The minister of Agriculture Forestry and Food Security, Dr Sam Sesay, has said food security is beyond agriculture.
The minister was speaking on the theme ‘Right to Food’ at this year’s World Food Day celebration when he said there had been lots of misconceptions about food security.
He elucidated that some people had a narrow meaning about food security “which is to produce enough rice, whilst others believe that they do not even need to produce food, but to import enough of it”.
“Food security is far beyond that and is beyond agriculture. When we talk about food security we refer to what we call a triangle. The first part means availability under which there is production which the ministry is pre-occupied with and also importation,” he said.
Dr Sam Sesay further explained that even under availability agriculture was not enough. “The ministry of Trade is part of us to make sure that food is available,” he noted.
He cautioned that the other part of the triangle was access which he interpreted as both physical and economic. “Physical. That is having it right there to buy and economic has to do with incomes; there comes in the issue of poverty alleviation which also comes in the argument about the cost of living whether it is enough for you to be able to buy your food or not.”
The third component of the triangle, he said, had to do with utilization. “This is again beyond agriculture. Access has to do with agriculture in terms of creating employment but not only agriculture, as employment is all over. Utilization has to do a lot with health as the state of the health of the person determines a lot in terms of the capacity to utilize the food,” he stated.
Dr Sesay went on that even within the triangle, agriculture was a microcosm of the microcosm in terms of food security. “That is why it is a policy now that I will be working closely with the Trade and Industry ministry to make sure the issue of food security is properly addressed” he assured