There are growing concerns about the health impacts of climate change with ecosystem degradation and global warming, finite reserves of non-renewable energy, water shortages in food-producing regions, limits to contem- porary agriculture with its dependence on exhaustible petrochemical nitrogen and rock phosphate fertilizers, and failure of the global financial system. To date, health security has meant attention to safe environments espe- cially water, sanitation and waste disposal; and access to health care and its affordability. Its dependency on food security (safety, sufficiency, sustainability, and satisfactoriness which requires diversity and quality) has been under-estimated because the current and imminent risks have increased and extended to more populations, be- cause these may be less tractable and because the nature, extent and dynamics of nutritionally-related health are better appreciated. As a step towards more collaborative food and health systems, the National Health Research Institutes in Taiwan has created an interdisciplinary Nutrition Consortium (NC) with research and policy agen- das. The NC held a food in Health Security (FIHS) in the Asia Pacific region roundtable in conjunction with the World Vegetable Center based in Tainan, supported by the National Science Council and Academia Sinica in Taiwan and the Australian Academies of Science and of Science Technology and Engineering, August 2-5th 2009 in Taiwan. A FIHS Network is being established to further the initiative. It should form part of the broader Human Security agenda.
Marine fish is one of the most important sources of animal protein for human use, especially in developing coun- tries with coastlines. Marine fishery is also an important industry in many countries. Fifty years ago, many peo- ple believed that the ocean was so vast and so resilient that there was no way the marine environment could be changed, nor could marine fishery resources be depleted. Half a century later, we all agree that the depletion of fishery resources is happening mainly due to anthropogenic factors such as overfishing, habitat destruction, pol- lution, invasive species introduction, and climate change. Since overfishing can cause chain reactions that de- crease marine biodiversity drastically, there will be no seafood left after 40 years if we take no action. The most effective ways to reverse this downward trend and restore fishery resources are to promote fishery conservation, establish marine-protected areas, adopt ecosystem-based management, and implement a “precautionary princi- ple.” Additionally, enhancing public awareness of marine conservation, which includes eco-labeling, fishery ban or enclosure, slow fishing, and MPA (marine protected areas) enforcement is important and effective. In this pa- per, we use Taiwan as an example to discuss the problems facing marine biodiversity and sustainable fisheries.
Distrust of food safety has grown among the Japanese people after the occurrence of bovine spongiform en- cephalitis (BSE) in 2001. The Food Safety Commission was formed under the Cabinet Office and made a net- work among the ministries. The newly-established Consumer Agency may strengthen the quick response to emergencies. Shoku-iku (food and dietary education) Law is being implemented by the Cabinet Office with co- operation from relevant ministries and NGOs. Food Sanitation Law and Health Promotion Law are briefly ex- plained, and the necessity of functional nutriology for non-nutrient biologically active substances is described. With regard to public health nutrition, a new food label showing energy balance and antioxidant unit (AOU) as a surrogate marker of fruit and vegetables has been developed for tailor-made nutrition which makes it easy to for individuals to control energy intake.
Economic growth inevitably influences the food chain. Growing demand with changes in lifestyle and health consciousness encourage use of packaged and pre-prepared foods. The needs of environmental protection from waste generated are largely overlooked, and a lack of knowledge about the impact on the environment and its health effects constitute food security/safety problems. Food production and waste generation directly affect re- source (i.e., energy and water) consumption and often contaminate the environment. More pressure on food pro- duction has inculcated the use of pesticides, herbicides, antibiotics and chemical fertilizers which add to current global pollution. At least half of food grown is discarded before and after it reaches consumers. It is estimated that one third to half of landfill waste comes from the food sector. This landfill releases green house gases (GHG) as well as leachate which worsen soil and water quality and safety. Pharmaceutical and chemical contaminations from residential, industrial and agricultural sources make their way into nearby water and soil and can eventually affect our food systems. Phthalates, PFOA, BPA, commonly used in plastics and personal care products, are found in unacceptable concentrations in Taiwanese waters. They, too, contribute to food contamination and long-term health risk. Existing waste management strategies warrant more stringent norms for waste reduction at source. Awareness through education could reduce food waste and its consequences. This review encompasses impacts of food production systems on the environment, pollution which results from food waste, costs and eco- nomic advantages in food waste management, and health consequences of waste.
