Local food security in a globalising world
Food security exists when everybody has access to sufficient, nutritious and safe food at all times. However, various predictable and unpredictable challenges around the globe, including changes in climate (i.e. rising/falling temperatures, droughts and floods, diseases and pests), market tendencies, insufficient access to food for households, unequal distribution of resources and opportunities and inadequate food distribution channels, prevent the realisation of this idealistic and often oversimplified term.
Despite a growing number of large-scale, high-external input farms and enough food production to feed the world, post-harvest losses result in less optimal yields and (locally) produced foods are often used for other purposes, such as animal feed or biofuel. Consequentially, 795 million1 undernourished people around the globe do not have access to this lost and wasted food.
Ensuring access to food for everyone is the key to ending hunger, which will require improved collaboration between various stakeholders - producer (organisations), the private sector, governments, traders and development organisations. Structures, policies and programmes must be continuously adapted to a variety of external factors, such as the economy, environment and current social structures. Rethinking of informal rules and habits is another essential step in attaining food security, considering even members of the same household are not guaranteed equal access to food. In light of these external factors and challenges, this specialisation presents various interventions needed to combat hunger and ensure food security for everyone.
At graduation, you will have the ability to:
• define the economic, commercial and marketing needs, constraints and opportunities of those in rural communities who produce for local and regional markets
• analyse food security at a local and global level
• apply tools for diagnosing food security
• analyse the livelihoods of farmers who produce for local and regional markets and understand farmers' coping strategies
• select, explain and design an appropriate development intervention leading to food security
• develop support programmes for farmers, producers and other groups
• mainstream food security within Agricultural and rural development programmes
• define the economic, commercoal and marketing needs, constraints and oppertunities for small-scale producers in rural communities
• formulate and recommend any organisational adjustments that are needed within service-delivery organisations.
Rural Development and Food Security specialists explore effective responses to mal- and undernourishment, by defining needs, constraints, coping strategies and opportunities for small-scale producers in rural communities. In selecting appropriate context-specific interventions, which reflect understanding of the local context in its wider context, they consider stakeholder relationships and how collaboration could be organised to each stakeholder’s benefit while helping farmers to safeguard their ability to ensure local food security. In the face of globalisation, slow economic growth and political instability, specialists may design and implement responses for (non-)governmental organisations or partners in the private sector, in the form of projects, programmes, market structures or policies.