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How does agriculture contribute to food security? | WURcast

What I want to talk to you about won’t take
long, but it is important. I want to talk about two words we use a lot
when we talk about food access. These words are agriculture and food. Often food and agriculture are used to describe
the same thing, but they are different. Food refers to the products that humans eat. Agriculture refers to the practice of farming,
including cultivation of the soil for the growing of crops and the rearing of animals
to provide food, but also other products. So when we talk about agriculture, we include many
non-food commodities like feed for animals, biofuels, and fibres, like cotton. I think it’s also important to recognize that a lot
of the foods people eat come from non-agricultural sources, like fishing, pastoralism, and foraging. FAO data, for example, found that fish provide
over 3 billion people at least 15 percent of their average animal protein intake per
year. So let’s think about what this means in the context
of two different views on how food security could best be advanced: should food be primarily seen as an economic good, or as a social good? When we look at food as an economic good,
agriculture is put central because if we can increase yields, we can increase income and increased income leads to improved access to food. On the other hand, those that argue that food
should be seen, first and foremost, as a social good, or as a right, argue that food and nutrition
are the cornerstone of development and access to food, and control of local food systems need to be secured before focus turns to economic development: the priority is feeding
yourself first and what is left can be fed to the markets So, what do you think? When we talk about food access at the international
level, should we be talking about food and trade, or should we be talking about agriculture
and trade? Or both? Let’s discuss.

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