In addition to product trade, technology trade has become one of the alternatives for globalization action around the world. Although not all technologies employed on the technology trade platform are innovative technologies, the data base of international technology trade still is a good indicator for observing innovative technologies around world. The technology trade data base from Sinew Consulting Group (SCG) Ltd. was employed as an example to lead the discussion on security or safety issues that may be caused by these innovative technologies. More technologies related to processing, functional ingredients and quality control technology of food were found in the data base of international technology trade platform. The review was conducted by categorizing technologies into the following subcategories in terms of safety and security issues: (1) agricultural materi- als/ingredients, (2) processing/engineering, (3) additives, (4) packaging/logistics, (5) functional ingredients, (6) miscellaneous (include detection technology). The author discusses examples listed for each subcategory, includ- ing GMO technology, nano technology, Chinese medicine based functional ingredients, as well as several inno- vative technologies. Currently, generation of innovative technology advance at a greater pace due to cross-area research and development activities. At the same time, more attention needs to be placed on the employment of these innovative technologies.
This paper discussed the threats from farm animals to food and human security. In response to these threats, a radical reform plan was adapted by several countries and the plan includes restructure of the organization of governing agencies, implementation of a traceability system from the farm sector to end users, application of hazard control measures, as well as tightening the food import control system.
Fish (finfish or shellfish) has been classified as healthy by health professionals despite containing contaminants, since fish is high in long-chain n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids which have multiple beneficial health effects such as decreased risk of stroke via anti-thrombotic and vasodilative effects, increased heart rate variability, reducing serum triacylglycerol and blood pressure, anti-inflammatory activities, improving visual function, improving at- tention-deficit conditions/ hyperactivity disorder, schizophrenic and dementia; and may be effective in managing depression in adults. All these beneficial effects are thought to be mediated through altering cell membrane composition, fluidity, receptors and membrane-bound enzymes, gene expression and eicosanoid production. However, natural marine and freshwater fish populations are declining as a result of over-fishing, temperature and climate changes etc. To re-establish and maintain the fish population in China, fishing has been banned for 2-3 months during specified periods of the year, which differs depending on the area, since 1995. The fish popu- lation has recovered since implementation of these banned fishing periods, and thereby maintaining the sustain- ability and affordability of fish. Aquaculture products have had a significant contribution to China’s food system, with significant increase in output over the past few decades, from one million tons in 1978 to 32 million tons in 2007. Aquaculture fish represents a higher portion of total aquatic products compared with natural marine and freshwater fish, which has only been achieved in China, and this has contributed greatly to food and health secu- rity. China’s success in this area is a good model for other developing countries.
Fish farming, now well known as aquaculture, has been well recognized since the ancient era. The first written document on fish culture was published in China in 475 BC, and the first koi pond was constructed at the Japanese Imperial Palace grounds during 71-130 AD. In recent years, aquaculture has progressively played an important role in the provision of: animal protein and gourmet cuisines, job opportunities, and foreign currency for developing countries. Asian countries produce around 91 percent of the world’s total aquaculture production. Among the top ten aquaculture-producing countries, nine are from Asia. The current global population consist of more than 6.5 bil- lion individuals; over one billion of which face hunger problem. In the highly populated Asia-Pacific region with moderately high-productivity, 642 million people are still facing hunger. Being a proficient and potential source of animal protein, aquaculture will play an increasing and important role in solving the world food problem in the fu- ture. This paper discusses both the opportunities and constraints in the aquaculture industry, specifically in the Asia- Pacific region, and its possible role in solving the current global food crisis. Strategies including promotion and adoption of traceability and HACCP systems for food safety, and marketing management for aquaculture products are also suggested. It is hoped that traditional administration of aquaculture management for survival, profit, as well as food safety will successfully match sustainability management to meet the urgent global need for food.
Challenges for food and health security encompass food production and distribution, smallholder income genera- tion, access to health care, harmful child care practices and epidemics (e.g. HIV), and tackling of the coexistence of undernutrition and caloric over-nutrition. The recently re-defined primary health care approach addresses the whole field of nutrition and health security. In general, Asia has more experience with technologies in various fields than Africa. But Africa has more experience in humanitarian approaches to emerging food and health cri- ses. Objectives of the Asian-African collaboration need to be differentiated into one area where the public sector is developing and strengthened, and another area where the private sector can promote food and health security with its specific advantages and constraints. In the field of hunger and disease prevention, both sides can benefit from the exchange of knowledge and concepts. Whereas in the Western world drugs and technologies became major factors in health care and food production, the potential of Asia and Africa lies in optimizing the utiliza- tion of indigenous plants and protecting the biodiversity of the natural resources. As an example, the vegetable bitter gourd is presented: it can be grown almost everywhere and it exerts anti-obese and anti-diabetic effects. This is of extreme importance for those who do not have access to modern drug treatment for diabetes mellitus. Asian-African collaboration in food and health security provides a great opportunity as both sides can benefit from different experiences and opportunities in order to meet the challenges in food and health security.
