The Challenge of Food Security

The Challenge of Food Security

International Policy and Regulatory Frameworks

Edited by Rosemary Rayfuse and Nicole Weisfelt

This timely study addresses the pressing issue of food security through a range of interdisciplinary contributions, providing both scholarly and policy-making perspectives. It sets the discussion on food security within the little-studied context of its international legal and regulatory framework. The expert contributors explore the key issues from a development perspective and through the lens of existing governance and policy systems with a view to articulating how these systems can be made more effective in dealing with the roots of food insecurity.

Chapter 4: Right to food, sustainable development and trade: all faces of the same cube?

Elisabeth Bürgi Bonanomi

Subjects: development studies, law and development, environment, environmental law, law - academic, environmental law, international economic law, trade law, law and development, public international law


The global agricultural system is both complex and flawed. International trade in agriculture is highly distorted. While more than half the population in developing countries obtains its livelihood from agriculture, compared to less than 10 per cent in developed countries, only a small percentage of internationally traded food comes from developing countries. Food price volatility is high. Biofuels and futures transactions exacerbate the increase in food prices. Differences in governmental support are huge, with Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries spending a significant part of their budget on agricultural subsidies. On average, tariffs on agricultural products are still much higher than tariffs on industrial goods. In particular, processed agricultural goods, which come with an added value, are protected from competition from the South. In contrast, many developing countries have significantly liberalised their agricultural sector as a result of conditions linked to structural adjustment programmes.

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