategic policy measures...

From the International Food Policy Research Institute
Washington, D. C., U.S.A.
The World Food Situation: new driving forces and required actions
J. von Braun - December 2007
The world food situation is currently being rapidly redefined by new driving forces. Income growth, climate change, high energy prices, globalization, and urbanization are transforming food consumption, production, and markets.The influence of the private sector in the world food system, especially the leverage of food retailers, is also rapidly increasing. Changes in food availability, rising commodity prices, and new producer– consumer linkages have crucial implications for the livelihoods of poor and food-insecure people. Analyzing and interpreting recent trends and emerging challenges in the world food situation is essential in order to provide policymakers with the necessary information to mobilize adequate responses at the local, national, regional, and international levels. It is also critical for helping to appropriately adjust research agendas in agriculture, nutrition, and health. Not surprisingly, renewed global attention is being given to the role of agriculture and food in development policy, as can be seen from the World Bank’s World Development Report, accelerated public action in African agriculture under the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD), and the Asian Development Bank’s recent initiatives for more investment in agriculture, to name just a few examples.

Acknowledgments - The World Food Equation, Rewritten - Outlook on Global Food Scarcity and Food-Energy Price Links - Poverty and the Food and Nutrition Situation - Conclusions - Notes - References
1. China: Per capita annual household consumption
2. Change in food-consumption quantity, ratios 2005/1990
3. Expected impacts of climate change on global cereal production
4. Consumption spending response (%) when prices change by 1% (“elasticity”)
5. Changes in world prices of feedstock crops and sugar by 2020 under two scenarios compared with baseline levels (%)
6. Net cereal exports and imports for selected countries (three-year averages 2003–2005)
7. Purchases and sales of staple foods by the poor (% of total expenditure of all poor)
8. Expected number of undernourished in millions, incorporating the effects of climate change

Food First Policy Brief No.12 - October 2006
Will a second Green Revolution really solve Africa's problems?
Ten Reasons Why the Rockefeller and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundations’ Alliance for Another Green Revolution Will Not Solve the Problems of Poverty and Hunger in Sub-Saharan Africa

By Eric Holt-Gimenez, Ph.D., Miguel A. Altieri, Ph.D., and Peter Rosset, Ph.D.
...1. The Green Revolution actually deepens the divide between rich and poor farmers. In the 1960s, at the beginning of the first Green Revolution, the Rockefeller and Ford Foundations promoted industrial-style agriculture in the Global South through technology “packages” that included modern varieties (MVs), fertilizer, pesticides, and irrigation. The high cost of these purchased inputs deepened the divide between large farmers and smallholders because the latter could not afford the technology. In both Mexico and India, seminal studies revealed that the Green Revolution’s expensive “packages” favored a minority of economically privileged farmers, put the majority smallholders at a disadvantage, and led to the concentration of land and resources...


S. S. Acharya:
National Food Policies Impacting on Food Security: The Experience of India, a Large Populated Country
(PDF 138KB)
India accounts for 16.7 per cent of the world’s food consumers. With the exception of China, India’s size in terms of food consumers is many times larger than the average size of the rest of the countries. At the time of independence in 1947, India was in the grip of a serious food crisis, which was accentuated by the partition of the country. The demand for food far exceeded supply, food prices were high and more than half of the population living below the poverty line with inadequate purchasing power. With high rates of population growth, the dependence on imported food increased further. However, the situation improved considerably after the mid-1960s, when new agricultural development strategy and food policies were adopted. The production of staple cereals increased substantially, mainly contributed by productivity improvements. The dependence on food imports decreased and the country became a marginal net exporter of cereals. There was also an improvement in physical and economic access of