This is the first of two articles on the steepening challenges which confront global agriculture, food security and hence nutrition and population health. The recent deterioration in global food security has caught most experts by surprise. While the Asia Pacific region as a whole has so far fared reasonably well, there should be no complacency about medium to long term food security in the region, whether or not food security improves in the near future. The first paper places this debate in the context of the long-standing arguments between Malthusianists and optimists. The apparent reversal of position in the last decade of two leading agricultural experts is discussed. Their recent writings reflect intensified Malthusian concerns curbed in their writings from the 1990s. The paper concludes that far more credence needs to be given to the pessimistic position in order to avoid it becoming reality. The second paper focusses on five interrelated challenges to future food security in the Asia Pacific. These may be conceptualised as pathways by which pessimistic Malthusian scenarios become manifest. The mechanisms are (1) climate change, (2) water scarcity, (3) tropospheric ozone pollution, (4) impending scarcity of phosphorus and conventional oil and (5) the possible interaction between future population displacement, conflict and poor governance. The article concludes that a sustainable improvement in food security requires a radical transformation in society’s approach to the environment, population growth, agricultural research and the distribution of rights, opportunities and entitlements.
To establish a food guide, the ‘total diet’ needs to be considered, based on prevailing patterns of food and nutri- ent intake; these will be culturally acceptable and recognize the prevailing social and economic conditions that affect food availability. Dairy produce is a good source of high quality protein, and provides significant amounts of vitamins and minerals. People who consume more dairy have higher intakes of calcium and vitamin B2 with less chance of deficiency. We used four National Nutrition Surveys in Taiwan (NAHSITs) to establish the cur- rent demographic predictors of dairy intakes, an indicator of food security in an affluent society. There was a U shape relationship between dairy consumption practices (whether or not) and age. In Taiwanese, the practice is higher in school children (49.3%), adolescents (32.1%) and elderly (43.6%) than it is in middle age (22.2-25.9%). Average daily dairy intake decreases with age; in the elderly, the intake is less than half a serving. Forty seven percent of first grade children consumed a serving or more of dairy while the 6th graders dropped to 37%. Less than 20% adults consume one serving or more a day. The rate increases to 40% for elderly. Physiologic limita- tion and dietary habit account for 25% and 50% of dairy avoidance, respectively. Education, financial status, ethnicity, regionality and health seeking behaviors are determinants of dairy consumption in all age groups. There is a need for alternative Food Guides for non-dairy consumers. Attention to dairy intake for socio- economically disadvantaged groups is required.
Health is intrinsic to human security (HumS) although it is somewhat anthropocentric and about our own psy- chosocial and biomedical status more than various external threats. The 1994 United Nations Development Pro- gram definition of HumS includes economic, food, environmental, personal, community and political security with freedom from fear and want. Environmental factors are critical for health security (HealS), especially with widespread socio-economic difficulty, and health systems less affordable or accessible. The nexus between nu- tritionally-related disorders and infectious disease is the most pervasive world health problem. Most if not all of the Millennium Development Goals are food-linked. Maternal nutrition has life-long health effects on the yet-to- be born child. The mix of essential nutrient deprivation and energy imbalance is rife across many societies. Food systems require deeper understanding and governance to overcome these food-related health risks which are matters of food security (FoodS). Nutritionally-related Disability Adjusted Life Years (DALYS) are improving markedly in many parts of the world, along with poverty and hunger reduction and health system advances. But recent economic, energy, food, water, climate change and health crises along with conflict are limiting. It is time for international and regional understanding of how households and communities can collectively manage these threats in affordable and sustainable ways. There is untapped problem-solving capacity at the internationalisable local level if supported by combined food - health systems expertise, innovation, infrastructure and governance. Principles of equity and ethics must apply. The Food in Health Security (FIHS) roundtable aims to develop a Network to facilitate this process.
