Food as Security: The controversy of foreign agricultural investment in the Yala Swamp, Kenya
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AbstractThis thesis explores the security implications of a wave of large-scale land acquisitions in developing countries led by foreign investors – generally known as the ‘global land grab’ – which came about in the aftermath of the 2008 Global Food Price Crisis. This ‘land grab’ phenomenon poses some fundamental questions about the state of the world food system and the role of emerging non-traditional challenges and threats to our future food security. At the same time, the security studies perspective that underlies the approach taken in this thesis has a rather uncomfortable association with the study’s main subject matter of ‘food security’. As a result, empirical enquiries into the phenomenon of land grabs need to be pre-empted by a solid theoretical foundation to elucidate the multifaceted relationship between food and security. This necessitates a thorough assessment of food as a matter of security; asking how our understanding of ‘food’ changes when we approach it as a security question. This thesis therefore sets out to achieve two objectives: 1) to bring the subject of ‘food’ into the security realm, and 2) to utilise a contextualised case study to critically assess the human security implications of a ‘land grab’. At the same time, however, a more holistic argument runs throughout the work, propounding the notion that there may be no technical solution to the world food problem. The idea is put forward that the natural sciences are perhaps not capable of single-handedly safeguarding our future food security. To be more precise, the solution to the world food problem may need to emanate from a radically changed human vision; one to inspire new values, ideas, morality, and above all, a change in behaviour.