Re: From economic growth to food security and better nutrition

Final Year Economics Students (group 1)
  1. 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?

In improving a countries food security and nutrition status one must recognize the inherent linkage they have with social protection and food governance.  Below are just two occurrences in which the former led to improvements in food security and nutrition:

‘Guyana’s achievement of Food security has resulted from programmes established …. to ensure that the nation is producing enough food to feed every single household’ (Guyana’s Government Information Agency: GINA).The Ministry of Agriculture in Guyana has been spearheading the food, nutrition and security initiative which has seen the implementation of several major projects that directly address issues pertaining to food security within the context of the ‘Grow More Food Campaign’ (which was implemented to ensure that Guyanese had adequate food available for themselves and excess to export to Caribbean countries as well as other outside territories). The Agricultural Export Diversification Programme (ADP aims to increase Guyana’s export growth rate and reduce its volatility), the Agricultural Support Services Programme (ASSP aims to increase rural incomes by increasing the efficiency of agricultural production), the Rural Enterprise Development Project and the Rice and Beans Project for Hinterland Communities (this project directly targets the attainment of food security within the Amerindian Communities since these communities are the most vulnerable in this respect) are some of the major programmes. These programmes are encompassed in Guyana’s National Food and Nutrition Security Strategy (2010-2020).


Rapid economic growth has been the main vehicle by which most Asian countries have reduced poverty and enhanced food security (World Bank, 1993). Governments can do many things to improve food security at the household and individual level and most countries in Asia have programs to do so. Rural education accessible to females and the poor, family planning and child-care clinics in rural areas, nutrition education, and extension specialists helping to improve home gardens are just a few of the possibilities (Block et al. 2004). Some Asian countries were successful at improving food security among their citizens by basing their strategies on two important elements which they have some degrees of control over. These two strategies are the sectoral composition of income growth (which focused on growth that reached the poor i.e. “pro poor growth) and food prices (where government’s stabilized food prices particularly rice prices since it is the main staple food). The stabilization of food prices ensured that short term fluctuations and shocks did not make the poor even more vulnerable to inadequate food intake (Timmer 1991, 1996).   

Reference: Food Security and Economic Growth: an Asian perspective