Food Security in an Uncertain World: Volume 15

Cover of Food Security in an Uncertain World

An International Perspective

Subject:

Table of contents

(23 chapters)
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Purpose

The purpose of this analysis is to determine the impact of various factors, including population growth, income growth, and research and development on food security. This chapter also seeks to better understand the role of relative food prices in consumers’ selection of foods to meet their nutritional needs.

Methodology/approach

We utilize a welfare economic framework to provide a theoretical examination of the impact of various factors (including income growth, population growth, and research and development) on food security among the poor. A minimum nutritional diet is specified as a baseline for the evaluation of these scenarios.

Findings

Scenarios show the impacts that income, population growth, and research and development have on food security through their price and quantity impacts. Also, we highlight the difficulty in formulating an optimal diet that meets the recommended dietary requirements for only calories and protein, as different foods contain calories, proteins, and micronutrients in differing proportions. This indicates that changes in relative food prices will often alter consumers’ nutrient intake with respect to the minimum nutritional diet.

Social implications

Research and development is critical in guaranteeing food availability. Trade-based, production-based, and own-labor entitlements are key factors in determining food security. Consumption subsidies and income supplements can be used to assist those who do not have entitlements sufficient to meet their minimum nutritional diet.

Purpose

We examine the links between trade and food security, the processes that shape countries’ trade-related interventions in pursuit of food security objectives, and the prospects for better situating trade and food security in debates related to the use of trade policy.

Methodology/approach

Building on the previous and ongoing work of Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and others, this chapter revisits the interaction between trade and food security, with the objective of contributing to a more informed discussion of policy choices and improved incorporation of food security concerns into trade-related decision-making processes.

Findings

The linkages between trade and food security have been subject to intense debate both at the national and international level. Furthermore, these linkages have become central to many trade-related discussions, including the ongoing multilateral trade negotiations at the World Trade Organization. However, the specific context of the relationship between trade and food security, and of the role of trade in securing improvements in food security, have made it difficult to craft a global framework that ensures that the pursuit of national objectives is compatible with reducing food insecurity at the global level.

Practical implications

As the global governance system undergoes a transition, the roles and responsibilities for food security are being redefined within a more complex and interconnected global landscape whose contours are still to be fleshed out. This calls for a reflection on the multilateral trading system and on the need to strengthen the synergies with nontrade processes to enhance the role of trade in contributing to food security.

Purpose

This chapter places the discussion of trade and food security in a more general macroeconomic context.

Methodology/approach

This chapter uses historical analysis to briefly trace the debate on economy-wide policies, starting with the 1943 United Nations (UN) Conference on Food and Agriculture that led to the creation of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations in 1945. A general economic framework is used to organize the different channels through which macroeconomic policies may affect food and nutrition security.

Research implications

Examples of monetary, financial, fiscal, and exchange rate policies are presented, along with their implications for food and nutrition security.

Practical implications

The current debates about trade and food security must be placed in the context of the overall macroeconomic framework: a single trade policy may have different impacts depending on its interactions with other macroeconomic policies and structural factors.

Purpose

Food security is an essential measure of welfare, especially for low-income families in developing countries. Policy makers should be aware of the harm food insecurity has on vulnerable households. This chapter empirically addresses the problems of measuring and monitoring food security in Mexico.

Methodology/approach

We identify the macro and micro approaches for measuring food security. The macro approach uses variables at the country level. Usually, this information is available on a yearly basis, is easy to implement, and can be compared across countries. The micro approach uses household questionnaires to collect food security information. Our analysis suggests that a macro approach will not be as precise as the micro approach due to inequality (agroclimatic, social, and economic).

Findings

Empirical experience suggests that food insecurity and its severity can be captured at the household level using the Food Insecurity Experiences Questionnaire. This questionnaire allows us to calculate food security measurements that closely follow the food security definition.

Originality/value

From a public policy perspective, the different methodologies for measurement do not consider all the dimensions of food security as defined by the term. This chapter examines which approach provides the best measurement of food security.

Purpose

The objective of this chapter is to provide an understanding of the meaning and measurements of food security.

Methodology/approach

This chapter consolidates and examines the evolution of the many definitions of food security since 1975 and describes the four dimensions of global food security. We examine the relationship between global food crisis and food security, and the significance of Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa as emerging markets.

