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Re: From economic growth to food security and better nutrition

14.11.2012
Final Year Economics Students (group 3)

Greetings from Guyana!         

Below are our contributions with specific emphasis on Question One:

“Can you share specific experiences in which social protection and better food security governance have led to advances in local food security and improved nutrition?”

Since the beginning of time, human beings actions have been influenced by their need to have food. Thus, food security has always been a concern for everyone, it is a national responsibility. Even though everyone would’ve probably mentioned this already, the real question is “What is food security?” “[Food security] is … access by all people at all times to enough food for an active, healthy life. Its essential elements are the availability of food and the ability to acquire it. Food insecurity, in turn, is the lack of access to enough food.” (World Bank 1986).

Given the fact that food security is a concern for all people, food insecurity is prevalent in poor lesser developed countries (LDCs), because of their inability to generate enough income to purchase food it gets worse when they’re unable to grow their economies and simply produce their own foods. We all know that the one condition that can solve the problem of food insecurity for any nation is that of “economic growth” as was mentioned in the forum. Developing and developed economies have in fact proven this to be true, as their gross domestic product steadily increase their undernourished populace decreases.

Social Protection and better food security governance can indeed lead to advancement in local food security and improved nutrition. When countries faced with food insecurity issues, can significantly improve their levels of social protection (which can even be in the form of policies implemented to protect local farmers in their economies from outside competition and foreign based products). They can prevent their economies from being dominated by foreigners and taking away pools of resources to their foreign land and even to the point of exploiting labourers in the relatively poor countries.  With this capital outflow it means that citizens’ earnings are not being properly invested or used in their own countries thereby not contributing to the growth of the economy which is essential for betterment in poorer nations.

For example, right here in Guyana we see a wide variety of well packaged plantain and banana chips made in Costa Rica, of which our Guyanese people are going fanatical for but the ironic thing is that Guyanese grow both bananas and plantains of which we do not desire, and the more amusing thing is that the chips taste no different from the ones we can buy here at home (Guyana). These are the simple things that create huge economic problems for small or poor countries and Governments need to put better measures in place to deal with these issues. Why import something that your country produces?

However, there are some advantageous methods implemented by the Government of Guyana such as; local agricultural farmers are given certain packaged seeds to encourage them to plant or grow more food which is good, since it adds to the third dimension of food security which is availability of more food for all. Additionally, with the known natural disaster of floods in Guyana a lot of farmers do not feel encouraged to farm anymore, but what the Government is doing is that during these times there is guaranteed help for farmers such as compensation for any loss.

The Government also took it up a notch, where through the Ministry of Agriculture there is a hotline service offered to farmers whereby they can call and indicate whatever problems they may be encountering. The Ministry of Agriculture would then try to see how they can deal with whatever issues were highlighted. This act by the government has led to better food security in Guyana. Moreover, there is a Programme on National Communications Network (NCN), which allows the entire Guyana with more specific emphasis to farmers, where they can be updated on the activities as it relates to farming. The programme often has experts who educate farmers on better farming practices and pest control methods. Here we clearly see a pro active or preventative approach by the Government to deal with future farming practice or pest control issues and other general farming problems.

This is all for now.

Thank You.