Ensuring food security is one of the most important components of the national security.
Food security is a complex of legal, organizational, material and technical (logistical) and other measures aimed at provision of adequate food of necessary quality and sufficient quantity that is safe for health and available to every member of the society, including the most vulnerable groups of the population, and can be consumed by them at any time and in any situation, including times during emergencies and war-like situations. A country’s food security is mainly ensured through development of agriculture and systems for food production and food importation.
Food security is emphasized both at the international level and in the Republic of Armenia. Numerous legal acts have been adopted to ensure the food security system, of which the following can be highlighted:
The main indicator for definition of a country’s food security is the food self-sufficiency level.
The analysis of the data of the national food accounts of the Republic of Armenia shows that, according to the data of 2019, the level of self-sufficiency of vitally important food products calculated by the energy value was about 52.5%.
The high level of food self-sufficiency in the country is assured by production of potatoes, cucurbits crops, fruits, grapes, mutton and chevon, eggs, and fish, the above-average level of food self-sufficiency is assured by production of beef and pork, milk and dairy products, whereas the food self-sufficiency level for production of wheat, grass-and-legume crops, vegetable oil, and poultry remains low.
According to operative assessments, the data of the RA national food accounts for 2017-2018 and 2019 on the level of self-sufficiency of the first necessity food products are as follows.
In international practice, the position of countries in terms of food security is assessed by the Global Food Safety Index, which consists of three components: availability, accessibility, and quality and safety of the food products, and each of these components in turn is shaped by several factors. In 2019, for the first time in Armenia, the Global Food Safety Index was calculated, and the results showed that the Global Food Safety Index of Armenia was 57.1, including 51.7 in terms of food products availability, 66.2 in terms of accessibility, and 45.4 in terms of quality and safety.
Food security of any country is considered to be assured if there is such a level of economy that guarantees the physical and economic availability, accessibility, and quality and safety of food products in accordance with the healthcare norms for the population.
In order to assure the food products availability, the main strategic directions of food security are increase of food expenditures within the structure of gross expenditures, increase of the gross domestic product per capita, tariff regulations of importation of agricultural products, reduction of poverty, provision of adequate food and access to food products for various segments of the population and others.
In order to assure the food products accessibility, the main strategic directions of food security are the availability of sufficient food resources and the state reserve of vitally important food products, prevention of possible food crises during emergencies, balanced territorial development, availability of infrastructures necessary for normal operation of the food value chain, reduction of losses in the chain of production, storage and sale of food products, increase of state expenditures in the field of agriculture, and others.
In order to assure the quality and safety of food products, the main strategic directions of food security are availability of agricultural standards, introduction of food quality and safety standards and systems, as well as monitoring and control executed with regard to their assurance, improvement of phytosanitary and veterinary-sanitary situation, availability of the national strategy on nutrition, which shall outline the diversity of consumed food products, and ensuring the in-take of proteins, vitamins, and microelements available in food products and necessary for one’s life-sustaining activity, and others.
The afore-mentioned directions of the food security strategy of the Republic of Armenia shall be outlined and included in the new strategy and plan of measures for assurance of food security of the Republic of Armenia, with regard to which works are underway.