Start Date

8-12-2012 2:00 PM

End Date

8-12-2012 3:30 PM

Description

The increased wealth creation by nations stands in contrast with the extent of hunger around the World. By hunger we simply mean the want or scarcity of food in a country. The Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) estimates that 925 million people in the World are hungry. Against a total World population of 6.8 billion, this means 1 out of every 7 in the World goes hungry. Most of them live in developing countries, and sixty-five percent of them live in only seven countries: China,India,Bangladesh, the Democratic Republic of Congo,Indonesia,PakistanandEthiopia(FAO, 2011). Furthermore, each year more people die due to hunger and malnutrition than to AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria combined (Global Food Security, 2011a).

925 million hungry people in 2010

What is particularly distressing is that as more and more countries have increased their GDP rates since 1995-97, the total number of hungry instead of decreasing has in fact increased, from around 780 million to 925 million.

Number of hungry people, 1969-2010 Source: FAO

Does the world produce enough food to feed everyone? Yes it does. World agriculture produces 17 percent more calories per person today than it did 30 years ago, despite a 70 percent population increase. This is enough to provide everyone in the world with at least 2,720 kilocalories (kcal) per person per day, according to the most recent estimates (FAO 2002). The principal problem is that many people in the world do not have sufficient land to grow, or income to purchase, enough food. Lack of income to purchase food clearly suggests that poverty is a major cause for hunger. What therefore are the solutions available to tackle World hunger?

The term ‘Food Security’ is often used to denote a solution for hunger. A definition from the 1996 World Food Summit in Rome suggests that food security is achieved "when all people, at all times have physical and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food to meet their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life". How and where such food comes from is not embodied in the concept of food security. For example, the food could be purchased from multinationals; could be dumped at cheap rates by countries/companies with excess production thereby ‘marketing out’ or dismantling local production which might be higher priced; or it could come as food aid.

This is why farmers and their movements like Via Campesina, social movements and intellectuals and academics all over the World have come together to define Food Sovereignty as a means to tackling hunger. They have defined Food Sovereignty as "the right of peoples, communities, and countries to define their own agricultural, pastoral, labour, fishing, food and land policies which are ecologically, socially, economically and culturally appropriate to their unique circumstances. It includes the true right to food and to produce food, which means that all people have the right to safe, nutritious and culturally appropriate food and to food-producing resources and the ability to sustain themselves and their societies." (Food Sovereignty: A Right For All, Political Statement of the NGO/CSO Forum for Food Sovereignty.Rome, June 2002).

It should be obvious that the difference in the two approaches and concepts is enormous. Food sovereignty subsumes an entirely different approach to land use and land holdings, choice of crops, farmer rights, cultural and historical factors associated with food, as compared to the more dominant market friendly approach of capitalistic farming that the concept of food security implies.

This paper for SSSF2 shall elaborate on these different approaches to tackling hunger, with examples drawn from countries involving laws, rights, technological practices, land distribution and consumption patterns in order to arrive at some conclusions that are derived from the viewpoint of sustainability.

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Vinod Raina-abstract-chi.docx (67 kB)
Chinese Version_Abstract

Recommended Citation

Raina, V. (2012, December). Feeding world’s hungry-food security or food sovereignty. Paper presented at 2012 International Conference on Sustainability & Rural Reconstruction, Southwest University, Chongqingng, China.

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Dec 8th, 2:00 PM Dec 8th, 3:30 PM

Feeding world’s hungry-food security or food sovereignty

The increased wealth creation by nations stands in contrast with the extent of hunger around the World. By hunger we simply mean the want or scarcity of food in a country. The Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) estimates that 925 million people in the World are hungry. Against a total World population of 6.8 billion, this means 1 out of every 7 in the World goes hungry. Most of them live in developing countries, and sixty-five percent of them live in only seven countries: China,India,Bangladesh, the Democratic Republic of Congo,Indonesia,PakistanandEthiopia(FAO, 2011). Furthermore, each year more people die due to hunger and malnutrition than to AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria combined (Global Food Security, 2011a).

925 million hungry people in 2010

What is particularly distressing is that as more and more countries have increased their GDP rates since 1995-97, the total number of hungry instead of decreasing has in fact increased, from around 780 million to 925 million.

Number of hungry people, 1969-2010 Source: FAO

Does the world produce enough food to feed everyone? Yes it does. World agriculture produces 17 percent more calories per person today than it did 30 years ago, despite a 70 percent population increase. This is enough to provide everyone in the world with at least 2,720 kilocalories (kcal) per person per day, according to the most recent estimates (FAO 2002). The principal problem is that many people in the world do not have sufficient land to grow, or income to purchase, enough food. Lack of income to purchase food clearly suggests that poverty is a major cause for hunger. What therefore are the solutions available to tackle World hunger?

The term ‘Food Security’ is often used to denote a solution for hunger. A definition from the 1996 World Food Summit in Rome suggests that food security is achieved "when all people, at all times have physical and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food to meet their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life". How and where such food comes from is not embodied in the concept of food security. For example, the food could be purchased from multinationals; could be dumped at cheap rates by countries/companies with excess production thereby ‘marketing out’ or dismantling local production which might be higher priced; or it could come as food aid.

This is why farmers and their movements like Via Campesina, social movements and intellectuals and academics all over the World have come together to define Food Sovereignty as a means to tackling hunger. They have defined Food Sovereignty as "the right of peoples, communities, and countries to define their own agricultural, pastoral, labour, fishing, food and land policies which are ecologically, socially, economically and culturally appropriate to their unique circumstances. It includes the true right to food and to produce food, which means that all people have the right to safe, nutritious and culturally appropriate food and to food-producing resources and the ability to sustain themselves and their societies." (Food Sovereignty: A Right For All, Political Statement of the NGO/CSO Forum for Food Sovereignty.Rome, June 2002).

It should be obvious that the difference in the two approaches and concepts is enormous. Food sovereignty subsumes an entirely different approach to land use and land holdings, choice of crops, farmer rights, cultural and historical factors associated with food, as compared to the more dominant market friendly approach of capitalistic farming that the concept of food security implies.

This paper for SSSF2 shall elaborate on these different approaches to tackling hunger, with examples drawn from countries involving laws, rights, technological practices, land distribution and consumption patterns in order to arrive at some conclusions that are derived from the viewpoint of sustainability.