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Definition Of Concepts In Food Security Politics Essay

Definition Of Concepts In Food Security Politics Essay

Many definitions and concepts exist on food security. Since the early seventies, over thirty definitions have been developed. Whilst some relate food security to balanced supply-demand situation of staple foods in international market (references), others thinks it is the right to adequate living standard (references). However, MoFA’s operational definition of food security is “good quality nutritious food hygienically packaged, attractively presented, available in sufficient quantities all year round and located at the right place at affordable prices (FASDEP, 2003). Be sure to end the quote. Also, add page numbers for all quotes.

FASDEP’s (2003) definition above will be adopted for the study since it makes it easy for the state of food security to be measured and assessed from time to time.

2.2.2 Food insecurity

Food insecurity applies to a wide spectrum of phenomena ranging from famine to periodic hunger to worry about safety or security of food (Galal, 2003). Thus, food security is not a matter of hunger but rather the inability for a household to meet its nutritionally food packaged over a long period of time.

2.2.3 Food sufficiency

By food sufficiency it implies that different varieties of food must be available at all times, including lean seasons and times of emergency. Production, haulage, processing and storage become important in this respect. When local production is not enough it should be supplemented with imports; in that case, an early warning system should be in place to signal for the importation of food at the right time to forestall any shortage and calamity (MoFA, 2000).

Is this a glossary of terms or are you critically reviewing literature on these concepts? It should be the latter.

2.2.4 Household

A household is a domestic unit consisting of the members of a family who live together along with non relatives such as servants. Or individuals who comprises a family unit and who live together under the same roof, individual who dwell in the same place and comprises a family. This is not a sentence.

Have you forgotten about reviewing literature? There is no literature mentioned in this subsection.

2.2.7 Accessibility

Food must be located within close and comfortable proximity of the consumer to reduce time and money spent on traveling and bargaining, and also to provide comfort when shopping. Here, processing, packaging, presentation and marketing are important factors. Food must be reasonably priced so that the proportion of the average worker’s earnings spent on food would leave him enough money to meet other needs including savings. Food prices can be low without adversely affecting farm profitability if farmer productivity increases and marketing costs fall. What is the source of this information?

2.2.8 Sustainable livelihood security

Livelihood is defined as adequate stocks and flows of food and cash to meet basic needs. Security refers to secure ownership of, or access to, resources and income-earning activities, including reserves and assets to offset risk, ease shocks and meet contingencies. Sustainable refers to maintenance and enhancement of resource productivity on long-term basis (Chambers, 1988).Chambers concept on sustainable livelihood will be adopted for the study. FOUND ONLINE. PLAGIARISM

2.3.0 Theoretical framework

The concept of food security has gone through various transformations over the last several decades, as a development theory in general. As early as 1948 the Universal Declaration on Human Rights recognized the right to food as a core element of an adequate standard of living. The 1960s, known as the “development decade” was a time of hope for the Third World which included the real aspiration of ending hunger. In 1960, the UN FAO launched the International Freedom from Hunger Campaign (IFHC) which mobilized government and non-government support. The IFHC aimed at ending hunger by enabling people to grow as much as necessary food to feed themselves, rather than through dependence on food aid. At that time, the theory was that if national governments could produce sufficient food to meet the demand in their countries, hunger would disappear.

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Policy makers in the 1960s and more so in the 1970s were also increasingly apprehensive about the rapid population detonation. Soaring food prices and a budding population led policy makers to be bothered about national food security; their major distress was meeting food requirements for the worlds rising population. Resources were thus directed towards improvements in agriculture production and the Green Revolution did enhance absolute output radically.

In1974, the UN World Food Conference in Rome recommended the adoption of an International Undertaking on World Food Security (WFS) at the World Food Conference (WFC). Governments examined the large-scale crisis of food production and consumption, and solemnly proclaimed that “every man, woman and child has the inalienable right to be free from hunger and malnutrition in order to develop their physical and mental faculties.” Regardless of the focus on individuals, policy makers were still mostly concerned with countrywide food security, and failed to recognise access and distribution within countries.

Until the 1980s the concept of food security by institutions such as the FAO was based on absolute food availability, meaning an aggregate reduction in food commodities within a nation, such as a war, could cause. Hunger in the world was still a chief spotlight by the principal global development institutions. The World Food Day (WFD) was first observed by more than 150 countries on October, 16 1981. In the 1980s-1990s the paradigm shifted as policy makers began to investigate individual and household food security as opposed to food security from a national standpoint. It was gradually accepted that food availability alone does not provide food security. A combination of factors including groundbreaking publications, a deterioration of living standards in the Third World, and severe famine in Africa helped ushers in the paradigm change.

