Agroscope Reckenholz-Tänikon Research Station ART, Reckenholzstrasse 191, CH-8046 Zürich

How secure is food security?

After the positive experience of expanding domestic production to the maximum in order to safeguard the food supply in the Second World War, greater importance has been attached to crop planning and storage for crisis situations in Switzerland than in neighbouring countries. The emergence of operational research meant that systems for the sole purpose of optimising calorie and nutrient supply became an integral component of crisis preparedness. Today’s international debate on food security, on the other hand, focuses on the dynamic price trends and price fluctuations of food, an aspect which has not as yet been incorporated into Swiss preventative strategy. However, the most recent food crises show that, especially for Switzerland, nominal supply failures are becoming increasing less likely than cardinal (i.e. fluid) supply constraints, in which price rises could become a supply problem for parts of the population. In order to gear Swiss nutritional planning to such crisis situations as well, price tre nds need to be included as a key variable in crisis planning.

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