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Revamping Policies for Attaining Food Security in the LDCs
Author: Md Shamsuddoha
Date of Publication: 2009-02-01
Unrest over food, leading to “food riots” have shaken over thirty nations in the LDCs where workers and peasants have become less and less able to afford food due to sky rocketing prices. Tortilla ‘riots’ in Mexico, disputes over food rationing in West Bengal, protests over grain prices in Haiti, Cameroon, Senegal, the Ivory Coast, Mozambique, Bolivia, Ethiopia, Madagascar, Mauritania and other parts of Africa, hungry children’s march in Yemen, and pig farmers’ protest in London are some examples of food crises around the world ( Khor 2008). According to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), twenty-two countries are particularly vulnerable to the recent food price increases, because they are very poor and dependent much on food imports. The FAO also warned that increasing prices have “triggered a food crisis” in 36 countries. Again, according to the World Food Programme, 12 out of the 16 ‘hunger hotspot countries’ are in the LDCs. Although, many international conventions and agreements have affirmed food as a basic human right but response to eliminate food insecurity or the efforts to avert the looming crisis is frustrating. Even the international community is not found so supportive. Globally, more than 73 million people in 78 countries are dependent on food aid from the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) who is now facing reduced rations this year unless additional $500 million is infused. (Rosario Bella Guzman, July 2008). Against this backdrop, many argue that the increasing food crisis is due to supply constraints as global production dropped drastically. Statistics show that present global food supplies are more than adequate to provide everyone with all the needed calories, if the food were equally distributed. But over 820 million people in the developing countries including LDCs have calorie-deficient diets; over 60 percent live in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. A variety of factors, such as policies promoting dependence on external food supplies, lack of investments in the agricultural sector, trade imbalances and trade liberalization are to blame for food insecurity in developing countries. Meanwhile, some governments around the world have responded to the immediate crisis by taking a number of steps to rescue their food stockpiles and keep food prices within their borders down, such as enforcing more protections on food exports, which may have exacerbated the crisis by further contributing to the already thin world food market. This looming food crisis clearly signifies that the flaws of existing agro-industrial and market led approach of food security failed to feed global hungry people, especially in the LDCs. Moreover, these have instigated the present crisis, resulting in a billion people to go hungry, drastically reduced biodiversity, and nearly ruined the ecosystem. Therefore, it’s a typical challenge of the LDCs to denounce existing production practices and revamp country’s sovereign policies to attain food security.
Other publications by Md Shamsuddoha