ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Food Security in a Post-COVID-19 World


The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed the fragility of globalisation and international trade based on the principles of comparative advantage. The lockdowns to control the spread of COVID-19 saw curbs on mobility at domestic and global levels, border closures, price escalations due to lower productivity and availability, disruption of supply chains, and shortages of shipping containers. The pandemic aggravated food shortages for regions dependent on the importation of food items with disastrous consequences. Against this backdrop, how does one guarantee food security in these critical times? A case study of the Self
Employed Women’s Association (SEWA, established in 1972), India—a national trade union of self-employed women workers from the informal economy—demonstrates that cultivating self-sustaining local economies can build food-secure local communities.

Inspired by the Gandhian principles of self-reliance, Ela Bhatt, the founder of SEWA, conceived of the principle of “100-mile communities” to secure roti, kapada, and makan (food, clothing, and shelter) sustainably within a 100-mile radius. The members are united through the principle of anubandh—from the Sanskrit anu (follow) and bandh (connection or relationship)—or the social contract that binds peoples within their social units. SEWA’s “100-mile communities” model for acting as a safety net against food insecurity was put to the test in the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic.

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Updated On : 14th Sep, 2022
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