Food security involves many concepts, and usually not all their areas are discussed, so the problem is much broader. Food security involves: agricultural production, trades, incomes, food quality, clean water, sanitation, governance and political stability; these are all factors influencing the food security status.

Therefore, the World Food Summit gives us a definition and four main dimensions:

“Food security exists when all people, at all times, have physical and economic access to sufficient safe and nutritious food that meets their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life.”

1996 World Food Summit held in Rome.

  1. Food availability addresses the “supply side” of food security and is determined by the level of food production, stock levels and net trade.
  2. Economic and Physical Access To Food
  3. Food Utilization addresses the hygiene and sanitation, water quality, health care practices and food safety and quality are determinants of good food utilization by the body.
  4. Stability of the other three dimensions over time, “all people, at all times”

The world food crisis of 1972-74 caught the attention about “food security”, in those ages the crisis was originated from a combination of factors, including adverse conditions in several parts of the world, which reduced global grain supplies. Subsequently, a dramatic increase in demand for grain imports doubled international grain prices, which threatened the food security status of food importing nations.

The Green Revolution in Asia, in the ’60s-’70s, with its technological package like: improved seeds, new production technologies, increased irrigation and chemical fertilizers, was successful in providing food and it was thought for a moment that it could solve the hunger in the world, but this didn´t translate in ensuring food to all people.

It requires a change of paradigm to ensure food, especially if it also has to be safe and healthy for people and the environment. In recent years it has been manifested an alternative approach of agricultural development, this promotes: organic farming methods, sustainable management, social justice and satisfaction of the dimensions involved in food security.

This type of alternative agriculture, such as agroecology, organic and biodynamic farming emphasizes local circuits of production-consumption, dominated by landscapes and biodiverse small farms, which, as studies show, can produce between two and ten times more per unit area than large-scale farms. The communities surrounded by small farms, exhibit fewer social problems (alcoholism, drug addiction, family violence, etc.) and healthier economies than communities surrounded by large and mechanized farms.

There is no doubt that an alliance between farmers and consumers has an strategic importance, therefore, it is essential that urban consumers prefer to buy food in local markets or farmers markets, where they are opting for a model of agriculture: social, environmental and economically sustainable, and, at the same time, food security it´s being achieved.

By Francisca solar / Agriculture Engineer
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