BirdLife Summary of Deutsche Bank Food Security Event
Deutche Bank Research has waded into the 'food security' debate with a new report, launched at a public event in Brussels on 21 September. The document is a useful and reader friendly guide to many of the key issues surrounding food and agriculture, and marks a welcome interest from outside the 'usual' agri-policy crowd.
The debate during the event highlighted at least a degree of common understanding among the speakers. Crucially, there seemed to be a convergence on the view that the 'food security' debate should not be viewed only within the narrow confines of needing to increase global food production, a position that has been defended by some of the agricultural inputs lobby representative present at the debate.
All of the speakers, on the other hand, raised questions about the sustainability of production and to the very uneven distribution globally of both production capacity and purchasing power. In the short term, it is clear that the world is producing more then enough food for all, yet mass starvation and malnourishment are still ripe and increasing. In the longer term, there are question marks as to whether food production can keep pace with increasing demand. However, these are essentially linked to environmental issues such as water scarcity and soil degradation, which are likely to be made worse by climate change.
This suggests that the very complex and wide ranging set of issues surrounding the food debate can be grouped into two main areas. The first one is essentially an issue of poverty alleviation and global social justice. How to ensure better access to food the world poorest populations and how to ensure access to land, technology, markets and credit to the world’s poorest farmers. The second relates to environmental sustainability. The interlinked climate, biodiversity and water crisis need to be urgently tackled, including to ensure global food security in the long term.
Tackling this will require far ranging changes to both production and consumption patterns, and policies that can drive these changes. On the CAP side, opinion is still divided on the level of impact it exerts on developing countries' agricultural sectors and the extent to which CAP reforms can make a positive difference. On the other hand, a broad consensus seemed to exist on the need for the CAP to tackle the growing environmental challenges.
22 Sep 2009
Ariel Brunner (BirdLife International)
Ariel Brunner is a Senior EU Agriculture Policy Officer at BirdLife International who advocate CAP reform and better implementation of EU rural development policy.