DP301 | Food Security and International Security

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01/05/1989

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Abstract

Global food insecurity, measured in terms of the number of people unable to obtain an adequate diet, is widespread and has increased in the last decade. Apart from low average incomes, a major contributing factor to this development is the growing instability of international markets. This tends to lead to increasing indebtedness by agriculturally oriented countries, and to subsequent increasing conditionality imposed by creditor nations. Much of the instability in world markets for agricultural commodities is induced by developed country restrictive policies, and this is shown to imply that larger global `reserves' are necessary to maintain a low risk of famines. Furthermore, increased external price instability is shown to imply that developing countries which attach priority to food security might shift their production structures in favour of food and away from exportable crops. The inherent conflicts and risks of providing insurance to poor, famine-prone countries will, however, necessitate greater international cooperation.