K. L. Sharma:
Food Security in the South Pacific Island Countries with Special Reference to the Fiji Islands
(PDF 104KB)
This paper analyses the status of food security in selected South Pacific Island countries, namely Cook Islands, Fiji Islands, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, and Vanuatu at the national and household levels during the period 1991-2002. Due to narrow resource base and production conditions, Pacific Islands concentrate on a few primary commodities for production and exports. During recent years import dependency for food items has increased mainly due to a decline in per capita food production and a rapid rate of rural-urban migration. Currently, export earnings can finance food imports but earnings could fall short of the requirements needed after the expiry of some commodity preferential price agreements with importing countries. National food security is dependent on the continuation of subsistence farming and tapping ocean resources in conjunction with the on-going commercial farming of those crops in which Pacific Islands have a comparative advantage. Increased productivity is crucial for improving agricultural performance through government investment in rural infrastructure, agricultural research and extension, irrigation and appropriate price incentives. This would also help alleviate poverty for improvement in economic accessibility of food by households. There is also a need to design appropriate disaster risk management programmes to minimize any adverse effects on the food supply.

Vasco Molini:
Food Security in Vietnam during the 1990s: The Empirical Evidence
(PDF 127KB)
Analysing the performance of ten developing countries, Hoddinot and Yohannes (2002) find a strong association between two measures of food security (calorie intake and mostly dietary diversity) and the increase in expenditures per capita. Using various indicators of food security, we describe the changes in food balances in Vietnam and find evidence of a substitution of poor micronutrients items (rice and cereals) with rich ones like fruit, vegetables fish and meat. Poor households, while increasing the amount of calories consumed, still lack vitamins, iron, calcium, etc. A preliminary assessment of the food security variation showed that improvements were, as expected, more concentrated among the richer Vietnamese households than the poor ones, although there was some improvement among poorer strata as well. We also focus on the calorie/expenditure elasticity and compare results for the years 1993 and 1998. Our findings confirm that this link is strong, and show that calorie income elasticity changed in the expected direction. We conclude that in general food security improved in Vietnam during 1990s although considerable differences still remain among expenditure deciles and among regions due to the accentuated spatial difference.

Margret Vidar:
State Recognition of the Right to Food at the National Level
(PDF 114KB)
This paper considers to what extent the human right to food has been recognized by countries in the world, by analysing international obligations and constitutional provisions, bearing in mind that the right to food may be either explicitly or implicitly protected at the constitutional level. It considers constitutional examples from Switzerland, South Africa and India.

Samuel K. Gayi:
Does the WTO Agreement on Agriculture Endanger Food Security in Sub-Saharan Africa?
(PDF 192KB)
The paper examines the state of food security in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), based on an analysis of a selection of indicators of food security and nutritional wellbeing during the period 1990-2002 within the context of the WTO Agreement on Agriculture. It argues that it may be advisable for those SSA countries with both static and dynamic comparative advantage in agriculture to pursue policies towards ‘food self-sufficiency’ as a means to attaining food security, considering their large rural farming population, at least until such time that international trade in agriculture is fully integrated into the WTO disciplines. This is particularly relevant in view of the fact that high agricultural protectionism in the north currently distorts price signals and thus the opportunity costs of allocating factors of production in these economies. The SSA countries that lack comparative advantage in agriculture may want to aim for a ‘food self-reliance’ strategy to attain food security.

From The Independent - 22 May 2005
Revealed: health fears over secret study into GM food
Rats fed GM corn due for sale in Britain developed abnormalities in blood and kidneys By Geoffrey Lean, Environment Editor
When fed to rats it affected their kidneys and blood counts. So what might it do to humans? We think you should be told
The secret research we reveal today raises the potential health risks of genetically modified foods. Here, environment editor Geoffrey Lean, who has led this paper's campaign on GM technology for the past six years, examines the new evidence. And he asks the questions that must concern us all: why is Monsanto, the company trying to sell GM corn to Britain and Europe, so reluctant to publish the full results of its alarming tests on lab rats? Why are our leaders so keen to buy the unproven technology against the wishes of consumers? And why is the man who first raised these concerns six years ago shunned by the scientific establishment and his former political masters?
How the technology works and what it promises
By Tom Anderson
Genetically modified (GM) food is produced from plants or animals that have had their genetic material altered by scientists. Scientists are able to extract genes from organisms with desirable properties - such as a particular colour or resistance to a disease - and transfer them to another organism.

