Simon Maxwell

Laudatio to Robert Chambers

'Laudatio to Robert Chambers' in H-U Thimm and H. Hahn (eds), Regional Food Security and Rural Infrastructure (Vol 1), Schriften 50, Zentrum fur Regionale Entwicklungsforschung der Justus-Liebig-Universitat, Giessen, Germany, June 1993

Regional food security depends on a complex of influencing factors. Rural infrastructure is one of them. There are no studies rejecting a hypothesis that infrastructure generally contributes positively to food security, and there is no major dispute that rural infrastructure works mainly through the process of opening up regions for increases in production and output marketing. Supply of goods and services created through improved economic and social activities follows. The basic food security problems are found in low productivity of production factors, changing land-man ratios, environmental degradation, as well as political instability, economic underdevelopment and lack of non-agricultural employment and purchasing power. While global attempts are apparently not effective, it seems necessary to return to regional analysis as the starting point for food security solutions. According to recent UN reports the number of developing countries with permanent food deficits has decreased, but subnational (regional) incidences of food security problems remain at an intolerable high level.

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