The 1980s which was branded as the lost development decade characterised a decrease in standards of living in many of the world’s poorest countries due to structural adjustment policies and the debt crisis. Many nations had to eliminate the few social safety nets they had in place for their poorest populace. Famine persisted to be a profound concern notwithstanding improvements in production.

So much plagiarism, I no longer have the time to check it line by line. Of course, we can check it line by line together and you can explain why you feel it was necessary to claim someone else’s words as your own. You have to clean this up and resubmit it.

In his opinion, Sen (1981) acknowledged that famine was as a result of entitlement failure rather than a food deficiency, hence traditional perception on famine was debunked. Using the entitlement framework to support his claim, Sen further demonstrated that famine could occur whenever there is reduction in change in production, in this way cost of staple food increases in relative to the value of the people’s production and work activities. Food availability alone was therefore not necessary or sufficient to create hunger, (Maxwell et al…1981). The 1984-85 famines in Africa had a philosophical blow on food security theory and practice, which led to a livelihoods perspective. In his opinion, Wall (1989), observed that in Africa people intentionally prefer suffering from hunger rather than losing their assets in times of famine. Risk is then assessed by people who then decide to adopt either a short-term or long-term survival strategy. The truth holds especially in populations that are frequently subject to crisis. It was acknowledged that food is not for all time the first precedence of people living through a food shortage, but one objective out of many.

The livelihoods perspective criticizes Sen’s entitlement theory because it does not take into account individuals actions and choices; rather, it views the individual as passive. The livelihood theory misapplies economic theory and avoids social and historical realities in a case of choosing the wrong model to explain how famine occurs. Sen.’s entitlement theory assumed that certain variables were out of the individual’s control, when they actually were in the person’s control. The variables in a person’s control became known as choice variables among economists. By saying that a person is not passive, but rather can control his/her actions, you can change these into choice variables and it still fits within economic theory.

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In 1996 the FAO hosted 186 Heads of State and other high officials at World Food Summit in November to discuss and combat word hunger. This Summit was important for the adoption of a rights-based approach to food security. It was established that the food security paradigm and practice should include economic and resource problems as well as rights violations. People should be empowered through food security interventions to reclaim their rights. This paradigm shift has been labeled a shift from the food availability decline model to the food entitlement decline model.

The Special Programme for Food Security (SPFS); targeting low-income food-deficit countries (LIFDCs) was launched in 1994 by FAO to increase food production in order reach a goal of halving the number of hungry in the world by 2015. In 2000, at the United Nations Millennium Summit, world leaders agreed to a set of time-bound and measurable goals and targets for combating poverty, hunger, disease, illiteracy, environmental degradation, among others. These goals and targets became known as the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) (Obaid, 1996). MDG 1 is to eradicate extreme poverty and hunger by reducing by half the proportion of people living on less than a dollar a day, and reducing by half the proportion of people who suffer from hunger by 2016. The World Food Summit in 2002 reaffirmed the international community’s commitment to reduce hunger by half by 2015.

Thus it can be concluded that food security theory though was as old as creation it has gone through several transformation over the years. With the paradigm shift as a development theory efforts should be made at bringing to the fore all that matters in ensuring that food security is achieved.

Most of this section is clearly plagiarized. You can find exact wording of most of your text (and similar wording for the rest) in an online document entitled “A Rives Food Security Background Paper.” This is an extremely serious violation of university regulations.

2.4.0 The Origin of Food Security Concept

When food security issues were first highlighted in the seventies, the question was whether a nation or a region could command enough food to meet the aggregate requirements of its people. Special attention was paid to fluctuations in aggregate food supply, and food security interventions were primarily concerned with providing effective buffer mechanisms against such fluctuations. In this context, food security measures came to be identified with macro-level instruments such as national and international storage of food and balance-of-payments support for countries facing temporary food shortages (Valdes 1981).

It was soon realized, however, that this gave a very limited view of the food security problem. A large segment of a population could be living in hunger even if the country had sufficient food in the aggregate during normal times. Likewise, a sizeable section of the population could plunge into hunger during moments of crisis, even if the nation had an adequate ‘cushion’ to maintain aggregate food availability. Adequacy at the aggregate level does not necessarily ensure adequacy at the household or individual level (Galal, 2000).

This point seems obvious enough, but it took some time to redirect the discussions on food security away from the macro level towards the household, and still further towards the individual. While the focus on the disaggregated has now become common, the various definitions of food security still differ.

