A Billion Hungry People – remember the food price crisis?

January 27, 2009

Greed, Fear, Deregulation and previous crashes: the origins of the meltdown

January 27, 2009

What would a global food security policy look like?

January 27, 2009
empty image
empty image

Sticking to yesterday’s theme of food, check out ‘The Feeding of the Nine Billion‘, an excellent new paper by Alex Evans. Alex combines the skills of academic and consultant with his insider experience as a former special adviser to Hilary Benn, then UK Secretary of State for International Development. He specialises in what George Lakoff calls ‘reframing‘ – here he pulls together a number of trends into what he calls an ‘age of scarcity’ (of carbon, energy, water, land). These will together produce a ‘food crunch’ as the population rises to 9 billion over the next 40 years, unless we come up with a ‘global food security policy’.

For developing countries, that means reversing declining investment in agriculture; pursuing a new kind of ’21st Century Green Revolution’, but one that unlike its 20th Century counterpart, is intensive in knowledge rather than in inputs of water, fertilizer, energy etc; getting markets working properly; focussing on small farmers and getting serious on social protection as the best way to deal with the volatility of food prices.

At an international level, Alex advocates the equivalent of an International Energy Agency for food (the IEA was set up after the 1973 oil crisis to coordinate collective responses to future energy shocks); providing technical assistance to developing countries that are negotiating (and getting ripped off by) long term supply agreements like the notorious (and now abandoned) Daewoo-Madagascar deal; pushing ahead with agricultural liberalization in the developed countries; integrating security of supply into global trade rules and agreeing a comprehensive deal on climate change.

Oh, and he thinks the current fall in prices is temporary and prices are poised to rise again as soon as the global economy starts to recover.

For Alex’s own blog on the launch of the paper, see here. Declaration of interest – Oxfam helped fund the paper.


  1. thanks for this- my view is that the notion of security has a tendency to reinforce-old hostility, divisiveness,contention and competition.

    I am not able to offer an immediate and alternateive substitution for it.Perhaps we must rename it to include sustainable food production and eqitable access.That will take into acccount the current challenges and solutions to it.

  2. Focusing on small farmers, how can you that when the huge food companies dictates everything for the farmers, and they have no laws that protects them. How can you come up with a global food security policy.. sounds like someone is worried for the future.. Thanks for a good post.

Leave a comment

Translate »