Today, I would like to talk about ‘Food Security’. Now, more and more person care about food security in the world. But the definition of ‘food security’,maybe different people have different mind. ‘Because food security is a very flexible concept and even a decade ago, there were about 200 definitions in published writings’. From 1974 to 1996, the definition of concept had changed a lot, but the main idea do not change. That is care about every person if had a health body.
In the mid-1970s, the initial focus of food security was on food supply – ensuring food prices were stable and available. However, following the events of the mid-1970s, the issues of famine, hunger and food crises were extensively reviewed. The result is a redefinition of food security, in which recognition of the behavior of potentially vulnerable and affected people is a key aspect.（FAO, 2002） Food security was defined in the 1974 World Food Summit as:“availability at all times of adequate world food supplies of basic foodstuffs to sustain a steady expansion of food consumption and to offset fluctuations in production and prices”（FAO, 2002）.
In 1986, the most influential World Bank report “Poverty and Hunger” focused on the time dynamics of food insecurity. It introduces a generally acceptable distinction between long-term food insecurity and short-term food insecurity. Long-term food insecurity, periods of persisting or structural poverty and low-income problems, short-term food insecurity, increased stress caused by natural disasters, economic collapse or conflict. The concept of food security is further elaborated as follows:“access of all people at all times to enough food for an active, healthy life”.In the mid-1990s, food safety had become a global focus, not only on the availability of adequate food, but also on the availability of sufficient protein and energy-adequate nutrition.
Food security is defined by the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations as existing when ‘all people, at all times, have physical, social and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food to meet their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life.’ (2009a: 8).This definition may be the most general, reflecting the international political priorities and policy developments that have affected this concept for four decades.As the world’s population increased, food prices rose rapidly, more and more people are malnourished. During 2006 and 2008, global institutions such as the United Nations and the World Bank, as well as many governments, proclaimed the global food crisis (FAO, 2009b).
FAO estimates that by October 2008, 36 countries had food insecurity problems. There are a variety of factors that contribute to food insecurity, both natural and man-made. Natural factors include extreme environmental conditions, such as drought, typhoons and so on. Human factors include civil strife and conflict(FAO 2008b). As a result of civil strife and conflict, there is an increasing number of international refugees. They have no means of self-sufficiency and need the State to provide food to meet their basic needs. The homes of Refugee are destroyed, there is no stable living environment and often wandering outside, so they may be infected with some diseases and viruses such as HIV/AIDS.Of course, these problems have contributed to food insecurity.
Poor weather conditions have led to a decline in agricultural production and an increase in pests to further reduce production. In order to reduce pests and diseases, many farmers began to fight a large number of pesticides, resulting in residual pesticide residues in food and with water can not be thoroughly cleaned, eating by people influenced human health.In recent years, changes in overseas development assistance have reduced the emphasis on agriculture, the response of individual countries to reduce food and food exports, the overall economic downturn. Thus, at the beginning of the 21st century, food security is a global problem. Population growth, climate change, and policy change can affect food security.
Next, let’s talk about this policy issue. In the development of food security as a policy concept and objective, emphasis has been placed on agriculture, achieving higher productivity and higher yields, as well as on food prices and trade, particularly in the global South. Agriculture is considered to be an important component of food security (Haddad et al. 1997). Given the potential impact of climate change, this can be seen in debates and related studies on how to feed the growing world population from limited resources. The most recent is the World Development Report 2008, which focuses on agriculture and identifies the three agricultural worlds related to the different levels of urbanization and food markets in different countries and regions and their implications for food security, economic development And poverty reduction (World Bank, 2007). Another useful resource for food security is the extensive research published by various authors through the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
The political economy also occupies an important place in food security, which controls the allocation of resources, primarily the control and influence of power over food. But people often overlook the impact of rights on food safety. From the global North and South perspective, the strongest criticism of food security comes from political economy methods, with Philip McMichael and Raj Pate as the mainstay. These approaches question the ability of markets, as articulated by FAO and other international agencies and governments, to provide food security. McMichael (2003) argues that agri-food systems have been corporatized globally. This occurs through a combination of various factors. The role of the State in the food and agricultural system has been reduced globally. In the global South, this often occurs at the request of donor Governments and global institutions of the North, by encouraging trade to provide food security and by making more use of national means of production and distribution. It also occurs indirectly through the reduction of overseas agricultural development assistance, as aid is transferred to other social policy areas.
In conclusion, Over the years, the definition of food safety is changing, so the concept of food safety is flexible. There are many factors affecting food safety, including environment, weather, policies, rights and so on.