Center for Research on Environment, Human Security & Governance

Global Food Insecurity: Rethinking Agricultural and Rural Development Paradigm and Policy

21/03/2012 02:00


Co-edited by Mohamed Behnassi, Sidney Draggan and Sanni Yaya. Published by Springer, Netherlands. 2011.

Link to Springer page



Food security is a human right, and its provision is a common responsibility. Official recognition of this fundamental right has been marked by a progressive evolution either in international or national levels. However, and despite the high level deliberations to end food insecurity and malnutrition around the world, more than one billion of people suffer at present from hunger. Long-term prospects foreshadow a continuation of this suffering - in fact, a worsening is seen on the horizon, in particular for Sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia.

Currently, the food issue has re-emerged vigorously and has been placed at the highest level of national and international (political, scientific, economic, and advocacy) agendas in a context dominated by such factors as: the soaring prices of basic food products; a decrease in non-renewable energy and mineral resources; alarming scenarios of climate change; and widespread domestic and international migration. It may seem unnecessary to remember that food insecurity is a result of the combined effects of many factors such as poverty, inadequate food production, degradation of natural resources, weather hazards, low incomes of farmers, debt service, the overvalued exchange rate and inflated human population growth.  All of these have amplified pressure on the environment and on available natural resources. In addition, distortion and fluctuations in international agricultural markets — in particular the concentration of agricultural production in some exporting countries recognized by their protectionist trade policies — weigh heavily on food security deficits within many countries. Finally, the liberalization of world agricultural trade is also worsening the already deteriorated situation of the poorest countries.

As a response, it is generally recognized that food production will have to increase to meet the constantly increased global demand. In these circumstances, the pressures that will be placed on agriculture to meet this demand require additional innovative solutions. In this perspective, we do not hesitate to consider sustainable agricultural development as a strategic choice to achieve food security. But the generic and cross-cutting nature of the concept of sustainable agriculture requires precaution in its use, country by country, and continent by continent. In other words, any strategy or policy development could now embrace the goal of sustainability, but the implications of such choices are numerous, particularly with regard to: food sovereignty; air, freshwater, and land use and management; biodiversity; social justice; ethics; and local or global governance. Addressing this specific cross-cutting characteristic of sustainable agriculture, therefore, is very crucial.

Differences between contextual frameworks and objectives often confuse and complicate the decision-making process. Without a clear understanding of the purposes and expected outcomes of sustainable agriculture with reference to sustainable rural development, compromises on strategies and policies to be implemented would be less productive. Although agriculture is an activity integral to human life and that of societies, and given that it marshals and consumes significant resources (that is, financial and technical, natural and human), the choices adopted at different political, socio-economic and scientific levels, there is -as yet- no consensus on the future of agricultural economy, food systems and rural areas. The current global food crisis, however, can be considered at this point as overwhelming evidence.

This book aims at analyzing the agricultural and rural development with all the issues raised, given the presumption that it is currently considered as one of the relevant solutions recommended to face sustainably the food insecurity challenge. The book focus on the paradigmatic and policy dimensions and call for an innovative approach by analyzing the key themes in a complex and interrelated manner.

In what way does this book differ from the already published books?

This book focuses on the global food insecurity that currently emerge as a key challenge within a very complex context marked by many different challenges, especially in climatic and energy terms. The call for a rural and agricultural development as one of the relevant solutions raises other political and scientific debates on sustainability, technology, redistribution mechanisms, public health, trade mechanisms, sovereignty, governance, ethics, and collective security. Exacerbation of the current world food and energy crises, and the human and environmental impacts of climate change and globalization (especially on the world’s poor), call for a rethinking of development in a holistic manner - and agricultural and rural development in a particular way. Hence the need for a holistic approach - addressing problems within all their recognizable complexity, in a spirit of economic, social and environmental sustainability, equity and solidarity. This calls for a new paradigmatic and policy approach to address the multiple dimensions of the above issues. This book is expected to launch the debate, explore the successful worldwide experiences, and suggest some relevant recommendations.