Findings

Achieving food security will be determined by the world as a group helping developing countries in creating proper infrastructures, providing better income opportunities, and reducing financial constraints.

Practical implications

Governments, international agencies, private firms, and the world’s population need to be involved in food security from seed to plate.

Purpose

A food security indicator for technology impact assessment is needed that can be constructed with available data, is comparable over time and space, and represents the multiple dimensions of food security.

Methodology/approach

In this chapter, we review some commonly used food security indicators, analyze the extent to which these indicators satisfy key criteria, and introduce a food security indicator constructed for use in an economic impact assessment and that exhibits a number of desirable properties.

Findings

This income-based indicator is similar to a consumption-based poverty indicator, utilizing an estimate of the income required to purchase a food “basket” that meets nutritional requirements and comparing the food security income requirement to a household’s per capita income.

Social implications

The applicability of the indicator is illustrated with an analysis of the impacts of legume inoculation technology developed for smallholder farms in Tanzania and other parts of Africa. We conclude with a discussion of suggested improvements for food security indicators used for technology impact assessment.

Purpose

This chapter proposes a novel nonnormative approach to evaluating quality, effectiveness, and efficiency of food security.

Methodology/approach

On the demand side, we consider the quality, effectiveness, and efficiency of the food security system, whose mechanisms should be evaluated by their impact on the quality of life of an endangered population. On the supply side, the motives of food aid donors and food security providers (directly and via policy mechanisms) are discussed in the context of the deservingness heuristic.

Findings

The model illustrates three problems with measuring food security-related quality of life: peoples’ different expectations, the different points at which people stand on their food security trajectory, and the potential for an evolving reference value of peoples’ expectations. The deservingness heuristic is the mechanism behind the domestic and international food security aid that occurs via evolutionary forces, or cultural, institutional, and ideological forces.

Social implications

Food security is a problem that requires a humanistic approach rooted in the evolutionary process/development of the human race. Food security can be misused by the food aid/welfare recipients for their own purposes. Likewise, food security programs by food aid/welfare donors can be targeted unethically when used to achieve the ideological, institutional, and political goals of the donors. Differentiating between the behavioral causes of providing food security may be helpful in predicting whether aid/welfare will be provided to the needy at all.

Purpose

Discusses how changes in institutional objectives for international food assistance have influenced the organization of supply chains for innovative therapeutic foods designed to address problems of malnutrition and undernutrition.

Methodology/approach

Draws upon insights from donor and international organization reports, policy documents, and academic publications to reveal the structure, goals, and objectives of international organizations involved in food assistance strategies. Explores how innovations in Ready-to-Use Therapeutic Foods and Ready-to-Use Supplementary Foods fit into food assistance strategies and broader humanitarian goals.

Findings

Informed by the United Nations Millennium Development Goals, international food assistance strategies have broadened beyond acute malnutrition to include chronic undernutrition. Food assistance strategies have shifted toward a focus on local and regional procurement (LRP) over transoceanic aid, with Public Private Partnerships (P3s) playing a facilitating role.

Originality/value

This chapter raises important considerations to factor into the design and execution of international food assistance strategies using LRP/P3 modes of organization. It contributes to an understanding of the challenges of organizing international food assistance strategies that include socioeconomic goals of sustainability and nutrition objectives.

Purpose

This chapter examines the long-run behavior of real food prices and the impact of food prices on poor and vulnerable households. It also examines the price policy responses of governments to high and volatile food prices, and the impact of food prices and policies on the poorest in the society.

Methodology/approach

We focus on the impacts of food price changes on individual households, particularly on those living near the poverty line using the standard World Bank measure of poverty at US$1.25 per day in purchasing power.

Findings

We found that the effect of an exogenous increase in food prices typically raises poverty in the short run when many poor households are net buyers of grain and wage rates do not have time to fully adjust. In the long run, higher food prices increase food output and raise the wage rates of poor households from unskilled off-farm labor. The end result is that higher food prices can contribute to long-run poverty reduction.

Practical implications

Combining the impact of the price changes and government policy responses allows an assessment of the overall impact of higher world food prices on poverty.

