Food: "Security" or "Sovereignty"?

The clearest example of how dangerous the concept of "food sovereignty" is, comes from the example of the famine that killed 14 million people in China during a failed attempt at self-sufficiency in rice production.

Monday, December 8, 2014

As pointed out in an editorial in, the National Development Plan put forward by the Solis administration, in the chapter "agricultural and rural development" involves a socialist vision of food production, now outdated all over the world, attempting even to raise to the rank of constitutional law the concept of food sovereignty.

The National Development Plan "... confuses 'food security' with 'food sovereignty', whose main connotation is the duty of to produce locally everything we eat."

"... Producing items using organic processes without conventional pesticides or fertilizers, would result in increased costs and reduced production and would raise consumer prices, contradicting the claim of social responsibility."

By contrast, the most rational and universally accepted concept of "food security" implies: "... the ability to provide food, agricultural and other products in adequate quantity and quality to meet the needs of the population, whether produced locally or imported from abroad. "

"The experiences in attempts to obtain self produced food at affordable prices for the population have been real disasters, one of the most important occurred in mainland China, where the attempt to be self sufficient in rice production at affordable prices led to a famine causing 14 million deaths from starvation. Today China is imports rice from the third largest producer and exporter in the world which is Vietnam, which has obvious advantages in production. " From the article Rural Development (in Spanish) on, published in October 2011.

"... Protectionism, we know, is a way to ensure inefficiency and delays in productivity. "

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Rice in Panama: Price Increase for Producers

August 2015

Despite the fact that grain imports continues to increase, an agreement has been made to raise the price per hundredweight of rice paid by industrial producers to $24.5.

In their enthusiasm to protect domestic agricultural production, the Ministry of Agricultural Development has agreed with producers to increase the price paid per hundredweight of rice produced to $24.50.

Harmful Protectionism in Costa Rica and Panama

April 2015

The governments of both countries are cultivating a rare blend of populism and mercantilism where invoking the interest of the poorest they take protectionist measures which end up making staple foods more expensive and difficult to access.



It is no coincidence that two opinion piece articles in major newspapers in Panama and Costa Rica are devoted to the same theme: Protectionist measures taken by their governments given as examples of aid to agricultural sectors which are basically inefficient in food production, leading to imports of these foods having lower prices in the market that can be offered by domestic production.

Food Sovereignty vs. Specialized Production

October 2011

Experiences in trying to obtain self-produced grains at affordable prices for the population have been real disasters, with China being the best example.

A draft Law for the Approval of the National Integrated Rural Development of Guatemala proposes that "food security be based on the production of basic grain, under the concept of autarky, defined as food sovereignty, i.e.

Rice Production and Prices in Panama

May 2009

Local production of the grain is increasing and approaching self-sufficiency figures, while prices are stable.

The cost of supplies has fallen considerably (50%), which enables an increase in planted area and it could exceed 70 thousand hectares, with yields in excess of 100 thousand quintals per hectare in 2009. In this manner, there would be enough production to achieve self-sufficiency.

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