Selective Review of Food Security Policy Worldwide: What can be Learned from International Experiences in Order to Shape Food Security Policy in Africa? Part II

Food security for all requires sustained productivity growth and competitiveness, not only of agriculture but of the entire economy; a social safety net; and resilience in the face of periodic shocks. This is the central message of this review. Two popular concepts in food security for all are food self-sufficiency (FSS) and food sovereignty (FSY). While countries have pursued different policies to achieve FSS, the common element in their approaches is the misguided belief that domestically producing all of a country’s consumption of basic food makes that country food secure. In addition, FSY is concerned with retaining control over policy; that is a country’s agri-food should not be subjugated to foreign corporate interests. Though popular, implementation of these concepts has not delivered “food security which 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). More often than not, achievement of FSS or FSY is not FSH. Instead, their implementation has raised serious questions regarding the sustainability, inclusiveness, and resilience of food systems. Our review of food security policy in 16 countries (five in and 11 outside Africa) includes high, middle and low-income countries with very different historical legacies and structural characteristics, and at very different stages of development. This great diversity shows that countries whose leadership promoted sustained agricultural productivity growth in the earlier decades of their development within a macro and trade framework of expanding markets (domestic and foreign), succeeded best in achieving FSH. They recognized the complex short- and long-term challenges of achieving FSH and did not reduce them to only domestic production of more basic staples. In a post-pandemic era, governments must invest in strengthening their public health infrastructures to achieve domestic food security, and should do so with global partners.