The World Food Summit held in Rome in 1996, adopted the concept of food security defined along three dimensions (i) physical availability of food, (ii) economic and physical access to food, and (iii) utilization (a nutritional concern) of food. Often referred to as the fourth dimension, stability is considered implicit and necessary for achieving the first three. Ensuring stability in terms of availability, access and utilization of food has long been a central concern for national governments, and more recently global multilateral institutions concerned with food and agriculture.
There are many paths to ensure food stability for countries. International food markets and trade have been considered as one of the most efficient ways for centuries. Similarly, pursuing self-sufficiency policies and ensuring the production of all required food within the country has been another strategy of choice. However, neither has proved to be successful or efficient, all of the time, in the past.
Of late, especially in the aftermath of the world food (price) crisis in 2007/2008 and 2011 when the international food markets were extremely volatile, governments have been revisiting one of the oldest strategies to ensure greater stability – that of maintaining food stockpiles. Countries which have adequate food stocks can weather global food price shocks, local supply shocks from failed harvests, income shocks (from economic downturns or exchange rate shocks), disruptions in trade due to export bans, as well as during times of emergencies and calamities. As to what extent and how stockpiling can help build resilience and allow for a more robust food system continues to be debated globally.
This RSIS policy brief, based on intensive field studies in South and Southeast Asia and extensive literature review, aims to highlight some of the issues on stockpiling of food and offers some views on the policy implications of pursuing such a strategy.
About the Authors
Mely Caballero-Anthony is Associate Professor and Head of the Centre for Non-Traditional Security (NTS) Studies at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. She previously served as the Director of External Relations at the ASEAN Secretariat and currently serves in the UN Secretary-General’s Advisory Board on Disarmament Matters and Security. She is also Secretary-General of the Consortium of Non-Traditional Security Studies in Asia (NTS-Asia) and is a member of the World Economic Forum (WEF) Global Agenda Council on Conflict Prevention.
Assoc Prof Caballero-Anthony’s research interests include regionalism and regional security in the Asia Pacific, multilateral security cooperation, politics and international relations in ASEAN, conflict prevention and management, as well as human security. She has published extensively in peer-reviewed journals on a broad range of security issues in the Asia Pacific. Her latest publications, both single-authored and co-edited, include: “Community Security: Human Security at 21” (Contemporary Politics, 2015), “Understanding ASEAN Centrality” (Pacific Review, 2014), “Human Security in ASEAN: 20 Years On” (Asian Journal of Peacebuilding, 2014), Non-Traditional Security in Asia: Issues, Challenges and Framework for Action (ISEAS, 2013), Human Security and Climate Change in Southeast Asia: Managing Risk and Resilience (Routledge, 2013), “The Responsibility to Protect in Southeast Asia: Opening Up Spaces for Advancing Human Security” (Pacific Review, 2012), Energy and Non-Traditional Security (NTS) in Asia (Springer, 2012), and Rethinking Energy Security in Asia: A Non-Traditional View of Human Security (Springer, 2012).
Paul P. S. Teng is Principal Officer at the National Institute of Education (NIE); and Senior Fellow (Food Security) at the Centre for Non-Traditional Security Studies, S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), Nanyang Technological University. Prof Teng received his PhD from the University of Canterbury, New Zealand. He did post-doctoral work at the Agricultural University, Wageningen, The Netherlands, under a Visiting Fellowship awarded by the Netherlands Government and has attended many short courses on management development and science communication. He has served as Dean, Office of Graduate Studies & Professional Learning from 1 November 2006 to 2014 and was also Head, Natural Sciences and Science Education (NSSE) Academic Group from 2004 to 2006.
Professor Teng has over 20 years of experience on food security issues, having held positions at the WorldFish Center, Malaysia; the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI); and Monsanto Company. He has extensively researched the role of plant diseases in causing epidemics and crop losses in several continents, working cooperatively with a network of national programme scientists. The work has led to over 250 journal papers, eight books and numerous conference papers, and recognition by peer organisations. His pioneering work on using system analysis and computer modelling techniques to quantify and predict biological phenomena, and conduct risk assessments, is still having impact today in the USA and Asian rice growing countries. More recently, he has devoted his time to researching science communication and science entrepreneurship, under the umbrella of “Innovation and Enterprise” and to meet the needs of new economies. Prof Teng has won awards such as the Jakob Eriksson Prize in Plant Pathology in 1987, given by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences every five years to a scientist who has made significant contributions to solving plant disease problems affecting developing countries. He is a Fellow of the Third World Academy of Sciences and the American Phytopathological Society, and was co-recipient of the 2001 CGIAR Excellence in Science Award for Outstanding Scientific Article. He has also been cited in the 1996-1997 ‘Marquis Who’s Who’ in Science and Engineering.
Maxim Shrestha is Associate Research Fellow with the Centre for Non-Traditional Security (NTS) Studies, S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), Nanyang Technological University (NTU), Singapore. His research centres on food and agriculture policies in Asia and global food security issues. Maxim holds an MSc in International Political Economy from RSIS, NTU and a Bachelor’s Degree in History from the National University of Singapore (NUS). Prior to joining the NTS Centre, Maxim has worked in the field of academic publishing and journalism.
Tamara Nair is Research Fellow at the Centre for Non-Traditional Security (NTS) Studies, S. Rajaratanam School of International Studies (RSIS), Nanyang Technological Univeristy (NTU), Singapore, where she works primarily on food security but is also involved in migration, gender and development issues in the region. With a background in Political Science and Geography from the National University of Singapore, she also has a Graduate Diploma in Education from the National Institute of Education in Singapore. Tamara has a Masters in Environmental Management, a Graduate Diploma in Arts Research and a PhD in Development Studies from the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia. Before joining the Centre for NTS Studies, she was involved in an international project looking at climate change and ‘cultures of resilience’ focussing on major waterways and communities (in Asia, Australia and the U.S.) in relation to their adaptation mechanisms in the face of climate change. She also served as co-editor for a proposed special edition volume of the International Journal of Water Governance. Tamara has taught in private and government schools in Singapore prior to her postgraduate studies.
Jonatan A. Lassa is Research Fellow with the Centre for Non-Traditional Security (NTS) Studies, S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), Nanyang Technological University (NTU), Singapore, where he researches on climate change, food security and (environmental) risk governance issues. Jonatan holds a PhD from the Faculty of Agriculture at the University of Bonn, Germany, and has studied Social Science and Interdisciplinarity at the Center for Development Research (ZEF) at the Univeristy of Bonn. He also has an MSc in environment and International Development from the University of East Anglia, U.K. Prior to joining the Centre for NTS Studies, Jonatan was senior research fellow with the Institute of Resource Governance and Social Change (IRGSC). He has also previously served as a PhD researcher with the United Nations University Institute for Environment and Human Security in Bonn (2007-2010) and as an Indonesian post-doctoral fellow at Ash Center, Harvard Kennedy School (2011). In his professional career, he has also worked with the UN, international NGOs and the private sector.
East Asia and Asia Pacific / Non-Traditional Security / Policy Reports / South Asia / Southeast Asia and ASEAN
Last updated on 02/06/2016