2.5.0 Dimensions of Food Security

This section opens with various definitions from previous researchers and discussions with respect to their definitions on the subject matter of food security by the current researcher ending with a conclusion.

2.5.1 Food Security Defined


Many definitions and concepts exist on food security. Since the early seventies, over thirty definitions have been developed. Whilst some relate food security to balanced supply-demand situation of staple foods in international market, other thinks it is the right to adequate living standard. This section therefore attempts to bring on board some of those earlier write-ups who were recognized to have researched in-depth in relation to the subject matter in order to build upon their work where necessary. Now the debate starts.

According to (ACC/SCN 1991:6).”A household is food secure when it has access to the food needed for a healthy life for all its members (adequate in terms of quality, quantity and culturally acceptable), and when it is not at undue risk of losing such access”. Some salient features of this concept need a little elaboration.

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Food security is a constituent part of the broader concept of nutrition security. A household can be said to be nutritionally secure if it is able to ensure a healthy life for all its members at all times. Nutritional security thus requires that household members have access not only to food, but also to other requirements for a healthy life, such as health care, hygienic environment and knowledge of personal hygiene. Food security is a necessary but insufficient condition for ensuring nutrition security.

According to the World Bank (1984) food security is defined as access by all people at all times to enough food for an active and healthy life, the essential elements being availability of food and the ability to acquire it.

Braun (1992) expressed the same view as he considered food security as the access by all people at all times to the food required for them to lead a healthy and productive life. Braun decried that with over 800 million people in the world known to be hungry, some 190 million children known to be underweight 280 million children known to be staunched in their youth let alone 2 billion people at risk from micro nutrient deficiencies. It is quickly clear that a huge proportion of the world’s population do not enjoy food security. These two views failed to point out how food security could be achieved. They did not indicate whether access to locally produced food or imported food and how to process, store as well as the channel for distribution. In the world, Africa and more especially Ghana where the road network is inaccessible in the food growing areas, couple with high food prices, these issues would have to be tackled before food can be accessed. In my opinion food security is possible when food is locally produced, processed, stored and made available for distribution without any hindrances.

Maxwell and Bery (1995) opined that food security is the capacity at all times to provide the world with food staples to support increasing food consumption while controlling price fluctuation. They contended that food security is the capacity to reach the desired level of consumption on annual basis to finance import requirement to meet the desired consumption levels. It could be emphasised here that much premium was placed on the volume of annual consumption without a discourse of taken the nutritional and health as well as the cultural component into account. Every society is regarded as unique entity and for that matter what is culturally acceptable to a particular group of people as far as staple-ness is concerned runs parallel with other societies.

Food security is said to be achieved when all people at all times have both physical and economic access to sufficient food to meet their dietary needs for a productive and healthy life. Achieving food security requires that the aggregate availability of physical supplies of food is sufficient, that households have adequate access to those food supplies through their own production, through the market or through other sources, and that the utilization of those food supplies is appropriate to meet the specific dietary needs of individuals (USAID, 1995). From the views expressed it is worth noting that external food supply is very vital in achieving and sustaining food security. Regrettably, as conflicts continue to make our surroundings no go areas, it is not uncommon to find people staving, yet finding it cumbersome to travel to where food can be procured for fear of being killed. Again it is also possible to travel to places in search of food but only to realize that no food is available at the time. For the researcher, food security can best be achieved through the provision of other variables such as communication network, political commitment and increased resources for policies and actions that aim at enhancing agricultural development and food security without a recourse to heavy security networking in addition to those already discussed in this literature.

The issue of food security has been understood by many development workers as the availability of food in the world marketplace and on the food production systems of developing countries (FANTA, 2003). Nonetheless, global food availability does not necessarily ensure food security in any particular country for the reason that what is available in the world market may not necessarily be accessible by famine affected people in African countries, as the economies of these countries, in general, cannot generate the foreign currency which keep increasing now and then, needed to purchase food from the world market. Even where this is possible, conflicts in those countries might not permit entry by African nations, hence rendering food security unachievable. By implication food security can best be achieved in an atmosphere of peace and tranquility, sound economics balance vis-à-vis the stabilization of the major currency particularly the dollar as well as demand-supply condition.

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Food security exists 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 lifestyle. The definition highlights on physical and economic accessibility. By accessibility, one should be able to possess the financial strength in order to buy sufficient food. Again wherever food is produced or sold one should be able to move without any burrier to acquire meet food in order to achieve physical food requirements. Globally, regionally and at national levels, food supply can be affected by ambiance, disasters, war, civil strife, population growth, lack of effective agricultural practices, and restrictions to trade. Government policies that encourage a policy environment based on macroeconomic stability and competitive markets, can improve food availability.

