Reinvigorating the Public Sector: the Case of Food Security, Small-scale Farmers, Trade, and Intellectual Property Rules

Colloquium Paper No. 64
04 February 2016

Governments are facing an existential crisis with respect to food security. What is their role in ensuring local food security and supporting domestic agricultural sectors, and particularly small- scale farmers, while the world is increasingly looking to market-based solutions to meet global food security needs?

As they currently operate, global trade and intellectual property rights regimes do not work in favour of most small-scale farmers, who are the largest contributors to global food security while often remaining food insecure themselves. It is therefore incumbent upon governments to provide more than just an enabling environment for markets and the private sector -- they must play an active role in protecting the public interest.

This paper calls into question the core belief that market-based solutions are sufficient for ensuring local and global food security and emphasizes the need for a revitalized public sector.

* This paper was published as part of the 2 day Colloquium Global governance/politics, climate justice & agrarian/social justice and selected for republishing on the TNI website. All papers can be found at the website of ISS.