International Trade and Food Security
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International Trade and Food Security

Exploring Collective Food Security in Asia

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
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Chapter 12: Conclusion: Moving to collective food security

Michael Ewing-Chow and Melanie Vilarasau Slade


There were numerous policy responses to the 2008 food crisis, all of which ostensibly placed the achievement of food security front and center in the policy considerations of many governments. Many countries turned to self-sufficiency as an answer. There are clear limitations to this policy option, particularly in the case of import-dependent countries in which the socio-political and/or geographical conditions for agricultural production are less than ideal. Yet despite its high costs, food self-sufficiency represents a food security strategy followed by a wide range of countries. This is understandable given that it is the responsibility of national governments to ensure food security for their population. Self-sufficiency is in essence a very costly food insecurity insurance scheme, limited to the national level and one that not all States are able to afford. Further, whilst it can ensure sufficient production (i.e., physical availability) in some States, it is not a guarantee against individual food insecurity (i.e., economic and physical access) within those States.

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