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Lecture 12

Food Security (WHO)


Providing access at all times to
- enough
- sufficient
- safe
- nutritious
food, to allow people to maintain healthy and active lives
Case for Agri-Business & Free Trade
Only so much food because
- modern technologies
- long distance trade
Majority of malnourished people Africa & South Asia
- self-sufficient subsistence farmers
- rural landless laborers
Dramatic increase in overall food production mandatory
- rapid pop growth
- increased standards of living
1. Food Security - History
Famines
- humans
o wars
o ethnic and religious persecutions
o price controls
o protectionism
o excessive taxation
o lack of respect of private property rights
- nature
o unseasonable heat or cold
o excessive or insufficient rainfall
o floods
o pests (insects, rodents & pathogens)
o soil degradation
o epidemics (farmers or beasts of burden)
- typically > 1 cause at work
- 2 consecutive bad harvests
Food Security in Subsistence Agriculture (Recap)
- multiple crops/ animals (> resilience against specific problems, but
useless against general problems droughts, floods, etc)
- cultivate different patches of land whenever possible (different sides of
a hill, etc)

Coping with Famine in More Advanced Societies


Worldwide Answers:
- charitable giving
- emigration (typically to cities)
Political authorities
- call upon heavenly assistance
- expel strangers
- identify scapegoats (speculators and hoarders, preferably from diff
ethnic/religious backgrounds)
Wealthy individuals
- reduce discretionary spending
- tap into or stop accumulating savings
Less wealthy individuals
- temporarily lowering their food intake
- sell whatever they could (from farm animals to children)
Famines first defeated for good in Netherlands/England 17th century
- more productive agriculture (monocultures)
- international trade
Public Granaries
Basical rationale:
- filled in good years/harvest seasons
- emptied in bad/lean ones
in order to soften
- hunger cycles
- price spikes
Food Desert
Definition: area in advanced economies where healthy and affordable food is
difficult to obtain
2. Trade Barriers
- any government policy or regulation that restricts international trade
- import duties
- export duties
- export licenses
- import quotas
- tariffs
- subsidies
- non-tariff barriers to trade
- voluntary export restraints

- local content requirements


Basic principle of trade barrier: imposition of some sort of cost on trade that
raises the price of the foreign products
Trade war: when 2 or more nations repeatedly use trade barriers against
each other
Main argument against trade barrier: absolute and/or comparative
advantages
3. Food Safety
Food Safety/Cross Contamination on the Farm
Is your manure stored uphill from your vegetable field? Could it be a source
of contamination for these vegetables?
Do you change your clothing and footwear as you move from handling your
livestock to working with your livestock?
Are you and/or your staff washing their hands well before handling fruits and
vegetables?
Do farm visitors follow practices that will prevent them from spreading food
pathogens from your livestock area to your
vegetable/fields/orchards/picking/packing areas?