S. Draggan, M. Behnassi, and S. Yaya


Chapter 1-A New Conceptual Framework for Assessing Rural Development Performance: Sustainability of Scale, Scope, and Integration

Kiyotada Hayashi

Chapter 2- A Knowledge Approach to Sustainable Agriculture

Jesús Rosales Carreón, René Jorna, Niels Faber, Rob van Haren

Chapter 3-Sustainable Agriculture Ensures Sustainable Rural Development: A Reality or a Myth

Mirza B. Baig

Chapter 4-Policies for Sustainable Agricultural Production and Consumption

Joyce D'Silva

Chapter 5 -Cultivating Faith: The Relationship Between Islam and Sustainable Agriculture in Rural Communities of American Muslims

Eleanor Finnegan

Chapter 6- Agricultural Development for Food Security and Sustainability in Nigeria

Usman Haruna & Mohammed Bashir Umar

Chapter 7-African Agriculture at Crossroads: Balancing the Needs of Increased Productivity and the Challenges of Sustainability. The Case of Fadama Agriculture in Semi-Arid North-Central Nigeria

Jake Dan-Azumi


Chapter 8- Food Crisis Mitigation: The Need for a Global Governance of Food and Agriculture

Mohamed Behnassi and Sanni Yaya

Chapter 9- 18,000 Children Die of Starvation Everyday: Cannot we Save Them?

Molla Md. Sirajul Islam

Chapter 10- The Self-Reliant Country: Sustainable Agricultural Policy for Australia ?

Jane Shepherd

Chapter 11- LCA Potentials and Limits within a Sustainable Agri-Food Statutory Framework

Geneviève Parent and Sophie Lavallée

Chapter 12-Risk Communication at the Hungarian Guar-Gum Scandal

Gyula Kasza, Judith Szigeti, Szilárd Podruzsik, and Krisztián Keszthelyi

Chapter 13-The Environmental Challenges and its Security Implications for South Asia

Abhaya K. Singh


Chapter 14- Climate Change, Seasonality and Hunger: The South Asian Experience

Nira Ramachandran

Chapter 15- Effects of Climate Change on Food and Human Security in Nigeria

Obayelu Abiodun Elijah

Chapter 16-Quantitative Assessment of Climate Change by weather generation models and downscaling GCM data in Tehran, Iran

Majid Habibi Nokhandan Nafise Haghtalab,Sharare Malboosi,Fateme Abasi,Mohsen Goodarzi

Chapter 17-The Role of Biofuels in the Sustainability of the Environment

Peter Karácsony, Anzelm Kiss, and József Orbán

Chapter 18-Energy Efficiency, Methane Output, Required Carbon Sequestration Area and Water Productivity in Extensive and Semi-Intensive Beef Production in South America - A Comparison of Ecological Currencies

Schwartz H. Juergen, Feldkamp Cristian Rodolfo, Bungenstab Davi Jose

Chapter 19-Biogas Energy from Agricultural By-Products: Energy Yields and Effects

on Organic Farming Systems Compared with Energy Maize Cropping

A. Deuker, W. Stinner and G. Leithold


Chapter 20-Sustainable Agriculture and Food Crisis In Sub-Sahara Africa

Balogun, Olubunmi Lawrence

Chapter 21-Soaring Food Prices and Africa’s Vulnerability and Responses

Abdul B. Kamara, Albert Mafusire and Vincent Castel

Chapter 22

Significance of Vegetable Farming as a Strategy to Enhance Household Food Security in Communal Areas of Zimbabwe

Thomas Marambanyika

Chapter 23- Changes in Agricultural Landscape and Food Production Pattern: Some Ecological Implications and Policy Options in the Agrarian Economy of Indian Punjab

Grover Davinder Kumar

Chapter 24-Emerging Issues for the Formulation of Policy for Agri-Input Delivery System in Nigeria

G. B. Ayoola


M. Behnassi, S. Yaya, and S. Draggan