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Food Insecurity

Christopher B. Barrett and Erin C. Lentz


Subject International Studies » Global Development Studies

Key-Topics aid, human security, hunger, poverty

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781444336597.2010.x


Extract

Comment on this article   Food security is inherently unobservable and difficult to define, but both intrinsically and instrumentally important. Humans have a physiological need for the nutrients supplied by food. Food is therefore a crucial input into performance and well-being. Many development programs, projects, and policies therefore include food security objectives. But food is also a source of pleasure apart from its physiological necessity. Since both biological needs for food and psychic satisfaction from food vary markedly among and within populations, it is difficult to pin down precise, operationalizable measures of food security. Moreover, the concept of food security encompasses more than current nutritional status, capturing as well vulnerability to future disruptions in one's access to adequate and appropriate food ( Barrett 2002 ). This forward-looking, uncertainty-based dimension of food security adds further complexity to the concept. This complexity has given rise to scores, if not hundreds, of different definitions of the term “food security.” Definitions have evolved with thinking about the proximate manifestations and direct and indirect causes and consequences of “food insecurity,” the complement to “food security.” But there remains much variation and imprecision in these terms as used in practice. The current prevailing definition of food security, agreed ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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