Food Security and Self-Sufficiency as a Basis for National Security and Sovereignty: Evidence From Russia

Food Security and Self-Sufficiency as a Basis for National Security and Sovereignty: Evidence From Russia

Kirill Zemliak (Khabarovsk State University of Economics and Law, Russia), Anna Zhebo (Khabarovsk State University of Economics and Law, Russia) and Aleksey Aleshkov (Khabarovsk State University of Economics and Law, Russia)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-1042-1.ch017
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The study discusses one of the global problems of mankind—ensuring food security for the population. The historical context of the food problem, the formation of the concept of food security, the approaches of the world community and individual countries to its provision and evaluation are considered. The case of Russia reveals the role of food security in ensuring economic, social, and political security and sovereignty of a state. Special attention is paid to the state of agriculture in Russia as a source of raw materials for ensuring food security, problems of its development, and ways to solve them. The place of Russia in ensuring the food security of the world is shown.
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Food problem has a global relevance. It is caused by the mismatch between the growing demand of the population for food products and the capacities of agricultural production. The food problem is multidimensional as it combines the following aspects:

  • Hunger and malnutrition

  • Structure and quality of food

  • Health status of population

  • Food supplies

  • Irregularity in the distribution of food

  • Balance between food supply and population needs

  • Food prices

Food problem is characterized by increasing severity at the national and global levels. As a result of the significant increase in world prices for major crops and food products, global status of food security deteriorated during the economic crisis in 2008. That fact was stated by international organizations as the onset of the world food crisis. The impact of this crisis has seriously affected low-income countries. These countries are net food importers in international trade (Mintusov, 2016).

The main causes of food shortages in the world are:

  • High level of energy intensity of agro-industrial production, which was especially evident in developed countries, major food exporters

  • Growing production of biofuels from oilseeds and grain

  • Rapid industrial development and consumption growth in China and India

  • Growth of intensity in use of natural resources, in a number of regions it reaches the lowest level

  • Reduction of agricultural acreage as a result of urbanization and industrialization

  • Growth of environmental pollution due to the growth of industrial waste, pesticides, and fertilizers

  • Impact of global warming that caused a series of crop failures

  • Growth of stocks under the influence of speculative turnover in the world market of food products, the increase in the volume of fixed-term insurance and speculative operations (Mintusov, 2016)

Hunger and malnutrition are linked primarily to local poor production conditions, war and civil strife, poverty and, therefore, to economic inaccessibility of food products. In addition, global climate change and extreme climate events are among the main causes of serious food crises (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), 2018b).

Over the past few decades, the world has made some progress in addressing food security problem. In particular, there is a steady decline in the number of undernourished people. Globally, it is up to 820.8 million people (10.9% of the world population). In Russia, it is up to 3.6 million people (2.5% of population of the country) (FAO, 2018a).

Along with the global problem of hunger, there is a problem of overweight. In 2016, the number of people with obesity in the world amounted to 672.3 million people (13.2% of the world population), in Russia – 29.3 million people (25.7% of the population of the country) (FAO, 2018b). In addition to the above, obesity is found among people in the regions where people experience malnutrition. This can be explained by the imbalance in the diets, the lack in a number of nutrients and biologically active substances. Thus, about 2 billion people in Russia experience a deficit of one or more minor-nutrient elements (FAO, 2013). In particular, 14.1% of children in Russia are deficient in vitamin A, while 11.7% of adults are deficient in zinc (FAO, 2015a; FAO, 2016). The increase in the prevalence of obesity in some regions is associated with an increase in per capita income and purchasing power for higher-calorie food products in combination with less active lifestyles of people (FAO, 2016). It is rather relevant for other regions with low income and consumption of cheap products with a high content of fat and sugar.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Utilization: A utilization of food through adequate diet, clean water, sanitation, and health care to reach a state of nutritional well-being where all physiological needs are met. This brings out the importance of non-food inputs in food security.

Food Safety: An availability of safe and quality food products on the domestic market.

Food Access: An access by individuals to adequate resources (entitlements) for acquiring appropriate foods for a nutritious diet. Entitlements are defined as the set of all commodity bundles over which a person can establish command given the legal, political, economic and social arrangements of the community in which they live (including traditional rights such as access to common resources).

Stability: To be food secure, a population, household or individual must have access to adequate food at all times. They should not risk losing access to food as a consequence of sudden shocks (e.g. an economic or climatic crisis) or cyclical events (e.g. seasonal food insecurity). The concept of stability can, therefore, refer to both the availability and access dimensions of food security.

Food Availability: An availability of sufficient quantities of food of appropriate quality, supplied through domestic production or imports (including food aid).

Food Independence: A sustainable domestic food production in the volumes not less than the established threshold levels of its share in the commodity resources of the domestic market of relevant products.

Food Self-Sufficiency: A state of the economy which ensures food independence of a country, guarantees physical and economic accessibility for every citizen of the country of food products that meet the requirements of technical regulations, in amounts not less than rational food consumption standards necessary for active and healthy lifestyle.

Food Security: A situation where all people are provided with a permanent physical, social and economic access to a sufficient amount of safe and nutritious food that satisfies their nutritional needs and taste preferences for maintaining an active and healthy lifestyle.

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