The Dynamics of Agricultural Development and Food Security in Southeast Asia: Historical Continuity and Rapid Change

Arndt-Corden Department of Economics

Event details

ACDE Seminar

Date & time

Tuesday 19 February 2013


Seminar Room B, Coombs Building, Fellows Road, ANU


Professor C. Peter Timmer - Thomas D. Cabot Professor of Development Studies, emeritus, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, and Adjunct Professor, Crawford School of Public Policy, CAP, ANU
Food security is not a viable social objective unless it is also a profitable undertaking for input suppliers, farmers and marketers of output. Consumers must then be able to afford to purchase this food, secure in the knowledge that it is safe and nutritious. Achieving food security within these constraints of a complex economic system is a challenge because both poor consumers and small farmers must be effective participants. The standard approaches to food security’involving availability, access and utilization of sufficient food to lead healthy lives for everyone’do not deal with these issues of who does what.

The purpose of this paper is to set this challenging task in the context of the long-run dynamic evolution of the rice-based systems in Southeast Asia. The emphasis is on both ‘long runŸ? and on ‘dynamic,Ÿ? because these systems have very deep cultural roots (thus historical continuity and accompanying resistance to change), at the same time that they are changing extremely rapidly, driven by the pace of economic growth and technological innovation. Japan is an early model for Southeast Asia and is quite revealing because of its well documented early history. Sub-Saharan Africa was held up in the 1960s as the likely success story vis a vis Southeast Asia, and this comparative record is also quite revealing.

Outline of discussion: 1) Introduction, 2) Rapid change in food systems in SE Asia, 3) The changing role of rice in SE Asia’s food security, 4) Linking agricultural development to food security, 5) Food policy approaches going forward.

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