Order Description

-2000 words

Topic:  Global  Food Security: How best to feed the world?

Can you think of any
other perspectives?

Perspective: Christian
•  What belief is held by
this group?
•  What resolution would
they opt for?
•  Who would benefit?
Perspective :  Those who  call for change in
diet and attitude
•  What belief is held by this group?
•  What resolution would they opt for?
•  Who would  benefit?

Perspective: Multinational agribusinesses
•  What belief is held by this group?
•  What resolution would they opt for?
•  Who would benefit?

Perspective:   Science, research and
•  What belief is held by this group?
•  What resolution would they opt for?
•  Who would benefit?

Perspective : Farmers
•  What belief is held by this group?
•  What resolution would they opt for?
•  Who would benefit?

Perspective : Aid and development
•  What belief is held by this
•  What resolution would they
opt for?
•  Who would benefit?

TOPIC:  Global Food Security

A number of resources have been provided for you in this package.
Use any/ all of the material to complete your analysis.
Your Task:
1.   Choose one hot topic from those presented
2.   Describe the issue (150 words)
3.   Explain why this is an issue of justice or the common good (150 words).
4.   Identify the people or groups who have a st ake in the issue and analyse
their perspectives on it. Why may   some stakeholders not want the
situation to change? (750 words)
5.   Analyse the issue in terms of the  common good and the  principles that
promote human flourishing. (750 words)
6.   In light of your ana lysis, how might the common good best be served in
relation to this issue?   (200 words).

Food is a fundamental need and, at its best, a source of delight for all living creatures. For human beings food is an absolute necessity for the life, health and

wellbeing of
present generations and the hope for future generations. Food prod uction is the most fundamental  economic activity; hospitality, the enjoyment and sharing of

food, is
fundamental to family life and  social cohesion.
Most of us are lucky enough not to have to wonder where our next meal is coming from. Most of us also do not actually grow or produce the food which we

consume on a
daily basis. We simply go to the supermarket to buy what we need and before us is a vast array of choices   from all over the world .  This may mean that we do not

get an
adequate sense of a number of   important  issues around food.
The  production  and  distribution   of food sufficient to meet the needs of the world’s population has always been a challenge. Insufficient food, and hunger, is

one aspect of
poverty and its attendant ills, a fact recognised in the United Nations’ Millennium Declaration ( see section III, pp 4 -5). The first of  the  Millennium Development

goals  is  the
“ eradication of extreme poverty and hunger” by 2015 . Read this  fact sheet   for more information on this important goal.
Food security involves increasing the production  of food world-wi de to meet the needs of  a global population, which, it is estimated, will rise to over nine billion

people by
yet fewer people today are farmers than ever before in history. While over half a billion people around the world are conside red to be obes e,
over 800 million
people are undernourished.
The vast majority of the world’s population, and around 98% of its hungry population, live in the developing world.
Most of the world’s
farmers also live in the developing world. These farmers, who are  typi cally without political and economic power, need to have access to land and to the benefits

agricultural and related sciences to improve their yields and the nutritional value of the foods they produce.

Worldometers “World Population: Past, Present and Future,” accessed April 13, 2014, -population/
World Health Organisation, “10 Facts on Obesity,” accessed April 13, 2014,
United Nations World Food Program, “Hunger,” accessed April 13, 2014,
“Who are the Hungry?” United Nations World Food Program,
For your  weekly tutorial preparation  and test  you will need to cover the introductory and background information  in each hot   topic ( and  all the links within

sections) .  These  sections will be indicated by this symbol:          Test questions may be drawn from this information.
In addition you  need to examine  at least two perspectives, again identified with this symbol:
Within the identified perspectives, you need  to   read the general information and  access  all of the links. If you choose this hot topic for Assessment Task 2 you

need to explore ALL the resources and perspectives presented here.

Food security also involves the fair distribution  of food under equitable conditions. Producers, especially those in the developing world, need to be able to get a

fair price
for their products; infrastructure needs to be at a level which provides access to markets; and infrastructure is required to   deliver farming supplies, and, where

food products to those in need.
In this Hot Topic, we will focus our investigation on food security in the developing world.

