SUST 2001 - Module 2 Food

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SUST 2001 - Module 2 Food
2013-04-14 18:24:22

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  1. What are the MDGs?
    What is its significance to food?
    8 goals set by the UN to be met by 2015

    • Aims to reduce world hunger from 20% to 10% by 2020 (Currently
    • at 14%)
  2. What is the current situation of hunger and its distribution?
    • The FAO estimates that about 950 million people are going
    • hungry worldwide

    • However, the hunger is unevenly distributed into Asia and
    • Sub-Saharan Africa.

    • Food production is at the highest it has ever been with 3000
    • calories being produced per person
  3. Why does hunger still exist when the world is theoretically producing enough?
    Need perspective of 

    -Food as a commodity

    -Terms and conditions by which food is produced

    -Who gets what – winners and losers
  4. What is a “Food Regime”?
    Concept popularized by Phil McMichel and Harriet Freidman

    • -Rule governed structure of production and consumption of
    • food on a world scale

    • -Tool for understanding political-economical forces that
    • shape food’s production/trade/consumption

    • -Implicit rules that define global food production and
    • consumption at a particular historical juncture
  5. What influenced/characterized the Colonial Food Regime?
    -Increased demand for exotic products such as sugar and coffee from Europe put a lot of pressure on colonies to produce more – resulted in plantations and the first monoculture

    This was almost cyclical as demand increased, price increased, and plantations increased

    • -This was facilitated by the triangle trade network that existed at the time
    • (Europe/Goods Consumer -->
    • Africa/Slaves producer -->
    • Caribbean/Slave Consumer/Goods producer)
  6. What influenced/characterized the Cold War Food Regime?
    -Framed by the ideological conflict between America and Russia

    Thriving American consumerism drove more expansion of agriculture

    -Export driven agriculture

    -Facilitated by the oil crisis of the 1970s – the global south was desperately in debt

    This brought about the Structural Adjustment Programs that gave loans to countries on the condition that the nation would commit to directing its agriculture for export.

    -Food aid was used as a political weapon where each side supplied food for countries that shared its ideologies
  7. What influenced/characterized the Present/Corporate Food Regime?
    • The current regime is heavily influenced by the previous regimes
    • 1.    Petro Farming –herbicides, pesticides, fertilizers
    • Favors monoculture and mechanization
    • Food is heavily dependent on the price of oil

    • 2.    Corporatizationof Food
    • 40% trade in food is controlled by select
    • group of agri-businesses
    • Syenta, Dupont, and Monsanto are the 3
    • largest seed companies

    3.    Displacement

    Small scale farming is at a disadvantage, famers lose land to corporations
  8. How does the WTO influence food?
    Framework for negotiating and formalizing trade agreements between countries. Goal is to implement open trade for the benefit of all

    However, it is criticized to be dominated by industrialized countries and for accelerating the global capitalist economy which increases the gap in income inequality
  9. How does the FAO govern food?
    The FAO’s mandate is to raise levels of nutrition, improve agri productivity, better lives of rural peoples, and contribute to the world economy – Fiat Panis – let there be bread

    It reports on sharing expertise, meetings, and fieldwork

    Criticisms are that it is an inefficient beaurocracy that is pro industry and focuses on bio-industry agriculture.
  10. What are the management challenges for fisheries?
    High uncertainty

    • Stock assessments are based on catches
    • -->leads to problems for fish that we don’t count such as sharks

    Illegal, unreported, unregulated fishing
  11. What are RFMOs ?
    Regional Fisheries Management Organizations

    International organizations set up to manage fisheries in international waters and/or high seas

    Can focus on single species or have a wider geographic focus


    However, these organizations manage resources for maximum gain rather than conservation
  12. Who was Amartya Sen and what were his ideas
    • Indian economist (won Nobel Prize for Economics in 1988)
    • He grew up during the Bengal Famine in India (1943) where a famine occurred despite increasing levels of food production
    • Cause --> vulnerable groups couldn't access food - declining wages, rising prices, poor distribution, and negligence

    Essay - Poverty and Famines: An Essay on Entitlement and Deprivation (1981)

    • Famine is not caused by a lack of food but a lack/inequality of access
    • Established idea of Entitlements
    • --> ability to procure or obtain food
    • Famine is a loss of entitlements
  13. Explain Land Grabs, Who are the buyers and who are the suppliers?
    The purchase or lease of vast tracts of land by wealthier, food insecure nations and private investors from mostly poor, developing countries in order to produce crops for export

    • First deal was reported in 2006 
    • May have been influenced by the 2008 food price spike

    • The Good
    • -A win/win situation where buyers increase food security and sellers gain investment, new technology, and jobs
    • -Closes yield gaps
    • It is supported by the WTO, WB, and FAO

    • The Bad
    • -Right to land is compromised and sometimes land is owned through an honor system
    • -Displacement of small farmers for large scale monoculture (10,000 evicted in Mali without compensation)
    • - Access to local foods --> a shift from domestic to foreign control, many of the seller countries still rely on food aid
    • -Transparency --> it is a very secretive process and even the World Bank is unable to gather direct data

    Buyers tend to be developed countries with little areas for agriculture (South Korea, Middle East, Japan, China)

    Sellers tend to be developing countries in need of money (Subsaharan Africa)