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Summary Interest in ‘food security’ has been on a rising trend through the late 1980's, especially in sub-Saharan Africa. However, the paper finds that the term ‘food security’ is used in different ways and that partly as a result there are different approaches to food security planning. There are also different views on some of the key issues in food security: agricultural growth, market intervention, targeting. Here the paper finds a retreat from ideology into a pragmatic, case by case approach. Food security will continue to be prominent in the 1990's and five issues will dominate the agenda: the meaning and measurement of food insecurity; structural reform of food systems; improved targeting in SSA; the future of food aid; and the strengthening of rural and urban safety nets.