This is the second of two articles on challenges to future food security in the Asia Pacific region. It focuses on five mechanisms, which can be conceptualised as pathways by which pessimistic Malthu- sian scenarios, described in the first paper, may become manifest. The mechanisms are (1) climate change, (2) water scarcity, (3) tropospheric ozone pollution, (4) impending scarcity of phosphorus and conventional oil and (5) the possible interaction between future population displacement, conflict and poor governance. This article concludes that a sustainable improvement in food security requires a radical transformation in society’s approach to the environment, population growth, agricultural re- search and the distribution of rights, opportunities and entitlements.
The WHO asserts that the global food price crisis threatens public health and jeopardizes the health of the most disadvantaged groups such as women, children, the elderly and low-income families. Economic factors play a crucial role and could affect personal nutrition status and health. Economic decision factors such as food price and income do influence people’s food choices. Moreover, food costs are a barrier for low income-families to healthier food choices. Several studies indicate that diet costs are associated with dietary quality and also food safety. Food prices have surged over the past couple of years (2007-9) and raised serious concerns about food security around the world. Rising food prices are having severe impacts on population health and nutritional status. Therefore, people who change their diet pattern for economic reasons may develop a range of nutrition- ally-related disorders and diseases, from so-called over-nutrition to or with under-nutrition even within the one household. This is likely to increase with growing food insecurity. Presently, economics is not integrated with mainstream nutrition science or practice, other than in ‘home economics’, but it can enable greater understanding of how socioeconomic status may interplay with human nutritional status and health and how these situations might be resolved. Collaborative, cross-disciplinary nutritional economics research should play a greater role in the prevention and management of food crises.
This study investigated the association between food insecurity and Taiwanese children’s ambulatory medical care use for treating eighteen disease types linked to endocrine and metabolic disorders, nutrition, immunity, in- fections, asthma, mental health, injury, and poisoning. We used longitudinal data in the Taiwan National Health Insurance scheme (NHI) for 764,526 elementary children, and employed approximate NHI data to construct three indicators imputed to food insecurity: low birth weight status, economic status (poverty versus non- poverty), and time of year (summer break time versus semester time). We compared ambulatory care for these diseases between children with low birth weight and those not, and between children living in poverty and those not. A difference-in-differences method was adopted to examine the potential for a publicly- funded lunch pro- gram to reduce the harmful health effects of food insecurity on poor children. We found that children in poverty were significantly more likely to have ambulatory visits linked with diabetes, inherited disorders of metabolism, iron deficiency anemias, ill-defined symptoms concerning nutrition, metabolism and development, as well as mental disorders. Children with low birth weight also had a significantly higher likelihood of using care for other endocrine disorders and nutritional deficiencies, in addition to the above diseases. The study failed to find any significant effect of the semester school lunch program on alleviating the harmful health effects of food insecu- rity for poor children, suggesting that a more intensive food program or other program approaches might be re- quired to help poor children overcome food insecurity and its related health outcomes.
What, and how much, people eat is a response to their socio-political, socio-economic, socio-environmental and socio-cultural environments. Good nutrition is central to good health. Globally, health has improved for many but not for everyone equally. That food and nutrition-related health is unequally distributed is a marker of socie- tal failure. For some individuals, communities and even nations, it is a matter of not having enough food, of be- ing unable to afford food and there being little nutritious food readily available. For others there is an over abun- dance of food but its nutritional quality is compromised, access to healthy food is poor and cost of food is high relative to other commodities. Human development and poverty reduction in the Asia Pacific region cannot be achieved without improving nutrition in an equitable way. There is no biological reason for the scale of differ- ence in health, including diet-related health that is observed in the Asia Pacific region. That it exists is unethical and inequitable. Asymmetric economic growth, unequal improvements in daily living conditions, unequal distri- bution of technical developments and suppression of human rights have seen health inequities perpetuate and worsen, particularly over the last three decades. Addressing diet-related health inequities requires attention to the underlying structural drivers and inequities in conditions of daily living that disempower individuals, social groups and even nations from the pursuit of good nutrition and health. These are matters of economic and social policy at the global, regional and national level.
