Thinking through Food Security Policy

Initially, when food security came into use at the international level, it was conceptualised as an outcome: the object of food security policies was to make people food secure. However it quickly developed into an approach as it was incorporated into development thinking (Hindle 1990:63).

As an organizing principle, food security can provide policy makers with a framework that “recognises that growth is not enough, just as trickle down was not sufficient” (Hindle 1990:62). With respect to policy outcomes, to borrow from Robert Hindle (1990:63), former Chief of the Food Security Unit at the World Bank, the “usefulness of food security is the balance it brings to public policy decision making… [F]ood security focuses policy makers on the human impact of policy decisions as well as highly aggregated macroeconomic indicators” (Hindle, 1990:63). For Hindle (1990:63), analysis of food security should direct policy makers (and donors, where relevant) to put in place policies, investments, and institutions that are consistent with the long-term reduction of food insecurity. However, these are inevitably context dependent and need to be rigorous enough to implement and monitor but flexible enough to adapt to changing social, ecological, political and economic realities.

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