At the community level, food security is essentially a matter of access to food.

Food security requires an available and reliable food supply at all times

The World Food Summit Plan of Action defines food security on the following terms: ‘Food Security exists 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'(FAO,1991). Food security comprises four dimensions: ( I) adequacy of food availability, (ii) stability of supply, (iii) physical and economic accessibility of food, and (IV) quality and safety of food.

Sinkan (1995) viewed the concept of food security as nothing but an assurance that every country will have enough food supplies to meet its emergency full requirements through interalial, the establishment and maintenance of basic food stocks. That the need for such an assurance is more seriously felt not in normal years but in periods of calamitous events such as the 1984-85 devastating draught which heat several African countries and the recent development in some part of southern African countries such as Zimbabwe, Zambia. Thus the basic object of food security is therefore to have food availability, to balance annual food supply fluctuations and to increase food distribution.

IFAD (1994) sees household food security as the capacity of a household to procure stable and sustainable basket of adequate food. Over here, price stability is considered the major concern of achieving food security. This definition however failed to bring into focus whether nutritional contents were important: availability alone, without considering such indicators as nutritional value as well as utilization does not warrant food security. Food security thus, can be achieved when all those indicators come together to interplay.

Food security is a situation that exist when all people at all times have physical, social and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food that meets their daily needs and food preference for an active and healthy life (SFIW, 2002) this definition touches on accessibility, availability, food safety, nutritional adequacy, sufficiency as well as utilization. The researcher thus affirmed this report as the yardstick for measuring food security.

In the opinion of (LSRO, 1991) as sited in Galal, (2000) the most commonly accepted definition of food security at this time was promulgated as: “sustained access at all times, in socially acceptable ways, to food adequate in quantity and quality to maintain a healthy life.” According to Galal (2000) this definition can be operationalized at the individual and household level, and with minor modification can be applied to whole populations. It focuses on several concepts —

Access (economic and social)

Sustainability or security of access

Availability of food supply, both quantitative and qualitative

Quality of food supply to include nutritional adequacy and safety

The definition of food security noted above also recognizes that hunger is a managed process at the household level – that many decisions and management strategies are used to assure food security by households at the expense, where required, of foregoing or postponing utilization of other basic goods and services including medical care, education, and in extreme cases, housing. Thus Galal (2000) touches on the entire necessary ingredient needed to ensure that the household is fully secured in terms of food hence the researcher agree to toll the same line with Galal’s concept on food security.

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In Ghana the Ministry of Food and Agriculture’s operational definition of food security is “good quality nutritious food hygienically packaged, attractively presented, available in sufficient quantities all year round and located at the right place at affordable prices (FASDEP, 2003).

Achieving food security will be meaningless unless culturally acceptable meals in one social setting are never down played with. In addition political sustainability needs to be ensured.

Measures of Food Security

A broad definition of food security, from the 1996 World Food Summit, is as follows: “Food security exists when all people, at all times, have physical and economic access to sufficient safe and nutritious food that meets their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life.”33 Food security consists of four main dimensions: availability, access, utilization, and stability. In this analysis, we concentrate on access to and utilization of food. The former refers to a household’s ability to obtain food, which depends on income, prices, and market access; the latter refers to an individual’s ability to process nutrients and energy from food, which depends on dietary diversity, intra-household allocation of food, and hygienic preparation.

We create four measures of household food security: (i) an indicator for food insecure (or calorie deficient) households; (ii) a food consumption score – the dietary diversity measure proposed by the World Food Programme (WFP); (iii) a dietary diversity measure based on consumption of non-grain foods only; and (iv) a dietary diversity measure based on consumption of items within the nine food groups surveyed in the NRVA. Since consumption data were collected at the household level, it is not possible to address the issue of individual nutritional status, which depends on the intra-household allocation of resources.34

We define a household to be food insecure if the daily per capita calorie intake is less than 2100 kilocalories, a commonly used benchmark. Daily per capita calorie intake is calculated by dividing total household daily calories by effective household size. Food consumption was converted to kilocalories using FAO and USDA data sources. The effective number of household members incorporates guests eating meals within the home.35 This index of food security provides a measure of the United Nations Millennium Development Goal 1.9, to reduce by half the proportion of population below minimum level of dietary energy consumption.

