Food security is a basic right





Access to an adequate supply of food is the most basic of human needs and rights. Ensuring that their people have enough to eat is not only the moral duty of governments, it is also in their economic and political interest. Hungry people cannot work; hungry children cannot learn. Without a well-nourished, healthy population, development is impossible.

Food security is dependent upon three factors: availability, stability and accessibility of food supplies. To achieve national food security, a country must be able to grow sufficient food or have enough foreign exchange to enable it to import food. Similarly, households must have sufficient income to purchase the food they are unable to grow for themselves. The basic causes of food insecurity are low productivity in agriculture combined with fluctuations in food supply and low incomes.

Since its inception, FAO has been assisting countries in the developing world to increase their production of staple crops and livestock and to cope with food emergencies. Other UN agencies, the donor community and NGOs, as well as the countries themselves, have supported a variety of programmes and measures to strengthen food security. However, it is now clear that if the needs of growing populations are to be met, more must be done - and done quickly - to help the LIFDCs increase and stabilize staple food production on a sustainable basis.


  • 200 million children under the age of five suffer from calorie deficiency

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