Food security requires that all people can access sufficient food for a healthy life. Enough food is produced to feed the global population, but more than 1.02 billion people are malnourished. Malnutrition and chronic food insecurity are widespread in some countries of the Asia-Pacific region; as much as 20 to 60 percent of the region’s population lacks sufficient food to meet their minimum energy requirement. Food security greatly depends on food availability, although this alone is not sufficient to secure satisfactory nutritional status. Food security at the national level re- quires an effective framework of food, health, and economic systems coupled with awareness and consideration of environmental conditions. To improve food availability and security in the short term, lower income countries should focus on increasing productivity in the food system to generate higher incomes for workers on-farm and off- farm in the food chain. Over the long term, sustainable and small-scale farming based on ecologically viable sys- tems should be the emphasis for agricultural development. Nutrition and health sectors should help promote food- based approaches that lead to diversification of crops, balanced diets, and ultimately better health.
Food security plays a central role in governing agricultural policies in Taiwan. In addition to overuse or the ille- gal use of pesticide, meat leanness promoters, animal drugs and melamine in the food supply; as well as food- borne illness draws the greatest public concern due to incidents that occur every year in Taiwan. The present re- port demonstrates the implementation of a food safety control system in Taiwan. In order to control foodborne outbreaks effectively, the central government of the Department of Health of Taiwan launched the food safety control system which includes both the good hygienic practice (GHP) and the HACCP plan, in the last decade. From 1998 to the present, 302 food affiliations that implemented the system have been validated and accredited by a well-established audit system. The implementation of a food safety control system in compliance with in- ternational standards is of crucial importance to ensure complete safety and the high quality of foods, not only for domestic markets, but also for international trade.
People rely on foods to provide energy and nutrients to sustain life and to ensure health. In the entire chain from acquiring foods to ingesting them, women contribute in unique ways to the food system. Although foods or nu- trients requirements for both sexes are biologically similar in many aspects, women go through more complex life-cycles than men and may experience greater risk of nutrient deprivation due to their role to bear and to rear off-spring. Therefore, women and their offspring are particularly vulnerable to food scarcity and to poor dietary quality. On the other hand, the female genome, partly through sex hormones delays the development of many chronic diseases which result from the modern affluent lifestyle. The inherent biological roles of men and women and their socially constructed roles may interact with one another, affecting the health security of each gender, their families, and the well-being of the societies in which they live. Historically and contemporarily, women in general are socially and politically more underprivileged than men. The inequality which women have faced has jeopardized not only their health and that of their female children, but the well-being of all. In devel- oped countries and in more and more developing countries, equal opportunities for education are promoted. Re- cent research indicates that women have a greater tendency than men to engage in healthy behaviours when em- powered with health knowledge. Risky health-related behaviours, including poor food choices, are more often practiced by men and warrant more public health attention.
While improvement in agricultural technology had enabled the production of abundant food, it has thus far failed to eliminate hunger. Malnutrition is expected to reach an all time high. Evidences have suggested that animal based diet has put immense pressure on the already fragile food system, contributing to problems in terms of global food security, health security, and environmental sustainability. Plant based dietary approaches may there- fore, target some of these problems from the roots, and may be a solution to improving ethical issues and equity in the current food system. This paper examines how meat production and consumption contributed to the cur- rent crises in the food system through the lens of ethics – the moral compass – to find directions on how the pre- sent generation should eat, and how the food system could be maintained for a better future.
Recent dramatic increases in food prices in much of the world have caused much concern, and have even re- sulted in some public protests and riots. This is easy to understand given the large percentages of incomes that the poor devote to food purchases. Many commentators have predicted that food supplies in the Asia-Pacific re- gion will become much more limited in the future as the result of population growth, the rapid growth of cities, new food demands by a growing middle class, the impacts of climate change, and the growth of a global food industry. But will these possible shortages of food result in pressures that will destabilise the security situation in the region? Recent work of the whole concept of security has resulted in some redefinition of the term to include issues of human security, but it could also be argued that severe strains on the human security situation could even result in increased instability in the more traditional kind of security regime. The extreme case of North Korea is used as an example of how this might happen. But we really do not know if such dangers are real ones for the region as a whole, and it is suggested that much more research is needed in this area. The whole concept of resilience has been used in some studies elsewhere and this may be useful starting point for new work in this area.
This paper seeks to shed further light on the factors contributing to the emerging global food crisis by examining the reasons for an unusual downturn in dairy food production in Australia, from where 11% of the world trade in dairy foods originates.
