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Creating food security would reduce emigration, crime and radicalization around the world, new economic report says


The world is teetering on the edge of a global hunger and malnutrition crisis that poses a significant threat to U.S. national security, according to a new report from the Program on Conflict and Development in the Department of Agricultural Economics of Texas A&M University’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.    

The report, “Global Food Security is National Security,” was commissioned by the Farm Journal Foundation and authored by Dr. Edwin Price, Howard G. Buffett Endowed Chair on Conflict and Development, along with program consultant Dr. Naureen Fatema and research specialist Abdul Saboor Rahmany —all with the Program on Conflict and Development.  

The report demonstrates how global food insecurity is linked to numerous geopolitical risks and suggests how greater investment in agricultural development and innovation, especially in developing countries, can mitigate these risks. 

“In the report, we categorize the risks as social and political threats, economic threats, nutrition and health threats, environmental threats and cultural threats,” Price said. “Some of these threats include radicalization, terrorist, environmental degradation and lost economic opportunity, as well as the potential for corruption, extremism and social unrest. We determine that greater investment in agriculture would help reduce risks by enabling developing countries to improve their crop and animal production in order to better feed themselves.”

He said as agriculture is the primary profession of the world’s poorest people, investments toward improving farm productivity in developing countries would go a long way toward addressing the root causes of many of these national security risks.

“Alleviating hunger and improving agricultural livelihoods means that people are less likely to immigrate, turn toward criminal activity or fall prey to radicalized groups,” Price said.

He noted that in the past few years Americans have felt the impact of food shortages and rising food costs due to the COVID-19 pandemic, widespread drought and other factors, opening their eyes to some of the challenges and stresses related to food insecurity. 

“There has been an alarming rise in hunger and malnutrition throughout the world in recent years due to the pandemic, the war in Ukraine and a variety of extreme weather events linked to climate change,” Price said “Currently, as many as 828 million people, or one in every 10 people on the planet, is affected by hunger.”

The report also gives recommendations on how the United States can invest in worldwide long-term agricultural development.