Research School for Socio-Economic and
Natural Sciences of the Environment
Research School for Socio-Economic and
Natural Sciences of the Environment

Seminar Food security, agricultural policies and economic growth - Long-term dynamics in the past, present and future

Date: 07 June 2017
Time: 14:00 - 17:00
Location: Leeuwenborch room 63, Hollandseweg 1, 6706 KN Wageningen

Routledge released Niek Koning’s new book: Food security, agricultural policies and economic growth ‒ long-term dynamics in the past, present and future. The Wageningen Centre for Sustainable Development & Food Security cordially invites you for a seminar that it organizes on this occasion.


14.00 Opening and introduction – Maja Slingerland
14.20 The bio-geographic roots of global economic inequality – Ewout Frankema (historian, WU)
14.40 Beyond biotech versus organic: how to feed the world in the future? – Ken Giller (agronomist, WU)
15.00 Food security and the environment – Wouter van der Weijden (environmental scientist, CLM)
15.20 Break
15.40 Video messages by Ha-joon Chang (economist, Cambridge) and Peter Timmer (economist, Harvard)
16.00 Presentation of Niek’s book by Rudy Rabbinge
16.20 Word of thanks by Niek Koning
16.30 Closure & drinks

During the seminar, paperback copies of the book will be available at a discount price of €35.

Mail to SEMINAR.FOODSECURITY@ZIGGO.NL to register for the seminar (before May 29th) and, if desired, to reserve a copy (before May 14th).

Using a political-economic approach supplemented with insights from human ecology, this volume analyses the long-term dynamics of food security and economic growth. The book begins by discussing the nature of preindustrial food crises and the changes that have occurred since the 19th century with the ascent of technical science and the fossil fuel revolution. It explains how these changes improved living standards but that the realization of this improvement was usually dependent on government support for smallholder modernization.

The author sets out how the evolution of food security in different regions has been influenced by farm policy choices and how these choices were shaped by local societal characteristics, international relations and changing configurations in metropolitan countries. Separate chapters are devoted to the interaction of this evolution with debates on food security and economic growth and with international economic policies. The final chapters highlight the new challenges for global food security that will arise as traditional sources of biomass production and the more easily extractable reserves of fossil biomass become depleted or can no longer be used. Overall, the book emphasizes the inadequacy of current explanations with regard to these challenges. It explores what is needed to ensure a sustainable future and calls for a rethinking of these issues; a necessary reflection in today's unstable global political situation. Niek Koning is an Associate at the Centre for Sustainable Development and Food Security and Emeritus Assistant Professor with the Agricultural Economics and Rural Policy Group, Wageningen University, the Netherlands.