Purpose

The World Food Program provides food aid to areas of the world where food security is poor or non-existent – often failed states. Food can be a weapon in such places and food aid shipments a target for capture. This paper investigates the cost-effectiveness of international efforts to protect World Food Program aid shipments destined for Somalia from seaborne pirates off the Horn of Africa.

Findings

The lessons of history were ignored by those attempting to prevent food aid shipments from falling into the hands of pirates. The international community initially used very expensive naval assets to protect shipments. Over time, in an effort to reduce costs, the strategy and assets used to secure shipments evolved. This slow, cost-reduction-driven evolution of the international community’s anti-piracy efforts off the Horn of Africa has distinct parallels with the evolution of anti-piracy efforts in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. One difference between the historic and current anti-piracy strategies is that there does not appear to be an exit strategy for the latter.

Practical implications

Future anti-piracy initiatives might look to previous strategies to avoid the costly experience associated with Somalia-bound food aid shipments.

Social implications

Achieving food security objectives can be a resource-intensive activity in failed states. This paper provides insights into how the resource cost of providing food security can be reduced.

Purpose

This paper assesses the projected growth of food supply relative to population growth and estimated food demand growth over the next four decades.

Methodology/approach

World population projections are analyzed for the main developed and developing regions. Implied food demand growth is then compared to grain and oilseed supply projections from a few of the most reliable sources. Three of these are 10-year projections and two extend to 2030 and 2050. To the extent possible, comparisons are made among the alternative projections. Conclusions about food availability and prices are finally drawn.

Findings

Meeting the growth in demand for food, feed, and biofuels to 2050 will not be a steep hill to climb, but there will need to be continued private and public investment in technology to induce increased production growth rates through productivity enhancements and increased purchased inputs.

Practical implications

The main food security challenge of the future, as in the present, is not insufficient production but rather increasing access and reducing vulnerability for food insecure households. The dominance of future population growth in the food insecure regions of Africa makes this challenge even more critical between now and 2050 and even more so in the years beyond 2050 when climate change effects on resource constraints will be more severe.

Purpose

This chapter analyzes the economic implications of genetic engineering for food security. We discuss the asynchronous nature of genetically modified (GM) crop regulation and labeling requirements among countries, associated politics, and consumer perceptions of GM crops.

Methodology/approach

We perform an ex-ante analysis of the introduction of a GM rice variety in major rice exporting and importing countries (including potential producer and consumer impacts) within the framework of a partial equilibrium trade model.

Findings

Although the introduction of a GM rice variety that increases global yield by 5% could result in a consumer gain of US$23.4 billion to US$74.8 billion, it could also result in a producer loss of US$9.7 billion to US$63.7 billion. The estimated net gain to society could be US$11.1 billion to US$13.7 billion. Overall, we find a positive economic surplus for major exporters and importers of rice based on a 5% supply increase with a GM rice variety.

Practical implications

The adoption of transgenic (GM) rice varieties would have a far greater impact on rice prices for poorer counties than for richer countries. Therefore, GM rice may help ensure that more people throughout the world would have food security.

Purpose

This chapter examines whether the supply of food is large enough to feed an increasing world population for the 2012–2050 period. Special attention is given to the implications of bioenergy production on global and regional food security.

Methodology/approach

For this analysis, a global food security simulation model was developed to determine if the global and regional supply of food, in terms of calories, is large enough to meet the demand and also to estimate the impact on food prices.

Findings

This chapter found that the global supply of food in terms of calories is insufficient to satisfy food demand in 2050, with food shortages especially significant in Africa.

Practical implications

The estimated shortage of food may result in significant food-price inflation by 2050.

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Purpose

The objective of this chapter is to discuss the pathways between climate, water, food, and conflict. Areas that are exhibiting food insecurity or have the potential to be food insecure are typically located in areas that experience poverty and government corruption. Higher rates of conflict occur in areas with lower caloric intake and poor nutrition.

Methodology/approach

We identify key pathways between these variables and discuss intervening factors and compound effects.

Findings

The pathways between water, food security, and conflict are complicated and are influenced by many intervening factors. A critical examination of the literature and an in-depth analysis of the reasons for conflict suggest that food insecurity is a multiplier, or facilitator, of the opportunities for and benefits from conflict.

