At the most basic level, food security refers to the availability of food and the individual’s ability to access food. The term food security originated in the 1970s in reference to food supply, focusing on the availability and affordability of food-stuffs at the international and national level. Since then, a multidimensional concept of food security has evolved that places agency and sustainability, alongside availability, access, utilisation and stability as core conceptual dimensions and legal understandings of the right to food.
Research connecting food security and the urban at SLU has a geographic focus (e.g. from low-income countries to Swedish and high-income countries) and a spatial focus (e.g. rural vs. urban agriculture and food systems). Research at SLU addresses food security in relation to environmental challenges (e.g. climate change and resource scarcity), social challenges (e.g. nutrition, poverty, inequality, conflict) and economic aspects (e.g. food supply and productivity, international trade, small-holder farmer’s inclusion in value-chains, etc.). For example, the capacity building programme Agriculture, nutrition and food security (in Mozambique) looks at aspects of food technology and safety, as well as poverty and agroforestry in relation to food security. Similarly, the capacity building programmes Sustainable intensification of maize-based cropping systems (Uganda) and Sida’s research partnership training programme (Rwanda), demonstrate the diversity of food security as a concept, investigating sustainable intensification and agricultural commodity market, food prices and policy respectively.
Assem Abou Hatab, Associate Professor, Department of Economics.