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Food security refers to the availability of food and one's access

to it. A household is considered food secure when its occupants

do not live in hunger or fear of starvation. According to
the World Resources Institute, global per capita food production
has been increasing substantially for the past several
decades.[1] In 2006, MSNBC reported that globally, the number
of people who are overweight has surpassed the number who are
undernourished - the world had more than one billion people who
were overweight, and an estimated 800 million who were
undernourished.[2] According to a 2004 article from the BBC,
China, the world's most populous country, is suffering from an
obesity epidemic.[3]
Worldwide around 852 million people are chronically hungry due
to extreme poverty, while up to 2 billion people lackfood security
intermittently due to varying degrees of poverty (source: FAO,
2003). As of late 2007, increased farming for use
in biofuels,[4] world oil prices at more than $100 a
barrel,[5] global population growth,[6] climate change,[7] loss
of agricultural land to residential and industrial
development,[8][9] and growing consumer demand
in China and India[10]have pushed up the price of grain.[11][12] Food
riots have recently taken place in many countries across the

Worldwide commonly used definitions of food security come from

the UN's Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and theUnited
States Department of Agriculture (USDA):

 Food security exists when all people, at all times, have physical
and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food to
meet their dietary needs and food preferences for an active
and healthy life. (FAO)
 Food security for a household means access by all members at
all times to enough food for an active, healthy life. Food
security includes at a minimum (1) the ready availability of
nutritionally adequate and safe foods, and (2) an assured
ability to acquire acceptable foods in socially acceptable ways
(that is, without resorting to emergency food supplies,
scavenging, stealing, or other coping strategies). (USDA)[19]

The stages of food insecurity range from food secure situations

to full-scale famine. "Famine and hunger are both rooted in food
insecurity. Food insecurity can be categorized as either chronic
or transitory. Chronic food insecurity translates into a high
degree of vulnerability to famine and hunger; ensuring food
security presupposes elimination of that vulnerability. [Chronic]
hunger is not famine. It is similar to undernourishment and is
related to poverty, existing mainly in poor countries.

The Food Corporation of India was setup under the Food

Corporation Act 1964, in order to fulfill following objectives of
the Food Policy :

• Effective price support operations for safeguarding the

interests of the farmers.
• Distribution of foodgrains throughout the country for
public distribution system ; and
• Maintaining satisfactory level of operational and buffer
stocks of foodgrains to ensure National Food Security.

The Real Green Revolution is about achieving local food security.

A local food security approach attempts to help farmers to

produce enough for themselves, even if they cannot generate a
huge marketable surplus. This means ensuring good agriculture in
all types of villages and farms.

In fact, this is the kind of food security every farmer yearns for.
And this exactly is the kind of food security large irrigation
systems cannot provide.

Canals do not reach everywhere, and - notoriously - salinise the

soil in command areas. Irrigation pumps can only make the
groundwater-table fall. Big dams create only small pockets of
Green Revolution-style agricultural production. The present
structure of agricultural production allows only for water-
intensive crop regimes driven by market-based (and not people-
based) demand-supply logic.

Large-scale irrigation systems make sense only from the

perspective of National Food Security (so-called).

For local food security, we need rainwater harvesting.

Community food security

Community food security is a condition in which all community
residents obtain a safe, culturally acceptable, nutritionally
adequate diet through a sustainable food system that maximizes
community self-reliance and social justice
Following are six basic principles of community food security, as
defined by the Community Food Security Coalition:

 Low Income Food Needs Like the anti-hunger movement, CFS

is focused on meeting the food needs of low income
communities, reducing hunger and improving individual health.
 Broad Goals CFS addresses a broad range of problems
affecting the food system, community development, and the
environment such as increasing poverty and hunger,
disappearing farmland and family farms, inner city
supermarket redlining, rural community disintegration, rampant
suburban sprawl, and air and water pollution from unsustainable
food production and distribution patterns.
 Community focus A CFS approach seeks to build up a
community's food resources to meet its own needs. These
resources may include supermarkets, farmers' markets,
gardens, transportation, community-based food processing
ventures, and urban farms to name a few.
 Self-reliance/empowerment Community food security projects
emphasize the need to build individuals' abilities to provide for
their food needs. Community food security seeks to build upon
community and individual assets, rather than focus on their
deficiencies. CFS projects seek to engage community residents
in all phases of project planning, implementation, and
 Local agriculture A stable local agricultural base is key to a
community responsive food system. Farmers need increased
access to markets that pay them a decent wage for their
labor, and farmland needs planning protection from suburban
development. By building stronger ties between farmers and
consumers, consumers gain a greater knowledge and
appreciation for their food source.
 Systems-oriented CFS projects typically are "inter-
disciplinary," crossing many boundaries and incorporating
collaborations with multiple agencies

Food Security in India

updated September 2008
There is consensus that the incidence of malnutrition has seen
little improvement over the last 10 years. Almost half of all young
children are underweight, many of them in the more serious
categories of wasting and stunting. Rural households consume less
food than in the 1950s. The government's safety net for feeding,
known as the Public Food Distribution System (PDS), reaches less
than 100 million people and is impaired by corruption at district

Regulations of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) which force

Indian farmers to compete on an unlevel playing field have been a
key factor in the crisis. Agricultural imports have increased four
times since the WTO came into effect in 1995 and at least 4
million farmers have been rendered jobless. Apart from the
scarcity of affordable food, a tragic human consequence has been
the suicide of over 100,000 farmers in the last decade, most of
them faced with crippling debts for expensive seeds and
chemicals. It can be no surprise that India's insistence on special
protection for its farmers was a vital factor in the collapse of
the Doha round of WTO negotiations.

Internal factors have also contributed to food insecurity in India.

Lack of investment in the rural economy is reflected in the
220,000 villages which lack electricity. Irrigation infrastructure
has not been maintained and poor controls over industrialisation
have also contributed to the collapse of groundwater levels and
the loss of cultivable land. Withyields of wheat falling and rice
production static, there is bound to be alarm at the Ministry of
Rural Development’s decision to invest $375 million in the
production of diesel from the untested biofuel crop jatropha.
Although this wild plant can be grown on arid wasteland, it grows
even better on conventional farm land exposing the risk that
commercial forces will overwhelm any regulation.

With almost 60% of the workforce dependent on farm

livelihoods, the government has responded with a range of
measures intended to boost the rural economy. The National
Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA) guarantees 100 days
of paid employment to one person from every household to work
on public infrastructure projects. Initially confined to selected
states, NREGA is now being extended to the entire country. The
2008 budget also announced a farm loan waiver scheme which
aims to write off the debts of 40 million farmers. Critics have
suggested that the vast expenditure involved in these schemes
should be more explicitly targeted to rural development
needs such as soil regeneration, irrigation and diversifying