Obama’s Global Food Security Act - a new global politics of provisions?

30th August 2016

In this Blog from the Impact Initiative, Naomi Hossain explores the global politics of food provision.

The United States Government’s ‘Global Food Security Act of 2016’ was signed by President Obama in July. The Bill, designed to bolster US-supported food security programmes worldwide, wrote the Feed the Future initiative into US law, authorized over USD 7bn to international food programmes, and directed the President to ‘develop and implement a Global Food Security Strategy to promote global food security, resilience, and nutrition’ with close attention to smallholder farmers, particularly women, and particularly in Africa. The Act is highly significant, although to date not so much analysed as it has been celebrated by hunger advocacy NGOs and praised by UN agencies with a food security mandate.

Food security as security against terror?

Naomi goes on to say that if food insecurity destabilizes and ‘discredits’ regimes that cannot address their own food crises and so encourages insurgency, it is a short step to arguing that global hunger breeds global terrorism. What seems new and noteworthy about the political rationale for the Global Food Security Act of 2016 is the short straight line drawn between national security in the rich world and food security in the poor. In other words, ‘their’ hunger matters for ‘our’ wellbeing. This is quite possibly an important political-ethical step in the global politics of provisions, even if it is not yet quite clear why or how.

Read Naomi Hossain's full Blog here.

Further reading...

Them belly full (but we hungry): Food rights struggles in Bangladesh, India, Kenya and Mozambique

Living on a Spike: How is the 2011 food price crisis affecting poor people?

Life in a time of food price volatility: IDS Bulletin

Food insecurity and violent conflict: causes, consequences, and addressing the challenges


Naomi Hossain

Naomi is a Research Fellow in the Power and Popular Politics Cluster at the Institute of Development Studies, UK.

Her work focuses on the politics of poverty and public services, and increasingly on the political effects of subsistence crises.