‘Feeding 9 Billion People’: Global Food Security Debates and the Productionist Trap

  • Citation: Fouilleux, Eve, Nicolas Bricas, and Arlène Alpha. “‘Feeding 9 BILLION People’: Global Food Security Debates and THE PRODUCTIONIST Trap.” Journal of European Public Policy 24, no. 11 (2017): 1658–77.
    • Topics:
    • Global Development
    • Keywords:
    • global food security
    • trans-national corporations
    • global policy
    • productionism
    • productivism
    • Committee on World Food Security
    • Food and Agriculture Organization

Food security, a long-established item on the international agenda, raises many issues including production, consumption, poverty, inequalities, healthcare and conflicts. However, in 2007/2008 the global food security debate was relaunched with a single dominant focus which continues to the present day: increasing agricultural production. This paper explains this productionist bias – which may translate into inadequate policies – by combining insights from institutionalist and cognitive analyses. We show that, despite recent reforms, the global food security field remains dominated by macro- and micro-institutions that put food availability and agricultural production at the heart of the problem and solutions. The political and discursive strategies developed by transnational corporations and private foundations to promote their productivist interests are also key, along with the demands of dominant farmers’ unions in exporting countries. Although advocating opposite development patterns, civil society actors implicitly reinforce the productionist perspective through their focus on family agriculture.

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