Achieving food security is a complex issue. Food production   and  food distribution  are separate issues, but inextricably linked. It is not merely a matter of

producing sufficient
food, although that is an increasing challenge, but  also a matter of  ensuring justice in terms of   access to adequate nutritious food for all people   through equity

The world needs to produce more food, and food with adequate nutrients, to feed the present and the ever growing population; however, we are faced with

challenges: climate change and worsening weather conditions;  diminishing arable land due to factors such as soil degradation and urban growth; and increasing

demand on
our finite water supply.
To achieve food security at a global level we need to be smarter and fairer:  efficiency and  equity   must drive responses to  this contemporary challenge.
The following resources provide an overview of this challenge:
•  This Australian Government sponsored paper, “ Global Food Security: Facts, Issues and Implications”   introduces some of the major issues we face in terms of

•  This  introductory video   from Science Magazine  (full captions available)  offers an overview of the issue of food security.
•  This article by Charles Godfray, et. al ., “Food security: The challenge of feeding Nine Billion People ,” [Science   327 (2010: 812-818) is from the special edition of

Magazine, mentioned in the video. It offers an excellent overview of the issue of food security into the future.
Issues raised when we consider  Global Food Security: How best to feed the world , include the followi ng:
•  The role of scientific research in increasing the amount and nutritional level of food: Are farmers, especially in developing  countries, gaining access to scientific
discoveries? Is the expertise of these farmers being drawn on, for example, through partnerships between scientists and local farmers? The results of some

research raise complex issues, such a genetic modification (GM) of foods: who decides?

•    Conditions resulting from climate change and from soil degradation exacerbate the difficulties of producing more food for a g rowing population: How is climate

affecting the livelihoods of people who were once able to be self- sufficient in food prod uction? Are the industrial societies, which are largely responsible for climate
change, adequately compensating those in the developing world who are adversely affected by changes wrought by climate change, for example, increased aridity

salinity? What   is the nexus (connection) between increased agricultural production and climate change?

•  Economic, political and social power structures affect access to knowledge and expertise and affect the marketing and distrib ution of food and resources: In

in terests are global markets organised? What is the role of large transnational companies in disseminating scientific advances to those most in need? What role

political corruption play in local people gaining access to production techniques and to markets?

•  In light of some of the above issues, consider the  article “A five-step plan to Feed the World”,   from National Geographic Magazine  (May, 2014), whi ch suggests

dramatic re -think of the way in which we produce and distribute food  (note: the paragraph at the bottom of p. 35 links with the top of p. 43; the many pages of

in between have been placed at the end of the document).

•  What is Austra lia’s role, as a net exporter of food, in our region and in  the wider world?   Australia  sees itself as playing a vital role in ensuring global food

security, both
through research by the  CSIRO  (click on the links to the left and view all 8 pages of this resource) and the Office of the Chief Scientist which published  an

Paper on  Australia’s Role in Global Food Security .

There are various groups (“stakeholders”) that are involved in this issue in some way . In this section, please refl ect on the information from the previous section

and from
the following resources. In reviewing the information from these sources, identify the perspectives and interests of each stakeholder group. Consider the questions
provided on the cover sheet of thi s task in order to guide your reading.

Perspective 1:

Scientific Research and Development
CGIAR  (Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research) is an international research consortium devoted to improving
agricultural production, particularly in the developing world.

The   CGIAR’s Strategy and Results Framework  gives an overview of their vision and work. They are motivated by the desire to
improve the health and welfare of all human persons.  They identify four particular aims:
•  Reduced rural poverty
•  Improved food security
•  Improved nutrition and health
•  Sustainable managed natural resources

In this Podcast, s cientist Dr Nina F ederoff ( or read the  transcript ) ,  advi sor to the US Government ,  explores  a number of possible
solutions to increasing food production . Her   interview here is in response to a paper published in Science magazine .
OPTIONAL: I f you have an interest in the full article ,  see: “Radically Rethinking Agriculture for the 21

The United Nations Food and Agricultural Organisation  is a leading body in all aspects of agricultural research , again motivated
by the desire to improve life for the poorest people .

Most countries have their own research bodies e ngaged in agricultural research, such as Australia’s CSIRO or America’s National
Institute of Food and Agriculture.  They are concerned with ensuring the f ood security of their own people;  moreover, they see
the economic potential for their individual nations in being able to export increased amounts of food to other countries which
ar e unable to feed their own populations.

Ethical Questions for Reflection
Do you think that nations should share their research and development breakthroughs with their neighbours?
Do rich countries have an obligation to assist poorer nations in their  efforts to promote   food security?

Perspective 2:

Farmers producing food
Of basic importance in the production of food is, of course ,  the farmer. 60% of the world’s population are farmers but levels of
agricultural productivity vary widely throughout the world.
The vast majority of farmers live on and work their own land,
however, in some places this is under threat from large corporations buying up land. Proponents of small farming argue that
family farmers respect and love their land and are thus better able to care for its long term production value. 2014 was declared
by the UN as T he Year of Family Farming. This report and podcast  o n  family farming   (or read th e  transcript ),  fr om the ABC ,
outlines why the UN undertook this action.

Many nations face dilemmas   about  how to better ensure increased agricultural production to safeguard food security. This
piece fro m the European Centre for Development Policy  management  debates some of the options. The question is: Should
large scale  farming  under foreign investors or small scale farming by local families with better access to land and technology be
pursued in Africa? Others argue that it is not simply a question of size but of soil improvement.

