Food insecurity fuels social conflicts and exacerbates tensions across communities and countries and is the common concern of many countries. Food Security is exacerbated by many phenomena, such as droughts in grain producing nations, to rising oil prices which result in increased costs of food transportation and agricultural inputs for producers. The security implications of a lack of food can be seen following the price hike in basic commodities in 2007-2008. Severe food riots occurred in countries across the globe from Cameroon and Egypt, to Bolivia, Uzbekistan, Bangladesh and Yemen.
In 2008-2009 food security problems were masked by the financial crisis - however, as countries emerge out of recession, demand is expected to pick up and another food crisis is expected.
The NEF-Mercator Fund, SRTT and CInI are developing a joint research project comparing the poverty alleviation policies of Brazil and India. This analysis will explore the potential of policies which ensure food security and alleviate poverty to prevent social and economic conflict. In addition the project will conduct a best practice analysis of food security policies to provide lessons learned for both respective countries.
The respective food security and poverty alleviation programmes identified for this project are the Bolsa Familia Project in Brazil and the Mid Day Meal Schemes (MDMs) and National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA) in India. The Bolsa Familia, which has been hailed as a success by international indicators, is an example of a "conditional cash transfer" programme that provides poor families financial aid on the condition that children attend school and undergo vaccination programmes.
About Global Food Security
There are more than 1.02 billion hungry people in the world
Providing global food security is one of the principle challenges for humanity in current times. The scale of the challenge is immense. According to an FAO estimate over 1 billion people suffer from hunger. One sixth of all humanity currently goes hungry every day. This is a challenge that has reached unprecedented levels in recent years. There are more people hungry today than at any time since 1970.
Malnutrition has also been growing since the mid-1990s, and in 2008 was affecting approximately 915 million people. These trends are expected to worsen given high food prices, and structural issues relating to the recent downturn in the global economy.