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Global Forum on Food Security and Nutrition (FSN Forum)

A Few Clarifying Comments

I cannot agree more on the matters of principle Ms. Emilia Venetsanou

Has raised in her second contribution.

However, I think we have failed to addressed the brief as it is presented to us, viz., coming to a common understanding of what might constitute a food system. Obviously, unless it is a generic food system free from specific details, it will hardly be a common one.

We are requested as it were, to outline a food system which in its skeleton form common to those in use everywhere. Figuratively speaking, their actual manifestations may be obese, well-built, or skinny.

Let us not confuse two distinct things connect with a tool, viz., the structure of the tool, and how it is used. Knife is a useful tool in the kitchen, but in someone’s hand, it could also be a murder weapon. The problem here is in how a person uses a given tool. Thus it is in a food system.

Social ills Ms. Emilia Venetsanou describes arise from this cause. My description of a food system has indicated clearly that an unfair exchange of values became available since barter system was invented. Her examples are just a case of labour exchanged for an unfairly small quantity of food in return, a possibility I have not overlooked in my first contribution.

So, It is not the food system per se that is the root of social ills, rather the way it is used. Of course, looking at food systems as sure sources of profit and building them for that purpose will exacerbate FSN, which is how it is today. Hence, the need for a justifiable food system.

Ensuring against a vairiety of social ills, environmental damage, etc., That are attributable to unjustifiable food systems or their misuse, is in the hands of powers that be. If they are willing and able to undertake this step, then they will need a holistic governance that covers several areas, viz., agriculture, trade, labour regulations, etc., etc.

Best practices as such might be very useful when an ppropriate agriculture policy is implemented in an area where it is suitable, in other words, tactical implementation/operationalization or whatever the current word is.

I hope that the final draft of the present work will clearly distinguish between the tool and its appropriate use not forgetting that at present we are only asked to contribute to what might justifiably constitute that tool i.e., a food system.


Lal Manavado.