A.P. Central, “V Farming Facts,” accessed April 13, 2014,

Another choice facing developing nations is whether to invest in Genetically Modified crops to increase production or in
improving traditional farming methods and seed stock. This choice is currently being debated in  Uganda.   Debate often revolves
around the motives and role of multinational companies which promote GM food. This article “ Feeding the Hungry or the
Greedy ” explores many aspects of the debate in Uganda.

T he article,  “ A five-step plan to Feed the World”    ( also  linked above, in the Background   section of this Hot Topic),  discusses the
interconnectedness of the natural world and ecosystems,  thus  demonstrat ing  the complexity of ensuring food security. Look at
this article again, with the  farmers’  perspective in mind.

Ethical Questions for Reflection
What are the ethical and environmental implications of small vs. large scale farms?
Should governments force  their farmers to use GM technology or allow choice? What are some of the broader implications of
GM farming?

Perspective 3:

International Aid and Development

Generally speaking, aid and development agencies advocate for working with  rural communities in developing countries. They
aim  to better  educate rural communities about agricultural practices and introduc e simple and affordable technologies to help
them  participate in building their food security by producing better and more plentiful food crops. Such agencies  would argue
that  communities’  participation in their own solutions is vital to good development practice.   These organisations also tend to
promote organic and sustainable agriculture ,  rather than the extensive use of chemicals and genetically modified seed which
are often too expensive for poor farmers to purchase.

In this short video, narrated by Matt Damon, this approach of empowering  small farmers in poor countries to increase
production  is highlighted as a  solution to food security   (or read t he transcript ).

The United Nations Food and Agricultural Organisation report on the  “ State of Food Insecurity 2013 ”   endorses this approach of
enhancing local agricultural development in tandem with broader economic development in developing countries. Read the
“ Executive Summary ” of this report (the full report can be found  here , if you have a particular interest) .  In its Save and Grow
program sustainable intensification of smallholder crop production is advocated  (read the ‘Overview’ and watch the video).

In 2011, the Australian Government established the Australian International Food Security Centre  which takes this approach  of
empowering local growers to enhance their  own   production capacity.

Search these sites for examples of initiativ es to stimulate local agricultural production :
Oxfam Australia
Caritas Australia
Catholic Relief Services

Ethical Questions for Reflection
Which approach is better: to give people what they desperately need or to work with them in meeting their own needs?  Is it
better to promote sustainable agriculture or practices dependent on the use of artificial insecticides and herbicides?

Perspective 4 :

Privately owned multinational

Large multinational companies like Monsanto  invest a great deal of money in research and development of genetically modified
seed to boost yield production and help make crops resistant to pests and disease.   View these links (and navigate each page
within the section, using the next button on the bottom of the page),  for  more information on how Monsanto is proposing to
assist agricultural production:
Why does agriculture need to be improved?
What is Monsanto doing to help?
How are we doing it?

BASFAgro   (a multinational chemical company specialising in fungicides, insecticides, herbicides) also promotes the use of
biotechnology. In this video, a scientist, Professor Ian Crute ,  (or read t he transcript ),  who works for this company, promotes the
use of biotechnology to feed the world.

Ethical Questio ns for Reflection
Because these larger corporations are privately owned, their core business is to make a return on their investment. They use
things like terminator genes in seed ,  which means that farmers must purchase new seed for each crop they sow. It also means
that farmers must use the chemical pesticides and herbicides produced by that particular company as the seed has been br ed
to withstand only those products. This imposes  a heavy financial burden, especially on poor farmers in developing countries.

There are many who are suspicious of large agribusinesses’ claims to feed the world   through genetic modification. Those who
speak against GM  say that  the  genetic modification  of food is a dangerous way to go and does nothing to address issues of food

distribution and access, especially for those who are poorest and most hungry.  The following resources from Greenpeace
International   outline some of the main arguments:
•  Corporate Control of Agriculture
•  Risks of GE food  (see also the video linked to this page)
•  Feeding the World  –   Facts versu s Fiction

Another who questions the use of biotechnology is  Sean McDonagh . McDonagh answers “no” to the question, “Will  Biotech
Agriculture Feed the World?”.
Can poor subsistence farmers in developing nations afford the cost of buying enhanced seed which has a ‘terminator gene’ so
that seeds cannot be saved from a successful crop? Should big business control the production of food?

Perspective 5:

Those who call for change in diet and

In order to better safeguard food security into the future, some people advocate that we need to re – think our attitudes and our
diets, particularly in the industrialised countries where obesity levels and food wastage levels are high.
In this presentation ,  Tristram Stuart highlights the global food waste scandal  (full  transcript available).

On this site,  go to video  number 2 which presents Mark Bittman  (full captions available)  highlighting a number of issues,
including the overconsumpti on of red meat and its consequences, in the W estern diet.