The process has sharply divided opinion, between those who believe the technology will enhance our lives and those who fear it will prove an advance too far. By far the most commonly modified organisms are crop plants. But the technology has been applied to almost all forms of life, from pets that glow under UV light to bacteria that form HIV-blocking "living condoms", and pigs bearing spinach gene

The Hunger Project
The Hunger Project is an unconventional, strategic organization. The Hunger Project does not provide “relief.” Rather, The Hunger Projects works in authentic partnership with the people of developing countries to address the root causes of hunger and to ensure that all people have the chance to lead healthy and productive lives.
Today, The Hunger Project works in more than 10,000 villages across 13 developing countries in Africa, South Asia and Latin America. It carries out proven strategies that are empowering millions of people to achieve lasting progress in health, education, nutrition and family income.
In addition to directly empowering hungry people, The Hunger Project works strategically to change policies, catalyze society-wide transformation of the conditions holding hunger in place, and strengthen the local democratic structures through which people can meet their basic needs on a sustainable basis.

Monthly Newsletter
World Hunger: 12 myths
World Bank: Country information sheets on health, nutrition, population, and poverty
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
World Food Summit.- 2001
World Food Summit.- 1996
The State of Food and Agriculture 2000 (FAO website)
The State of Food and Agriculture 1998 (FAO website)
The State of Food and Agriculture 1998
(The Róbinson Rojas Archive)
World Hunger Education Service

From the Washington Post, November 17, 2009
America's economic pain brings hunger pangs
by Amy Goldstein
USDA report on access to food 'unsettling,' Obama says
The nation's economic crisis has catapulted the number of Americans who lack enough food to the highest level since the government has been keeping track, according to a new federal report, which shows that nearly 50 million people -- including almost one child in four -- struggled last year to get enough to eat.

J. Dreze and A. Sen:
Hunger and Public Action  (1991)
This book analyses the role of public action in solving the problem of hunger in the modern world. The study is divided into four parts. The first, making extensive use of the concepts of entitlements and capabilities explores the interaction of nutritional, economic, social, and political elements and their influence on hunger and deprivation. The problem of famine prevention is the main focus of the second part, with special attention given to Africa and India. The third part is devoted to the issue of fighting chronic undernourishment and the lessons to be learnt from the policies of China, India, and some other countries. The last part draws together the main themes and concerns of the earlier chapters, and provides an integrated view of the role of public action in eliminating hunger. The study suggests that there is indeed some space for public action in solving the problem of hunger and deprivation. In the case of famine prevention, social security could provide early warning systems and employment provision plans. To fight endemic deprivation, the authors suggest, among other things, that basic health care, elementary education, and food programmes should be looked at.
A. Sen:
Public Action to remedy hunger

I shall argue that systematic public action can eradicate the terrible and resilient problems of starvation and hunger in the world in which we live. But I shall also argue that for this to be secured on a lasting basis it is important to integrate the protective role of the government with the efficient functioning of other economic and social institutions - varying from trade and commerce to the news media and political parties. It is also important to see public action in a broad perspective - involving active parts played by the public itself, going well beyond state planning and governmental actions.