Food and health security in North East Asia including South Korea, North Korea, China and Japan was com- pared. Because this region contains countries with many complex problems, it is worthwhile to study the current situation. With about 24% of the world’s population, all North East Asian countries supply between 2400 and 3000 Kcal of energy. Regarding health status, two extreme problems exist. One is malnutrition in North Korea and China and the other is chronic degenerative disease in Japan, South Korea and China. Because quality, quan- tity and safety of the food supply have to be secured for health security, some topics are selected and discussed. 1) World food price can have an effect on food security for countries with a low food self sufficiency rate such as Japan and Korea; specially, for the urban poor. 2) Population aging can increase the number of aged people without food security. An aged population with less income and no support from their off-spring, because of dis- appearing traditional values, may have food insecurity. 3) Population growth and economic growth in this region may worsen food problems. Since a quarter of the world’s population resides in this region, populations will continue to increase. With economic growth, people will consume more animal products. 4) Climate change generates food production problems. As the progress of industry continues, there will be less land for food and more pollutants in the environment. 5) Political instability will cause food insecurity and conflict will cause problems with regard to food aid.
As combined new factors could further complicate the food supply and health security for regional countries, new perspective on human security should be prioritized on securitizing health security in the region. In recent years, food production and supply has been affected by unpredictable climate change and unaccountable man- made factors in the region. With increased pressure from food security issues, personal health and human secu- rity is badly affected. It poses a threat to human security and becomes a concern of all states. In the new era, the pressing reality for all countries is that there is no exception for anyone before a pandemic. Threats to human se- curity become not only a national security issue but also a transnational challenge.
Climate change causes serious food security risk for East Asian countries. The United Nations Framework Con- vention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) has recognized that the climate change will impact agriculture and all nations should prepare adaptations to the impacts on food security. This article reviews the context of adaptation rules and current policy development in East Asian region. The UNFCCC and Kyoto Protocol have established specific rules for countries to develop national or regional adaptation policies and measurements. The current development of the ASEAN Strategic Plan on food security is inspiring, but the commitments to implementation by its members remain an issue of concern. We suggest that the UNFCCC enhances co-operation with the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and other international organizations to further develop methodologies and technologies for all parties. Our findings suggest that agriculture is one of the most vulnerable sectors in terms of risks associated with climate change and distinct programmatic initiatives are necessary. It’s imperative to pro- mote co-operation among multilateral organizations, including the UNFCCC, FAO, World Health Organization, and others.
Health issues occasionally intersect security issues. Health security has been viewed as an essential part of hu- man security. Policymakers and health professionals, however, do not share a common definition of health secu- rity. This article aims to characterize the notions of health security in order to clarify what constitutes the nexus of health and security. The concept of health security has evolved over time so that it encompasses many entities. Analyzing the health reports of four multilateral organizations (the United Nations, World Health Organization, Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, and the European Union) produced eight categories of most significant relevance to contemporary health security, allowing comparison of the definitions. The four categories are: emerging diseases; global infectious disease; deliberate release of chemical and biological materials; violence, conflict, and humanitarian emergencies. Two other categories of common concern are natural disasters and environmental change, as well as chemical and radioactive accidents. The final two categories, food insecurity and poverty, are discussed less frequently. Nevertheless, food security is emerging as an increasingly important issue in public health. Health security is the first line of defence against health emergencies. As globalization brings more complexities, dealing with the increased scale and extent of health security will require greater in- ternational effort and political support.
Food security is an important element in the multi-factorial systems analysis of health and well being. The inter- action between food supply and other important factors making up the system can shed light on individual and population health. A critical analysis of the health system must also include consideration of disparity in food se- curity since it represents one of the most dramatic indicators of economic and health inequality. A large fraction of the world’s population -- particularly in Sub-Saharan Africa and in South East Asia -- is chronically hungry. Distributing food commodities alone does not appear to significantly reduce global food insecurity. In addition, promoting agricultural development, economic growth, and education assistance is needed in order to mitigate the underlying causes of chronic hunger, and in turn improve health and well being.
The advent of multiple global crises, especially those of climate change, economics, energy, water, food and health evident in 2008, is of considerable moment to those who are suffering their consequences and for those with responsibility and interest in the systems affected. A coalition of parties in the Asia Pacific Region who work in the food and health systems met in August, 2009 in Taiwan and instigated a Food in Health Security (FIHS) Network which might join with other like-minded networks in and beyond the region. Sustainable health has many dimensions, among which food and nutrition is often neglected; there is a wide spectrum of nutrition- ally-related disorders. Malnutrition remains the global concern for agricultural research and development scien- tists and linkage with the health sector is key to progress. The disconnect between agricultural and health sectors negatively impacts consumer nutrition and health. Ethical and equity affect food and health systems. Food and health security is attainable only when the underlying social inequities are addressed; it is an ethical issue as re- flected in the UN Universal declaration of Human Rights which includes the right to food for health and well- being. Food and health security are part of the larger security agenda and merit corresponding attention. Policy recommendations with immediacy are greater investment in combined food and health research; an Asia Pacific security agenda which emphasizes planetary, human, health and food security as relevant to traditional defence security; and community and household security measures which include maternal literacy, communication tech- nology and entrepreneurial opportunity.