This article from the Stanford Woods Institute for the Env ironment   again highlights a number of problems which arise from the
increasing consumption of red meat.

This brief video is based on the summary of a report on the livestock industry ,  by the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation   (or
read the  transcript ).

Ethical Questions for Reflection
How much food i s wasted in your household?
Do you ever think about those who go hungry every day?
Have you ever thought about the energy used to produce the food you eat each day and the impact of that energy consumption
on the environment?

Perspective 6:

Christian  Churches
In 2008 Pope Benedict XVI addressed   the participants at a high level  Conference on  World  Food  Security organised by the UN’s
Food and Agricultural Organisation. In his address he referred to a number of the principles of human flourishing you have
studied in this unit. The  General Secretary of the World Council of Churches   issued a statement for the same FAO Conference.

Pope Benedict was also invited to address the opening session of the World Summit on Food Security   in 2009.

In 2003,  the  US Bishops  produced a pastoral reflection   on food and agriculture. While this refers largely to an American context,
note the sections on the “signs of the times” and “Catholic Social Teaching and Agriculture”, which discusses the principles we
have been studying as they apply to this important question.

Ethical Questions:
There are numerous questions we need to ask, from an ethical point of view, in relation to  the issue of Global Food Security.  Many of these questions have been

through the examination of the various perspectives. A few more are listed here. Can you t hink of any others?
•    How does commitment to  the common good  inform decisions in meeting the challenge of greater  efficiency and   equity  in achieving food security?
•  How can the thinking of those of good will in developed countries move from a position of providing donations of food to those in developing societies to a
social justice perspective, which recognises the rights of all people to have access to techniques and equipment and markets  which would enable then to be self-

•  When upholding rights  to intellectual property, how significant is the common good  when considering what is due to large corporations on the one hand, and,
on the other hand, the benefits of research findings to small, local farmers in developing countries?
•  How significant is the common good  in deliberations on political and economic issues, such as land tenure for small farmers, and the building of infrastructure,
such as roads, which would facilitate the transport of food?
•  How does one seek to make more transparent and fair t he prices which are paid for food products internationally?
•  How does one reconcile, from the perspective of  the common good , the requirements for food security and environmental sustainability with the wastage of so
much edible food?

Which approach, or combination of approaches ,  would most effectively promote the common good?
Consider all that you have read in this module. Think about the history and background to the issue, and the diversity of perspectives and interests among the

stakehold ers. Think about the ethical questions, and how the different positions dispose us to thinking differently about what the sta keholders should or should

not do.
Now ask yourself what the best course of action  would be for securing the common good .  What should multinational agribusinesses do to bring about the

common good?
What should the  farmers and consumers do ? How will the common good be realized in this situation, and who must contribute?

And what about us?  What should  we  do?

Assessment: presents a critical account of an issue of social justice or the common good.
Length 2000 words or equivalent Weighting 50%


By Keith Weller, USDA ARS [Public domain or Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons from Wikimedia Commons

2. Describe the issue (150 words)
3. Explain why this is an issue of justice or the common good (150 words).
4. Identify the people or groups who have a stake in the issue and analyse their perspectives on it. [You should analyse at least three perspectives.] Why may some

stakeholders not want the situation to change? (750 words)
5. Analyse the issue in terms of the common good and the principles that promote human flourishing. (750 words).
6. In light of your analysis, how might the common good best be served in relation to this issue? (200 words)

Learning Outcomes and Graduate Attributes
This assessment task goes towards helping you to meet:
• Learning Outcome 1: Explain the concept of the ‘common good’ and present examples of the common good in action;
• Learning Outcome 2: Explain the concepts of ‘social justice’ and advocacy for the most vulnerable’ and their importance for the common good, and present

• Learning Outcome 3: present a critical account of a topic or issue in social justice;
• Graduate Attribute 2: recognise their responsibility to the common good, the environment and society;
• Graduate Attribute 4: think critically and reflectively;
• Graduate Attribute 9: demonstrate effective communication in oral and written English language and visual media.

Criteria for assessment (See the Assessment tab in your LEO unit for a detailed rubric with descriptors for each of these criteria) 1     Explanation of the issue

as one of social justice or the common good.     10%
2     Identification of stakeholders in the issue and critical account of their perspectives in terms of social justice, the common good and advocacy for the

most vulnerable.     30%
3     Analysis of the issue in relation to the common good and the principles which promote human flourishing.     30%
4     Critical reflection of how the common good may best be served.     20%
5     Written and/or oral English expression including spelling and grammar.     5%
6     Consistent and correct use of selected academic referencing style.     5%
TOTAL     100%

2000 word essay

Students are required to use correctly one of the following referencing systems for Task 2:
• APA (in-text referencing with reference list at the end)

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