Friday 30th October 2019 | Markus Meister (Welthaus, Graz)
Held at AAI Salzburg

I believe the aim of the workshop was to familiarize the participants with the discussion on food security and food sovereignty mainly by understanding what the two terms really involve and what impact they have on the world’s continued efforts to eliminate food loss and food waste by 2030 as presented in the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG 2).

The structure of the workshop:
• Food Security & Food Sovereignty
• Food Insecurity & Hunger
• Case Studies
• SDG 2: End Hunger By 2030

To kick off the workshop, we looked at some of the key definitions of the two terms: According to Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO, 2003), “Food security exists when all people, at all times, have physical, social and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food which meets their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life. Household food security is the application of this concept to the family level, with individuals within households as the focus of concern.”

According to (FPH, 2011), “the concept of food sovereignty encompasses the importance of modes of food production and where foods come from. It highlights the relationship between the importation of cheap food and the weakening of local agricultural production and populations.”

The discussion among the participants revolved heavily around the theoretical analysis of the two terms and their impacts on the agenda to eliminate hunger. From my understanding, food sovereignty focusses on governance and modes of food production, food consumption while food security is highly concerned with food availability. Sovereignty is putting a lot of consideration on policy, that food is more than a commodity and places control of food production on the hands of the local food suppliers.

We looked at data from different regions to have an idea of the progress the world has made to eliminate hunger. We also had a chance to look at some case studies, thereby two regions were highlighted: Pakistan and Kenya. By looking at the data the Global Hunger Index ranks countries on a scale of 100-0 point, with 0 being the best score (no hunger) and 100 being the worst. It ranked Pakistan in 2017 on 106th position out of 119 countries studied scoring 32.6 which according to Grebmer et al., is an alarming status.

Along the Global Hunger Index data, Kenya scored 23.2 in 2018 which placed the country among the lowest position within the Global Hunger index in the East Africa region. Considerably low score were reached compared to the year 2000’s score that was 36.5. I would conclude that this has to be alarming too even though the data also shows that mortality rate of children under the age of five in the country has reduced significantly and consistently for the last twenty years. Even undernourishment rates had been consistently improving until 2015 but has since begun to increase again. The data does not seem to explain the sudden shift.

A key part of our conclusion to the discussion was whether it is possible to eliminate food loss and waste by 2030. Based on the data presented by (FAO 2019), on the state of Food Security and Nutrition in the world, the progress of malnutrition is indeed very slow to achieve the global nutrition targets by the years 2025 and 2030. The issue of sustainable agricultural methods (technology) to address food security and in turn achieve food sovereignty came up several times during the discussions.

Without food, man can live at most but a few weeks; without it, all other components of social justice are meaningless.

Norman Borlaug

Written by Cynthia Richter Ojijo, AAI scholarship holder

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