Food security as a social movement in neo-liberal times: Envisaging a role for social sciences

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    Abstract

    Food is one of the vital elements of human existence and human health. The right to food is equivalent to the right to life. From production to consumption, food involves many important cultural, social, and economic activities of human societies. Yet, despite advances in science and technology that have modernized food production and distribution, hunger and malnutrition still threaten the health and well-being of millions of people around the world. Estimates suggest that 800 million people in ‘developing’ countries are undernourished; of these 207.6 million reside in India alone. Food security is affected by food availability and affordability, which in turn, is largely influenced by the state of agriculture. The pivotal importance of agriculture in the fight against hunger and poverty lies in the fact that around 2.5 billion people in developing countries live in rural areas and are engaged in agricultural production; most of them are small-scale subsistence farmers. Agriculture employs 70% of the labor force and contributes 34% of the gross domestic product (GDP) in ‘developing’ countries, including India. In recent decades, trade liberalization policies have significantly impacted small farmers and agricultural workers, creating a global farm crisis. Neo-liberal trade regimes in agriculture have sparked renewed interest in food security. With India as a case in point, this paper will review the existing evidence about the impact of agricultural restructuring on food security, examine the rise of farmers’ movements and government responses, and recommend priorities for social science research, policy development and social action.
    OriginalsprogEngelsk
    TidsskriftInternational Journal of Interdisciplinary Social Sciences
    Vol/bind2
    Udgave nummer5
    Sider (fra-til)39-48
    ISSN1833-1882
    StatusUdgivet - 2008

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