International Trade and Food Security

International Trade and Food Security

Exploring Collective Food Security in Asia

NUS Centre for International Law series

Edited by Michael Ewing-Chow and Melanie Vilarasau Slade

Food security is one of the greatest challenges of our time. Through a collection of commissioned studies, which draw upon the experience of leading experts and scholars in trade, investment, law, economics, and food policy, this book assesses whether self-sufficiency is an adequate response to the food security challenges we face

Chapter 1: Food security issues and the role of the multilateral trading system

Evan Rogerson and Diwakar Dixit

Subjects: law - academic, asian law, international economic law, trade law, public international law


Addressing food insecurity and malnutrition is one of the most pressing challenges that the global community faces. The Global Strategic Framework adopted by the Committee on World Food Security has outlined some of the structural and underlying causes of food insecurity and malnutrition which, inter alia, include broader ‘governance’ issues, ‘economic and production issues’, ‘demographic and social issues’ and issues related to ‘climate and environment’. A holistic consideration of this complex matrix of issues is needed. This is the approach taken by the UN High Level Task Force on Food Security in its comprehensive framework of action (UCFA). While both demand and supply side factors were responsible for triggering the 2008 food crisis, overall food supply or availability has not presented a threat to global food security. Global food production/supply has consistently kept pace with demand that has been rising as a result of population and income increases. That is why Amartya Sen considered that food access (rather than availability) matters most: ‘Starvation is the characteristic of some people not having enough food to eat. It is not the characteristic of there being not enough food to eat.’