Re: Addressing food insecurity in protracted crises: Resilience-building programming

Walter de Oliveira FAO, Sierra Leone

Dear FSN moderator

While perhaps not specifically responding to any of your proposed questions, I would like to make a link with food insecurity and hunger.

Resilience building is, among others, very much linked with food insecurity and hunger. We all agree that food security involves issues related to quantity, quality, availability and regularity and dignity. In order to build resilience, we need to tackle efficiently and at the same time, all the above aspects. Resilience building should also be targeting poor small-scale farmers and the farming communities around them. Although emergency measures are needed to alleviate severe problems, resilience can be built only through structural policies for employment and income generation coupled with strengthening infrastructures and building transferable human skills.

In many developing countries, food security dimensions, on which resilience should be built on, are related to demand insufficiency (income concentration, low purchasing power, high unemployment and sub-employment), incongruity between food prices and low purchasing power and exclusion of poor farmers from the market.

To break this perverse cycle, government need to intervene with actions to include those excluded into the food consumption market. The aid policy needs to be adapted to support government actions.

Basically, government and aid agencies need to create emergencies and permanent mechanisms to:

  1. a) decrease the cost of access to food for the low-income part of the population and;
  2. b) to encourage production, processing and distribution of local staple food and promote consumption. This requires expansion of micro-credit, professional qualification, incentive to micro enterprises, agrarian reform and an agricultural policy of incentive or smallholder farmers.

Resilience can be built by channelling resources to promote local food production and trade, as well as to develop links with structuring actions (public food procurement policies, establishment of trade channels, etc.). Since poverty is not restricted to the poor family, but it is strongly tied to the low economic drive of the village, district and the regional surroundings, resilience building strategies and actions need to have a territorial nature.

Thank you