Food security

Every day, a billion people go to bed hungry. Every 5 seconds, a young child dies of malnutrition. The Dutch government therefore wants to contribute to global food security.

Food security in Dutch development cooperation policy

Besides the billion people who go hungry through a shortage of food, another billion suffer from hidden hunger. This means that the food they eat is deficient in vitamins and minerals. At this moment, enough food is being produced worldwide to feed everyone. The fact that some people are not assured of sufficient healthy food is due to the following:

  • shortage of money (poverty);
  • a poorly developed agricultural sector;
  • poor infrastructure and shortage of storage space, so that much of the food that is produced never reaches the consumer.

In the future, worldwide food supplies will pose a considerable problem. In the long run, food production will need to rise by 70% to feed the world’s population, which is set to grow by more than 30%. In order to ensure that everyone has access to sufficient nutritious food it will be essential to:

  • continue reducing poverty;
  • improve agricultural policies in developing countries;
  • prevent post-harvest losses;
  • improve the infrastructure for the distribution of food;
  • reduce the vulnerability of local farmers by, for example, enabling them to take out insurance against loss of income.

The involvement of the Dutch government and private sector is crucial. As the world’s second largest exporter of agricultural products and technology, the Netherlands has much to offer.

How is the Netherlands contributing to worldwide food security?

Food security is a priority theme of Dutch development cooperation policy. The Netherlands focuses on:

  • working towards an increase in sustainably produced food and better access to nutritious food;
  • making markets more efficient by removing barriers to national, regional and world trade;
  • investing in a better business climate so that the private sector can play an ever greater role in solving this problem;
  • contributing to worldwide research into agriculture, nutrition and management of natural resources, both by means of funding and the active participation of Dutch research institutions.

The leaflet ‘Zero hunger, zero malnutrition’ gives examples of the Dutch commitment to food security.