Stéphanie Saumon:
Famine is a human phenomenon and therefore a political one

Famines: Myths, Media and Misundertanding
From Links 22, September 1985
Interpretations of famine are often confused and shrouded in myth. To start our investigation of the causes of famines, Jenny Hammond isolates and explains some of the most common myths

World Food Programme
The world's frontline organisation fighting hunger

Conference on Hunger and Poverty.-1995
After months of preparations and an interactive process, involving the collaboration of many diverse stakeholders, the Conference on Hunger and Poverty was held in Brussels on 20-21 November 1995. The focus was on the civil society, its experiences and potential in fighting hunger and poverty. Near to one thousand people welcomed the opportunity to participate in this event which held the promises of being action-oriented and down-to-earth. Together, they examined the possibilities of forming a coalition to increase the ability and the capacity of organizations within the civil society to empower the poor and hungry, provide them with appropriate and meaningful technology, strengthen the coping strategies of vulnerable groups and provide ways and means by which the people and the local communities can reverse the degradation of their natural resource base. The Conference debate was organized into four substantive sessions dedicated to these challenges.

Conference on Hunger and Poverty: A popular coalition for action
I. Introduction
II. Nature and Dimensions of the Problems of Hunger and Poverty
Incidence of Hunger by Region (table)
III. Forty Years of Development Practice
IV.The Search for a New Paradigm--Civil Society: Development from the Roots Up
V. Priority Areas for the Conference   
Empowerment of the Hungry and the Poor
(a) Participation in Decision-making  
(b) Command Over Productive Resources
Technology Generation and Transfer
Poverty and Environmental Degradation
  Beyond Emergency Relief
VI. Summary and Conclusion
Discussion Paper 1: Empowerment of the poor
Discussion Paper 2: Enhancing technology generation and diffusion
Discussion Paper 3: Combating environmental degradation
Discussion Paper 4: Preventing disaster and reducing its impact on the poor
Food First
The Institute for Food and Development Policy/Food First shapes how people think by analyzing the root causes of global hunger, poverty, and ecological degradation and developing solutions in partnership with movements working for social change.
Foreign Policy IN FOCUS
Food and Farm in Focus

WTO Agreement on Agriculture: Suitable Model for a Global Food System?
Sophia Murphy (June 2002)
- The Agreement on Agriculture (AoA) is part of the document founding the World Trade Organization and provides international rules governing agricultural trade and production.
- The AoA permits countries some freedom in devising agricultural support programs, but this is circumscribed by the agreement’s broader commitment to liberalization.
- Debates over the future of the AoA are between those who view agricultural trade as a means to food security and rural development and those who consider it an end in itself.
The Agreement on Agriculture (AoA) is a product of the Uruguay Round of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) negotiations (1986-94). GATT’s Uruguay Round of trade talks led to the founding of the World Trade Organization (WTO). The AoA provides the rules governing international agricultural trade and, by extension, production. It bans the use of border measures other than tariffs, and it puts tariffs on a schedule of phased reduction. Under the AoA, domestic support programs are categorized as either acceptable or unacceptable, with the latter also scheduled for reduction, and export subsidies, while effectively legalized by the agreement, have also been disciplined and slated for reduction. The content of the AoA reflects the shared agenda of the U.S. negotiating team and the non-European Union (EU) grain exporting countries (known as the Cairns Group) to push for as much liberalization of agriculture as possible.

The "Buy American" Aid Package
Conn Hallinan (November 27, 2002)
The recent White House proposal to aid impoverished countries if they drop trade barriers and open their markets is likely to substantially accelerate the misery index in Latin America and Africa, the main targets of the $5 billion plan.
Entitled the Millennium Challenge Account, the administration says it will be doled out to countries like Senegal, Ghana, Bolivia, and Honduras if they institute "the rule of law," as well as "sound fiscal policies." This latter includes free trade for "American goods and services."
But 15 years of free trade and open markets have inflicted ruinous damage on poor countries in Latin America and Africa. When added to the recently passed U.S. Agriculture Bill that increases U.S. export subsidies, this plan to tie aid to U.S. political and economic rules will likely make an already bad situation worse.

