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Leader: Armando Fornazier and Pedro Abel Vieira
Chair: Maria Alejandra Madi


Food production has always been present in the economic debate because of the concern about the outcomes of population growth and demographic changes. In this respect, one of the most famous references is the book Essay on the Principle of Population (1798), written by the British economist Thomas Malthus, that describes the challenges of unbalanced growth of food production in relation to the population rate of growth. In his view,  the outcomes of this unbalanced growth were seen as catastrophic because of the social problem of hunger. At that time, population control was considered to be one of the proposals to face food challenges (Malthus, 2008).

Although the Malthusian theory has not yet been proven to be true, there is a global challenge related to people’s access to food. Access to food refers to the lack of financial resources that prevents households from purchasing food, mainly in urban areas, in addition to the lack of financial resources in small business to buy land and inputs and also to adopt modern technologies.

Through history, new methods of food production have emerged which allowed increases in food supply. Technological changes, however, have not occurred uniformly throughout the world (Friedmann, 1993). Indeed, some countries have expanded their agricultural production and met their food needs while the lack of access to food still creates situations of hunger that remain a reality in many parts of the world. Therefore, the current challenges in food production mean that, even with a larger supply of food, many people, mainly the poor ones, still live in a situation of starvation. Data from the United Nations World Food Program (World Food Program UN-WFP-UN) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization-FAO-UN) have shown that hunger turned out to be greater in some groups such as women, children, especially in rural areas of the world (United Nations, 2012).

Political issues have also limited the access to food. Wars and social conflicts not only prevent people from growing or purchasing food, but also promote social vulnerability in situations of hunger (Webb & Braun, 1994). Other political problems involve, for instance, the appropriation of land (land grabbing) by hegemonic groups and corruption (Borras et al, 2011).

In truth, the current food challenges need to be considered in the context of the promotion of economic sustainability and social justice.

Background to the conference in detail

Guide For First Time Visitors

Openness and flexibility are major trends in contemporary education, research, and business, influencing the whole spectrum of institutions and corporations across the globe. Indeed, technological innovations are bringing about a paradigm shift in contemporary livelihoods. Modes of interaction are becoming more open and flexible in terms of time, space, organization, infrastructure and requirements. With this background, the World Economics Association organizes conferences which are held online.

WEA CONFERENCES are OPEN ACCESS. The World Economics Association strives to make its conferences accessible for all people around the world. The aim of the WEA ONLINE CONFERENCES is to enlarge the number of participants and to extend the period of discussion to provide for more developed exchanges than in typical, location-based conferences.  WEA Conferences strive to be on the forefront of innovations in communicating and discussing high-quality research.

Each WEA CONFERENCE begins with a pre-conference stage with the announcement of the call, registration and selection of papers, culminating in a Discussion Forum. The interactive format of conferences provides an online forum for visitors and commentators. All participants will be able to send comments on specific papers, or to contribute to a general discussion on the conference theme.

Each WEA ONLINE CONFERENCE is hosted by Maria Alejandra Madi, Chair of the WEA CONFERENCES. She selects the conference themes and Leaders with the expertise in the topic, and facilitates the process of the conference organization as well as the follow-up activities. The initial format of the WEA CONFERENCES was developed by Grazia Ietto-Gillies, whose ideas have continued to guide the current WEA CONFERENCES organizing team.

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