Re: The e-Consultation on Hunger, Food and Nutrition Security

Theme 1

Lessons Learned:

  1. One of the key lessons learned during the current MDG framework, as it relates to hunger, food security and malnutrition is the fact that each country has its own capacities, constraints and challenges. Ending poverty requires setting ambitious targets in each country, but a “one size fits all” target is senseless when countries have vastly different starting points. With each country at a different point at the time of implementation, some countries were at the desired objective while to some it was impossible.
  2. The goals were designed using a ‘Top down approach’ and hence the inputs of those directly affected by hunger and poverty were ignored.
  3. Another lesson learned, especially in developing countries is that the measurements for the progress of the goals require extensive quantitative information which are, in some, cases unavailable and in others, inaccurate.

Future challenges:

  1. If strict regulations are not in place regarding the quality of food produced, the expansion of food production may result in the use of harmful chemicals to enhance quantity produced.
  2. Secondly, if countries are not careful of population growth, future food security and hunger reduction faces a tremendous challenge. This is so because if the population and food production are growing at the same rate, ceteris paribus, there will be no significant reduction in the number of people faced with hunger and malnutrition.
  3. Thirdly, with alternative uses of food (as inputs to the manufacturing of other goods, for example fuel), this leaves less for consumption and hence the challenge to food security.

Recently, there has been much talk of labour mobility from agricultural sector to other sectors. This could be a positive move if the movement is merely the surplus labour in the agricultural sector. However, it is very likely that much needed labour is transferred to other sectors. It has been observed that this is largely due to the mentality that agriculture is somewhat a socially degrading occupation and fewer entrants to the labour force wish to be agriculturally involved /employed.

Future opportunities:

The vast literature on agricultural based countries indicates that those countries are less developed. With the growing demand for agricultural production, due to the MDG food security agreement will help develop those small agrarian countries. It provides them with comparative advantage and also provides them with a favorable trade balance.