Food Security and Sustainability: Globalisation, Investment and Financing

George Mergos and Marina Papanastassiou

Introduction and Overview

The world has ample food, but a billion of people suffer food and nutrition insecurity (von Brown 2014). At the same time, food systems are under severe stress due to climate change, population growth, a shift in diets and continuous resource degradation (Godfray et al. 2010; Nelson et al. 2010). Food security has been a long-standing issue, but after a period of complacency in the 1980s and the 1990s, it has recently attracted renewed interest due to food price crises and high food price volatility, forcing governments to consider food security as a stated strategic

G. Mergos (h)

Department of Economics, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Athens, 105 59, Greece e-mail: This email address is being protected from spam bots, you need Javascript enabled to view it

M. Papanastassiou (h)

Department of International Management and Innovation, Middlesex University Business School , London, NW4 4BT, UK e-mail: This email address is being protected from spam bots, you need Javascript enabled to view it

© The Author(s) 2017

G. Mergos, M. Papanastassiou (eds.), Food Security and Sustainability, DOI 10.1007/978-3-319-40790-6_1

objective. Problems of long-term food supply and chronic food insecurity are caused by factors that affect long-term food demand and supply, as well as by trade prospects in the horizon of 2050. But, food insecurity results, also, from lack of purchasing power, volatility in international food prices, food supplies and incomes, at national or at household level, inter alia. The link between food insecurity and poverty necessitates a strong research effort on poverty alleviation. Finally, public policy design to address chronic or transitory food insecurity at national, regional or household level is part of the research agenda (FAO 2014).

On the other hand, globalisation has brought sweeping changes in the global economy and has affected the operation of food supply chains that play a major role in determining food security at the country level. In addition, huge inefficiencies of the food supply chain and significant food loss and waste have a strong negative impact on food availability, productivity and the environment. The emergence of Global Value Chains (GVCs) dominating international investment and commodity trade represents a paradigm shift in policy design for food security. Also alternative conduits of mobilising the private sector in linking the millions of small stakeholders (small farmers, traders, processors) to international markets through more inclusive value chains need to be explored as to results and impact. In this context, this book explores how recent developments link a number of food security issues with recent trends in international agricultural trade and globalisation of agricultural production and manufacturing, the mobilisation of small stakeholders through innovative financing mechanisms, the green growth strategies that are promoted widely and the importance of risk. Then, these issues are examined in the context of a number of case studies mainly from the Mediterranean region.

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