3 Dec 2014

Food Security: Mapping Risks, Building Resilience

WTI senior researcher Christian Häberli was invited to present his views at the annual Food Security conference at Chatham House in London on 1-2 December.

Speaking after WTO, EU and US government representatives at the conference, Dr Häberli argued that what all three policy frameworks called a contribution to food security were in fact (domestic) farmer security rules and programmes.

Because of the costs for both taxpayers and consumers at home, and negative spillovers on more competitive producers in other countries, global food security had actually decreased, even though there was less famine today compared with the height of the food crisis 2007-09, and cereals prices had recently come down. Under the present rules for agricultural trade and investment, food dumping, export restrictions and “land grabbing” at the expense of subsistence farmers all remained legal. Moreover, the WTO had not even started a serious discussion on how to address the vulnerabilities of Net Food Importing Developing Countries in a context of progressive trade liberalisation.

In conclusion, he predicted that agricultural trade policies in the EU and US will continue to promote farm security, and emerging economies will increase their role in the global food trade with increasing farm support, whereas poorer countries will be unable to protect and support their weak producers in the absence of adequate resilience tools, and safeguards against food dumping.