It is a matter of national security

Thursday, January 31, 2019

Often when we hear reference to issues of national security, our immediate thoughts are in relation to law and order. We give consideration to whether our border control and law enforcement agencies, for example Immigration, Customs and the Police Force, have the human and physical resources necessary to ensure that our island is safe. We reflect on the crime situation in our country, and in the region, and we wonder whether our pride in being a peaceful, law-abiding people is real or false.

We think about the system of justice – whether it is fair and efficient, metes out punishment that is suited to the infraction and serves as a deterrent for future infractions. We may even think about our laws and whether our legislature has enacted laws to ensure that our people are safe, protected and can live in a peaceful and harmonious society. There are many other issues that we can consider when it comes to national security.

However, it appears that we seldom consider the issue of food security as a matter of national security. What exactly is food security? According to the definition crafted at the World Food Summit in 1996:

“Food security exists when all people, at all times, have physical and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food that meets their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life”.

One only has to reflect carefully on the words of this statement to recognize that food security in Anguilla is tenuous at best. Given our continued dependence on imported food items for our sustenance, it is clear that we still have some way to go to achieve an acceptable level of security. Some would argue that even if we grew our own food, our crops would be destroyed during a natural disaster and we would be no better off.

Even if this was the case, the fact remains that self-reliance on our own sources of food was not even a viable option for us. Additionally, based on our current state of almost complete reliance, if our usual sources of food from overseas were themselves impacted by disaster, to an extent that they could not export to us (even though we were not directly affected by the disaster), we would be in the same predicament. It is scary to think that we cannot feed ourselves.

 A Guest Editorial