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Food security

Food security exists, according to its definition at the 1996 World Food Summit “…when all people, at all times, have physical, social, and economic access to sufficient, safe, and nutritious food that meets their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life”.

At individual and household level, food insecurity can affect low-income people in rich and poor countries alike. In the UK, policy-makers view food security as a strategic issue of national security, dependent on the logistical and political resilience of global trade relations.

At a global level, how we can feed a growing population that demands more resource-intensive diets, while tackling climate change and environmental degradation, are key questions of food security.

At the individual and household levels, the root cause of food insecurity and food poverty has to be tackled.  Social protection, including introducing a living wage and supporting job security in the UK, is crucial.  

On the international stage, UK policy-makers should widen their reach beyond logistics and trade to tackle the need for distributional justice. National food security is meaningless if the benefits are not distributed fairly within our global society. This fair distribution of food is predicted on the understanding that the world has sufficient food to feed the entire population.

And yet right now 842 million people go hungry. Climate change threatens to exacerbate food insecurity further for these people. Access to food is the primary problem, so increasing global agricultural productivity is not the silver bullet for food security. Infrastructure projects that help small-scale farmers access markets, and making those markets fair, are also key pieces of the jigsaw.