The Development Tragedy – How Donor Aid Priorities and Land Use Policies Threaten Food Security

British Prime Minister David Cameron recently announced a Hunger Summit to coincide with the Olympic Games. The Summit was announced after the May G8 meeting where eight of the nations pledged to speed up progress on combating hunger and malnutrition and the recent announcement by United States President Barack Obama which launched the new alliance for food security and nutrition.

Prime Minister Cameron has announced that the Summit will focus on “how good governance and private sector investment can help improve access to food and nutrition”.

The British Government policies are emblematic of aid and food security policies being adopted by developed nation donors. The contradictions and flaws contained in British policy are replicated in policies across Western nations.

The recent spike in food prices has caused greater hardship across the developing world than the recent global financial crisis and demands a response which addresses the underlying concerns of volatile food prices and lack of access to food supplies.

However, the Conservative Cameron Government is ignoring the fact that the only long-term solution to the global food security crisis is economic growth. The core cause of failing food security is lack of income to purchase food. Agriculture is widely recognised as the most efficient and effective industry for promoting economic growth in developing nations. Yet, the Cameron Government continues to push an agenda which includes the cessation by developing nations, particularly those in the tropics, of conversion of forest land.

The Cameron Government has actively worked against those nations that wish to expand their agricultural sector on forest land by refusing to provide foreign aid for agricultural projects on converted land, working with companies to dissuade consumers from buying produce grown on converted land and finally by refusing to consider a global response to the food security issue which includes expansion of agricultural production on forest land.

In short, the Cameron Government’s policies actively constrain developing nations from growing their agricultural sector onto converted land. This policy will have detrimental outcomes for global food security in the future.

This report examines the failure of these Western aid policies.


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