Issues in Global Food Politics and Options for Sustainable Food Consumption: A Critical Perspective

Issues in Global Food Politics and Options for Sustainable Food Consumption: A Critical Perspective

Luke Amadi (Centre for Conflict and Gender Studies, Nigeria)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-0125-2.ch001
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This chapter reviews key issues in global food politics. The aim is to investigate the character and trajectories of the prevailing food system in the liberal international order and, in particular, explore implications of global food politics on sustainable food consumption. Dominant theorizations of food consumption leverage on a common assumption of its essentially profit-oriented character based on the capitalist appropriation, social construction of consumption, and value augmentation leaving behind the more pressing problem of sustainability.
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In 2000, world leaders joined the United Nations in committing to meet eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)by 2015: the first of which was “to eradicate extreme poverty and hunger.” In 2015, world leaders adopted a post 2015 development agenda namely the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Goal 2 of the SDGs is to “end hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture” by 2030. Despite these robust initiatives, “an average person in North America consumes~ almost 20 times as much as a person in India or China, and 60 to 70 times more than a person in Bangladesh. It is simply impossible for the world as a whole to sustain a Western level of consumption for all’(Brundtland, 1987). Similarly, the Worldwatch Institute (2004) posits that the ever increasing consumption rate of the societies of the North are unsustainable both in terms of natural environment and in relation to the South-the 2.8 billion people are unable to meet many of their basic needs, people who subsist on less than $2 a day.

Consequently, food consumption disparity has among others resulted in ‘global food politics’ debate. Prevailing dynamics of global food politics have led to recent scholarly interest to promote sustainable food consumption and food security in order to remedy some of the fundamental problems associated with inequitable food resource use, access, power and control. FAO(2017)reports that the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the UN Decade of Action on Nutrition 2016–2025 call on all countries and stakeholders to act together to end hunger and prevent all forms of malnutrition by 2030.

Key Terms in this Chapter

GATT: General agreement on tariffs and trade.

FAO: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.

Capitalist Consumption: A pattern of consumption informed by profit motives.

SC: Sustainable Consumption is consumption that meets the needs of the present and future generation without tainting the environment.

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