Global Forum on Food Security and Nutrition (FSN Forum)

Food security

“Food security is not in the supermarket. It's not in the government. It's not at the emergency services division. True food security is the historical normalcy of packing it in during the abundant times, building that in-house larder, and resting easy knowing that our little ones are not dependent on next week's farmers' market or the electronic cashiers at the supermarket.” – Joel Stalatin.

The World Food Summit of 1996 defined food security as existing “when all people at all times have access to sufficient, safe, and nutritious food to maintain a healthy and active life”. Commonly, the concept of food security is defined as including both physical and economic access to food that meets people's dietary needs as well as their food preferences.[1]

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO); food security is built on three pillars which encompass (i) Food availability (ii) Food access (iii) Food use.

In the context of this post the group will focus primarily on the role of government in securing sustainable fisheries. Firstly, the role of government is to correct market failures arising either through an externality or provide a public good in the situation of a missing market.

Fishermen generally utilize a common pool resource; the oceans, rivers, tributaries etc. to engage in their economic trade. Their activities impose a social cost which is not accounted for in their private cost .As a result, we can see them exerting negative externalities onto society and eventually making themselves worse off. Moreover the tragedy of commons may prevail if government does not intervene to prevent this market failure. Because of this it will ultimately be the role of the government to implement certain fees or limit the seasons of fishing in order to sustain the industry, which can be done through the enactment of certain laws and restriction on fishing zones.

A second role of Government entails the provision and dissemination of technical information to farmers so as to raise awareness of negative externalities and ways of cost minimization which can result in a Pareto improvement.

In addition, there exists opportunities for the scope of a public private partnership which will be addressed in a subsequent post.