Against food security: On forms of care and fields of violence

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This paper addresses recent changes to the policy landscape on global food security. It argues that a new consensus is emerging on how to tackle (or more hubristically ‘end’) global hunger and spur agricultural development. The consensus I speak of is evident in recent briefings by the World Economic Forum (especially its ‘New Vision for Agriculture’), the ‘New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition,’ initiated by the G-8 (now G-7), the Grow Africa network, the US government’s ‘Feed the Future’ programme, the philanthropy-led, Alliance for Green Revolution in Africa, not to mention the many flagship reports emanating from the International Financial Institutions as well key statements from global food retailers and leading agribusinesses. The paper argues that this ‘new vision’ for global agriculture is deeply problematic. Indeed the projected ‘solutions’ – in so far as they aim to radically transform agricultural life, especially in Africa – may well cause more harm than good. To put this argument more forcefully: what today is commonly called ‘food security’ is perhaps better seen as a way of subjugating the poor under the pretence of doing them good.

food security, poverty, development, philanthropy, green revolution
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Global Society
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Informa UK Limited
Leverhulme Trust (unknown)
I wish to acknowledge the generous support provided by a Philip Leverhulme Prize which enabled me to complete the research presented in this paper.