The World Food Summit: What Went Wrong?
Peter Rosset (June 4, 2002)
Why do more than 800 million people still go hungry in a world marked by incredible affluence? 180 nations are gathering in Rome from June 10 to 13 to address just that question at the "World Food Summit: Five Years Later" meeting. At the 1996 World Food Summit, also held in Rome, 185 nations signed a commitment to cut the number of hungry people in half by 2015. There, Cuban President Fidel Castro made waves--echoing the feelings of many--when he called that goal "shameful" for its abandonment of any notion of eliminating hunger. Subsequent trends have been more shameful still.

Farm Bill Outrage Goes Global
Sophia Murphy (May 22, 2002)
Protecting Agriculture: "Zero-Tolerance" on Farm Subsidies
Devinder Sharma (February 5, 2003)
Sustainable Farming: Faulty Lessons From America
Devinder Sharma (August 29, 2002)

Food Supremacy: America's Other War
Devinder Sharma (February 13, 2002)
As the American and allied military forces continue to operate in Afghanistan, the world is increasingly getting dragged into yet another war--the war for food supremacy. And like the war against terrorism, the battle for food superiority is also going to be long drawn. With the battle lines already sketched and with the back-up support of international financial institutions, this war is being aggressively pursued on the trade front.
While the United States, the European Union, and the Cairns Group have allied to emerge as the biggest food exporters, at stake is the very survival of over 1.5 billion small and marginal farmers of developing countries. With food poised to become the weapon of the future, it is the food sovereignty and the underlying economic independence of the majority of the world that faces the biggest threat in this ongoing war. And in this “clash of civilizations” the battle is primarily between the developed and the developing countries, between industrial agriculture and food security, between value-added functional foods and growing hunger. Arm-twisting, browbeating, and simply bullying the countries into accepting the American food doctrine is becoming a common practice.

Intellectual Property Rights and the Privatization of Life
Kristin Dawkins (January 1999)
International Tobacco Sales
Robert Weissman (June 1998)
Overseas Rural Development Policy
Peter Rosset (January 1997)
U.S. Foreign Agricultural Policy
Gigi DiGiacomo (November 1996)
    - Since the U.S. is the world's largest exporter of cereal grains, its domestic and foreign agricultural policy has a significant impact on the world market.
    - U.S. agricultural policy is aggressively targeted at building new market share and promoting international reliance on U.S. food exports.
    - Import dependency undermines international goals (formulated at the 1974 UN World Food Conference and embodied in the International Declaration of Human Rights) to encourage food self-reliance and security from hunger.
    U.S. agricultural policymakers have long relied on the world marketplace to serve a diverse agenda–including management of the domestic farm economy, promotion of geopolitical interests, and most prominently, bolstering exports. The U.S. has aggressively pursued agroexport growth since the 1970s, when the nation experienced its first trade deficit of the century and the international community suffered a widespread food crisis.


Food Security Information
for decision making

The "EC/FAO Programme on Linking Information and Decision Making to Improve Food Security”, is based at the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and funded by the European Union’s “Food Security Thematic Programme (FSTP)”. Its overall aim is to:
- improve the quantity and quality of food security information and analysis; and
- promote its use in decision making processes.

Learning Center
The Learning Center offers self-paced e-learning courses on a wide range of Food Security related topics. The courses have been designed and developed by international experts to support capacity building and on-the-job training at national and local food security information systems and networks. More details can be found on the courses page.

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Puro Chile la memoria del pueblo
Proyecto para el Primer Siglo Popular

Director: Róbinson Rojas


El estado mundial de la agricultura y la alimentación 2000 (FAO website)
Cumbre Mundial sobre la Alimentación.-1996
Organización de las Naciones Unidas para la agricultura y la alimentación
El Proyecto Hambre

Puro Chile la mémoire du peuple
Projet pour le Premier Sičcle Populaire

Editeur: Róbinson Rojas

La situation mondiale de l'alimentation et de l'agriculture 2000 (FAO website)
Sommet mondial de l'alimentation.-November 2001
Sommet mondial de l'alimentation.-1996
Organisation de Nations Unies pour l'alimentation et l'agriculture
Le Hunger Projet