2.5.2Food Security in terms of Availability and Accessibility

A very useful way of analyzing food security is to differentiate the concepts of food availability and food accessibility. Availability refers to the physical presence of adequate food supplies; for instance, the physical ability of a particular area of land to produce food. Availability can also refer to the presence of food throughout the world, which can be distributed through the international trading system or as food aid. In general, adequate availability of food depends on effective agricultural production. There are four basic sets of factors that influence agricultural productivity and availability (either by hindering or enhancing its development); (1) soil factors (including such things as the physical properties of soil, its texture, slope, chemical properties, nutrient content, etc.); (2) plant factors (referring to species and the genetic variation that may exist within species); (3) climatic factors (includes such factors as moisture supply, temperature, solar radiation and carbon dioxide concentration); and (4) socioeconomic factors referring to the price of agricultural inputs and products, farm income, availability of credit, and infrastructure for disseminating information about new knowledge and practices(Bender and Smith,1997).

Food availability is achieved when sufficient quantities of food are consistently available to all individuals within a country. Such food can be supplied through household production, other domestic output, commercial imports, or food assistance (USAID, 2004)

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Accessibility, on the other hand, refers to the ability of people within a particular country or region to actually receive or gain access to the food (for example, by having the financial means to purchase adequate food). In fact, as several seminar participants noted, the basic cause of chronic malnourishment is not the lack of food in the world, but the fact that the food is not getting to the people who need it most. This seems to contradict a common and widespread perception that human population growth has outstripped agricultural production worldwide (Kline, 1998) noted that Food distribution systems are largely shaped by political and economic forces that prevent the food from getting where it is most needed. Thus, the availability of food does not necessarily address the problem of accessibility to food; famines occur-and have occurred-in countries in which food is readily available and plentiful.

Food access is ensured when households and all individuals within them have adequate resources to obtain appropriate foods for a nutritious diet. Access depends on income available to the household, on the distribution of income within the household, and on the price of food (USAID, 2004).

It can therefore be concluded that food security is a multi-dimensional, including availability, accessibility, stable and utilization.

2.6.0 Schools of thought

This section considers two different approaches which have been expressed by various writers which the investigator considered to be very relevant for the study

2.6.1 The pessimist Approach

More than 800 million people around the world are malnourished, despite the fact that food production has doubled during the past three decades. A number of experts are warning that the number of malnourished could rise substantially as global demographic pressures clash with such limits as diminishing arable land and growing water scarcity. For this reason, food security pessimists have become more vocal in recent years and have grabbed international headlines with their predictions of food shortages in the not-so-distant future.

Brown (1998), one of the pessimists who has gained considerable prominence in recent years argues that the food system is the missing link that connects global environmental degradation to loss of food security-and its economic consequences. Brown also asserts that as the pressures of diminishing arable land and decreasing water supplies become more acute, food prices will likely rise. For affluent nations, this will not influence food security much at all, since such a small proportion of disposable income goes to purchase food. But for the 1.3 billion people in the world who live on less than $1 per day, such price rises-even if they are very small-could have a devastating impact (Brown, 1998)

Food security pessimists are particularly alarmed by what they view as the strong linkage between food insecurity and global population growth. Food security pessimists are concerned about the widely-accepted fact that within the next 30 years, the world’s population is expected to increase by 2.5 billion. More momentously, they argue, is the fact that most of this population growth will occur in the poorer, developing regions of the world-many areas that are already experiencing serious food shortages. Food security pessimists further purported that by the year 2040, the world’s population may increase to more than 9 billion. If this does occur, world agricultural output would need to increase by at least 250% (Avery, 1998). Consequently, many proponents of a neo-Malthusian viewpoint anticipate that rapid population growth in the future will aggravate food shortages.

Given these demographic constraints, food security pessimists argue that there are essentially two ways to increase food production-increasing yield per hectare or expanding the amount of land to be cultivated. Given the trend of disappearing arable land in much of the world-including Asia-the emphasis must be on creating more efficiency- more yield per hectare.

How much more efficiency can be achieved is the question all of us must find solution to. A study undertook by Bender and Smith (1997) noted that many of the techniques used to increase yields over the past few decades, such as increased fertilizer use, crop breeding, and irrigation, have been known for a century or more, and may not bring much additional growth. Other factors that suggest a less than optimistic food availability scenario in the future include loss of genetic diversity, pest migration, and pesticide resistance. Pessimists are also alarmed by the general lack of investment in agricultural technology throughout the world. In the past, the green revolution enabled governments to avoid food shortages. However, with resea

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