Land and its role in human and planetary affairs is a per- ennial, inescapable and growing dilemma. Of all of the ways this may tax our ingenuity, morality and anthropo- genicity, its place in human development through pov- erty and hunger alleviation and the quest for equity ,with due regard to sustainability, must be paramount. Land reform to reduce poverty and gross inequality is the main goal that Michael Lipton addresses in his new book. In so doing it confronts the first and foremost of the United Nations System’s MDGs (Millennium Development Goals) to ‘Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger’ by 2015 which, on present record, is unlikely to even halve the numbers of poor and hungry.
Lipton’s work is extraordinary for its coverage, depth and analysis and unquestionably the most authoritative treatise on land reform available. But it is more than that since it requires the reader to consider what attaches us to land as home, food source, livelihood and ecological niche. It is clear that there are many different situations in which reform is needed, and that the feasibility of doing so is dependent on many factors ranging from perceived value , to the nature of ownership and tenure, the histori- cal, contemporary and prospective socio-cultural milieu , the systems of governance available and the political situation. All of these are dealt with in sufficient detail to allow the arguments for the merits of different approaches to be understood and evaluated. For example, the debate about small land-holdings and larger agribusinesses, for food production, is clarified when systematic identifica- tion, inter alia, of local resources and needs and of effi- ciencies and overall productivity occurs and allows the best negotiated ‘fit’ in the circumstances. The book is by no means prescriptive, but provides analytical frame- works and tools for policy-makers.
What is also impressive is the extent of information about particular localities, be they in Africa, South, South-East or North-East Asia, Meso or South America., Russia or Eastern Europe. This means that it is possible to reflect on changing systems of land usage and tenure in regard to food and human security.
Of particular value is the interest the author displays in the role of science and technology in land reform. Can there be another green revolution or will the next techno- logical step towards food security require a ‘blue revolu- tion’ where irrigation is far more water efficient and food
There are several major emerging or re-emerging chal- lenges to land equity. First, there is that of the competing pressures on arable land for ‘development’ for housing, industry, recreation, fuel production (biofuels), mining and even biopharmaceuticals. Then there is the growing food insecurity of the Middle East, India and China be- cause of greater unmet expectations with affluence and because of limited water. There are the ‘land grabs’ by increasingly more prosperous, but more food insecure countries, of land in poor and poorly governed countries. There are rising food prices because of and as well as those of energy, fertilisers and water; together with finan- cial systems which are speculative and fragile.
Perhaps most threatening of all is that populations will need to move from heretofore food productive areas to new areas because of rising sea levels or the increasing inhospitability of mountainous areas with more torrential rain, mud and rock slides, and loss of traditional land. Taiwan is an example of where land tenure is under threat for both climate change reasons and where fish stocks for a high per capita fish-eating population are threatened both by unsustainable aquaculture (excessive ground- water usage or more frequent typhoons) and less edible fish species with rising ocean or Taiwan Straits’ tempera- tures. The legacy of contaminated arable land from rapid industrialisation in recent history compounds the problem. Curiously, Taiwan has also been a major player in open- ing up a new kind of real estate, that of cyberspace, but its ability to meet the needs met by land which is now shrinking is questionable, unless by some new intelli- gence!
Not only is the changing competition for land a source of conflict, but, as “Land Reform in Developing Coun- tries” shows, reform itself may generate conflict. It will increasingly be a joint resource contest about land, water, energy and minerals. It is worth noting that the fertilisers, along with plant breeding, which drove the green revolu- tion, nitrogen from the petrochemical industry as urea and phosphorus are no longer inexhaustible. As a matter of fact, global phosphorus supplies, on which all life de- pends, are already scarce and its price is a significant con- tributor to food prices.