Practical implications

To most effectively reduce the risks of conflict, policies must adequately and simultaneously address each of the four dimensions of food security – availability, stability, utilization, and access. Careful attention to alleviating food insecurity will help alleviate some of the underlying rationale for conflict.

Purpose

In this chapter, we explore the future global supply and demand trends for key agricultural products under baseline assumptions of socioeconomic changes in population and income. We examine nutritional trends under this baseline to highlight countries that lag behind in attaining key dietary sufficiency targets.

Methodology/approach

Using a global multimarket agricultural model, we disaggregate the key macronutrients within food commodities to understand how progress toward target dietary intake levels of nutrients compares across various regions. We look particularly at those regions whose populations fall into the bottom sixth of nutritional attainment (the Bottom Billion) and note their slow projected progress toward achieving dietary sufficiency in key macronutrients.

Findings

Many countries falling into the Bottom Billion category of nutritional attainment are in Africa and Asia. Colombia is the only Latin American country that fell into this category. Most populations in the Bottom Billion are deficient in carbohydrate, protein, and fiber intake.

Practical implications

Policies aimed at eliminating hunger and improving the nutritional status of populations must be aligned with evolving socioeconomic patterns and changes that shape food consumption and dietary patterns. This analysis evaluates regions of the world in greatest need of attaining sufficient dietary intake of important nutrients, and sets the stage for a deeper discussion of policy options for improving these regions’ food security.

Purpose

This chapter explores policy implications of deliberately targeted interventions aimed at closing the gap between nutrition baseline trends and desirable levels of nutrition intake according to World Health Organization/Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations guidelines. Special attention is paid to the implications for those at the bottom of the nutrition achievement range (Bottom Billion).

Methodology/approach

We conduct a forward looking evaluation with a global multimarket model for agriculture within the context of key drivers of change. We observe the effect of interventions on nutrition intake for the most food-insecure regions as transmitted through food prices, changes in country-level food trade, and other market-driven outcomes. We demonstrate the nutrition-enhancing effects that occur when animal-sourced protein consumption, livestock production, and livestock feed demand decrease in developed countries. We also show the effect of a significant growth in agricultural productivity and household incomes.

Findings

Our analysis shows that the most effective intervention boosts household income to facilitate adequate intake of food and key nutrients. Diet changes have notable effects but are harder to implement on a practical level. Enhancing agricultural productivity (especially in regions with historically low yields) is also effective in improving nutrition outcomes.

Practical implications

Short of social protection and direct assistance programs, the ability of policy to effect short-term changes in nutritional status is limited. We highlight the effectiveness of pathways that promote longer-term socioeconomic growth and productivity gains as ways of improving the nutrition and health status of consumers.

Purpose

This chapter assesses the regional and national approaches to improving food security for rice consumption in West Africa.

Methodology/approach

Using the Arkansas Global Rice Model and the RICEFLOW frameworks, we examine the consequences of pursuing self-sufficiency in rice. National rice development strategies have been designed to double the 2008 rice production levels by 2018. The Coalition for African Rice Development and the Africa Rice Center have assisted 23 nations in developing national strategies. We evaluate the strategies of 15 nations for rice land expansion and intensification to increase yields for regional self-sufficiency.

Findings

West Africa accounts for nearly 25% of global rice imports. The elimination of rice imports reduces global rice prices. Results show that achieving self-sufficiency in West Africa is inefficient at the global level. However, if self-sufficiency makes domestic rice uncompetitive with imported rice, then West African consumers will demand a significant price discount for domestic rice, thus reducing benefits to producers and consumers.

Practical implications

Because of the partial equilibrium nature of this study, the consequences for diversification of West African diets are not explored. Although beyond the scope of this chapter, a coordinated policy sequencing approach toward enhancing productivity and quality of rice production – as well as increasing investment in infrastructure, institutions, and emergency food reserves – should be studied more thoroughly to achieve food and nutritional security for West Africa.

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Cover of Food Security in an Uncertain World
DOI
10.1108/S1574-8715201515
Publication date
2015-12-16
Book series
Frontiers of Economics and Globalization
Editors
Series copyright holder
Emerald Publishing Limited
ISBN
978-1-78560-213-9
eISBN
978-1-78560-212-2
Book series ISSN
1574-8715