On the afternoon of October 2, 2023, in room 405 of the Faculty of Economics and Rural Development, Assoc. Prof. Agnieszka Poczta-Wajda from Poznan University of Economics and Business (PUEB), Poland, guest of the strong research group Rural Development Management presented research with the topic "Self-perception of food integrity - measurement problems”.
Opening the presentation, Assoc. Prof. Poczta-Wajda presented on Food and nutrition security dimensions and determinants, including food availability, food access, and food utility. To ensure food security, food stability is extremely important, including: (1) Stability of physical accessibility: natural disasters, war, production diversification, storage state storage, (2) Stability of economic access such as labor market, world food price fluctuations, consumption diversification, and (3) Stability of food quality: education, access to medical care, access to clean water and sanitation facilities.
Recurrent food crises and global change have pushed food security to the forefront of political issues and agendas. It is taken for granted that people in developed countries are food secure when they have enough food for an active, healthy life. However, up to 10.2% of the US population and 8.3% of the EU27 population are facing food insecurity. Currently, countries must find answers to questions such as how can the EU support global food security and environmental issues? What are the challenges facing Poland from the massive wave of Ukrainian emigration, inflation, and economic recession?
Assoc. Prof. Poczta-Wajda conducted its research in the first quarter of 2018 on 710 small-scale farms with an economic size between 4,000-15,000 EUR and agriculture as their main economic activity. The questionnaire includes 50 questions divided into thematic blocks of socio-economics, environment, food security and nutritional quality. The author uses the Household Food Insecurity and Access Scale (HFIAS), which is an empirically based food insecurity scale. This is a brief survey tool to assess whether households have had problems accessing food in the past 30 days. Questions covered the main topics of concerns about household food supply, lack of quality of foods, and inadequate eating and physical consequences.
The author's expectation about the results of the study would be a lack of acknowledgment by respondents about the food security problem they face. However, the research results surprised the author with 312 (44%) farms claiming to encounter at least one difficulty within 30 days, 170 (24%) farms claiming this situation occurs frequently. in the previous year. The solutions that households choose the most are choosing cheaper foods, minimizing other items to prioritize food, etc.
The author concludes that food insecurity problem is an essential, underestimated and challenging problem in developed countries and should not be neglected. They need to identify vulnerable households exposed to food insecurity and to carry out a systematic, continuous and repeatable survey of their food insecurity. Conducted studies at the country level can be misleading, as the availability of food at the household level is not always correlated with the supply of food at the national one. It means that there is a need to focus on the household-level (socially vulnerable groups) when assessing the food and nutrition situation. Only then are visible the different household characteristics that determine the household risk of food insecurity, which is critical to formulating and assessing food security policy.
The author's research orientation at VNUA includes two main goals: (1) Expanding knowledge and research methodology in the field of measuring food security at the household level based on well-established expertise of Vietnamese researcher from VNUA in order to use these methods to measure food security in developed countries, including Poland and (2) Assessment of the latest trends in food security in Asian countries as the continent with the largest number of people struggling with the problem of food security.
In addition, Associate Professor. Poczta-Wajda also introduced PUEB with nine affiliated institutes, teaching many fields such as Economics, Management with many University and Master's majors taught in English. PUEB currently has 7,500 students and graduate students, 82 graduate students, and nearly 1,000 staff and lecturers.
The Seminar has attracted the attention of not only lecturers and researchers inside and outside the Faculty of Economics and Rural Development but also of students studying at the school. The presentation opens a new perspective on the issue of food security not only in developing countries, but also in developed countries like Poland.