These shifting paradigms in land reform are canvassed to varying extents by Michael Lipton. By assimilating his insights, his readers may be able to grapple more effec- tively with one of the most important matters of our time, land reform
By Mark L Wahlqvist
With a global economic crisis, undernourished peoples in South East Asia, as elsewhere, face even greater food insecurity. Future challenges to food availability include increasing food prices, increasing population size and climate change. National policies are required which emphasise improved intersectoral coordination, enhanced government credibility and accountability, as well as a shift in food aid to investment in agriculture and the em- powerment of independent institutions.
The food security issue was addressed by the development of “modern agriculture” in the last century. But food safety issues and environment degradation were the consequences suffered as a result. Climate change has been recognized as the result of release of stored energy in fossil fuel into the atmosphere. Homogeneous crop varie- ties, machinery, pesticides and fertilizers are the foundation of uniform commodities in modern agriculture. Fos- sil fuels are used to manufacture fertilizers and pesticides as well as the energy source for agricultural machinery, thus characterizes modern agriculture. Bio-fuel production and the possibility of the agriculture system as a form of energy input are discussed.
Water is vital to food production: every calorie of plant food requires at least one litre of water, while one calorie of meat or dairy product can require up to 10 litres of water. Water is supplied either through rainfall or through irrigation. Irrigated agriculture uses 18 per cent of agricultural land, and produces 40 per cent of agricultural products. But urbanisation, agricultural land degradation, the mandating of biofuels, drought and climate change are reducing the amount of water available to agriculture. The green revolution of last century doubled cereal production with only a very small increase in land. This century we need a blue revolution, a dramatic increase in the amount of food produced from irrigation or blue water. The blue revolution must be based on knowledge, with that knowledge accessible, and useful, to farmers in both the developed and developing world.
The Asia-Pacific region was on track to achieve the Millennium Development Goal of halving the prevalence of extreme poverty by 2015, but recent dramatic rises in the price of rice and other staples have pushed millions of people back into hunger and poverty. This indicates that the region’s food supply system is more fragile and im- balanced than what was previously believed. Proximate causes of the rise in staple prices can be found in market forces such as export restrictions and rising energy prices but the ultimate causes are policies that have led to un- der-investment in agricultural research and emergency mitigation. Large numbers of people in the Asia-Pacific were already undernourished prior to the recent price rises, relying on monotonous diets dominated by a few sta- ples. Pushed into reducing their dietary diversity even further, many more millions are now suffering from hun- ger and deteriorating health. The most fundamental food crisis in the Asia-Pacific is one of poor diets, and this affects the obese just as much as the undernourished. The solution lies in a food system that focuses on produc- ing balanced diets, developing safe production practices, increasing food supplies by reducing losses, and invest- ing in the research that make it all happen. Improving food systems is a fundamental community expectation and can be a matter of government survival, but if the urgency to improve food supplies overrides improving diets, the long-term impact on national health will be severe. Proactive policies, regional responses, and more inte- grated scientific approaches are needed.
Soil is a basic natural resource for food production, the vast majority of food we consume is either directly or in- directly derived from soil. Soil quality determines the quantity (calories) and quality (nutritional value and safety) of the foods grown. Protecting the soil’s physical, chemical and biological integrity is therefore of vital impor- tance in safeguarding global food security. Soil science, as a discipline, will contribute to new knowledge related to soil quality and its sustainable management. However, soil scientists are not alone in securing the global food production system, instead they shall work with environmental engineers, agronomists, nutritionists, animal sci- entists and social scientists in developing integrative approaches to soil conservation, material cycling and envi- ronmental protection.
Food security is an important issue that is of concern for all countries around the world. There are many factors which may cause food insecurity including increasing demand, shortage of supply, trade condition, another countries’ food policy, lack of money, high food- and oil prices, decelerating productivity, speculation, etc. The food self-sufficiency ratio of Taiwan is only 30.6% weighted by energy in 2007. Total agriculture imports and cereals have increased significantly due to the expansion of livestock and fishery industries and improve living standard. The agriculture sector of Taiwan is facing many challenges, such as: low level of food self-sufficiency, aging farmers, large acreage of set-aside farmlands, small scale farming, soaring price of fertilizers, natural dis- asters accelerated by climate change, and rapid changes in the world food economy. To cope with these chal- lenges, the present agricultural policy is based on three guidelines: “Healthfulness, Efficiency, and Sustainabil- ity.” A program entitled “Turning Small Landlords into Large Tenants” was launched to make effective use of idle lands. Facing globalization and the food crisis, Taiwan will secure stable food supply through revitalization of its set-aside farmlands and international markets, and provide technical assistance to developing countries, in particular for staple food crops.