Impact of Trade Liberalization on Food Security
The issue of food security can either be discussed in terms of food self reliance or self sufficiency. Self sufficiency requires that a country or region is able to produce food that is enough to cater for its consumption while self reliance refers to domestic availability of food in enough quantities. It should be noted that self sufficiency in food leaves out the concept of imports as a source of food supply while self reliance does not emphasize on such a restriction.
As much as food security may be viewed by many as a concern for most countries across the world, it is an issue that is mostly felt by developing countries. It is mainly in the emerging economies that food security is often an issue. Based on trade theory, developing countries are usually endowed with labor, land and natural resources instead of technology and capital, thus, should have a comparative advantage in agriculture (food security).
Trade liberalization has created a scenario whereby manufacturing is more protected while agriculture is heavily taxed. Policies of trade liberalization have led to bias in the development of better agricultural practices in emerging economies. As a result of trade liberalization, farmers are now able to break away from the traditional restrictive practices that offer lower domestic prices for their produce in developing countries. You find that in most of the developing countries, the prices offered for agricultural products is relatively lower compared to when the produce is sold on international markets. As result of this, farmers are always very quick to export their produce abroad.
Developed countries create policies that offer better returns for farmers when they sell their produce on world markets, thus, quite a number shun domestic markets. This means that most of the agricultural produce that is obtained locally is pushed abroad to the developed countries, leaving the locals with just a small percentage that is mostly low quality. Acquiring sufficient food to fill in the gap that is created by farmers selling their produce on international markets is quite expensive. On the other hand, spend most of the earnings from the sale of their produce on manufactured products that are also mainly from foreign industries, meaning that the money is ploughed back to the economies of developing nations.
The above chain continues to a point whereby local farmers are left with very little and low quality food that is not able to sustain the domestic population. With this, it can be said that trade liberalization to an extent, hinders food security in developing nations while enhancing it in developed economies. In developed nations, they have the technology that can be used in proper preservation of food compared to emerging economies. They can decide to store the food until such a time that there is a crisis, upon which they can then sell it at very high prices. As a result of this, poor nations will be forced to spend more of their income on food in order to attain security that will be so hard to come by.