7-8 JUNE 2017 / Tour & Taxis / Brussels

Food security & food justice: Building blocks for a just and sustainable global food system

Food security & food justice: Building blocks for a just and sustainable global food system

Tuesday, November 26, 2013 - 18:00 to 19:30

Key points

  • Food security and food justice are moral imperatives, but also necessary for economic growth, eradicating poverty and sustainable development.
  • Support for women is vital to enhancing food security.
  • Agroforestry can enhance food security in several ways and should be supported.



The post-2015 development agenda must focus on a world food system that is broken. The world produces enough food for the human population, but 900 million people are hungry, and 2 billion people suffer from the ‘hidden hunger’ of malnutrition.

Investment in agriculture has been neglected. Many of the world’s hungry are smallholder farmers who need support.  Even in countries experiencing recent rapid growth, such as India, growth has not translated into reducing poverty and eliminating hunger due to unequal distribution of income.

Niger, like other Sahel countries, suffers from food insecurity due to droughts and floods. Many children suffer from preventable diseases exacerbated by malnutrition. Niger is addressing these problems through its ‘Nigeriens nourishing Nigeriens’ initiative that seeks to protect people from the impact of drought and floods, improve irrigation through providing low cost energy to farmers, combat soil degradation, and increase agriculture production.

Support for women is key as they provide major inputs to food security and agricultural production in developing countries. They, like all smallholder farmers, need information regarding nutrition, family planning, techniques to improve food production, and mitigation and adaption to climate change. They also need access to credit, pesticides and mechanisation.

Agroforestry – which involves combining cultivating trees with crops and livestock – should receive significant support for its potential to improve food security. Trees help prevent soil depletion, replenish soil nutrients, capture carbon, and provide both livestock fodder and an energy source, among other benefits.

The post-2015 agenda should address the concepts of fair shares, which means equity and fair play; fair rules and regulations; and ‘fair say’, which means equal opportunity for all people to have their voices heard.

While nutritious food is too expensive for poor people, in an economic sense food is not too expensive. Food is actually too cheap because the system permits externalisation of many costs – particularly environmental – that should be internalised.

Speakers made several recommendations for the European Union’s post-2015 agenda, including:

  • Tackle climate change with bold emission targets both made and met;
  • Eliminate policies that undermine food security, such as support for biofuels, which transfer land devoted to food production to production of fuel for cars;
  • Support smallholder farmers and small-scale agricultural production;
  • Invest in research to meet the needs of smallholder farmers;
  • Reform the international trade system that hurts smallholder farmers; and
  • Adopt policies that discourage commodity speculation.



Food security and food justice are not only morally imperative human rights; they are vital for economic growth, poverty eradication, social stability and sustainable development. They must be high on the post-2015 agenda. The nations of the world should commit to eliminating hunger by 2025.