Food sovereignty – towards localised food systems

Kirtana Chandrasekaran Friends of the Earth International

What’s the problem?
• Industrial agriculture is one of the biggest contributors to environmental damage, with direct and indirect impacts on the Right to Food and FS • Yet, the multifunctionality of agriculture means it can address crises of energy, food, poverty, inequality, water, • There is not enough new land or other resources to expand agriculture without massive social and environmental consequence • Desperately need a return to agriculture that breaks with the industrial, agro-export, input heavy model of the recent past • This means we need to change production and consumption and need regulation of the food system • We need to relocalise the food system and change power structures so food works for people not corporations

“Habitat conversion to intensive agriculture leads to reductions in native biodiversity…. around 43% of tropical and subtropical dry and monsoon forests and 45% of temperate broadleaf and mixed forests globally have been converted to croplands. ” Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, 2005

Industrial agriculture

“Emphasis on increasing yields and productivity has in some cases had negative consequences on environmental sustainability. For instance, 1.9 billion ha (and 2.6 billion people) today are affected by significant levels of land degradation.” IAASTD, 2008

Vicious Circle
“The bulk of emissions from deforestation arise when the land is converted to agricultural production. “ Stern Review on Economics of Climate Change, 2006

“… yields from rain-fed agriculture could be reduced by upto 50% by 2020.” IPCC, 2007

Environmental limits?
• Over one third of global GHG emissions come from agriculture and land-use change

• An additional 500 Million ha will be cleared by 2020 – mostly from South America and Sub-Saharan Africa

• Livestock – 8% of freshwater supply

Environmental justice?
Monocultures have displaced 5 million farmers in Indonesia, 5 million in Brazil and 4 million in Columbia 2/3 of the poor and hungry and farmers YET.. Most of the world is fed by small scale farming

Sustainable economics?
• 3 companies control 90% of global grain trade • 3 companies control 50% of commercial seeds. 1 controls nearly a quarter! • 1 company controls quarter of meat eaten in US (prob more now) • 1 company controls 85% of layer breeding market

Food Sovereignty
‘Food sovereignty is the right of peoples to healthy and culturally appropriate food produced through ecologically sound and sustainable methods, and their right to define their own food and agriculture systems.’ (Declaration of Nyéléni, 2007) In the urban context this means the ability to buy such food sourced locally and regionally from a network of diverse retail outlets and markets, which needs the building the bridges between those who produce and consume food.

La Via Campesina - Six principles
2 3 4 5 6

Focuses on Food for People and Right to Food, rather than export commodities Values Food Providers and respects their Rights, rather than squeezing them off the land Localises Food Systems, rather than promoting unfair global trade Puts Control Locally, rather than remote TNCs Builds Knowledge and Skills, rather than depending on alien technologies such as GM Works with Nature, rather than using methods that harm beneficial ecosystem functions, such as energy intensive monocultures and livestock factories.

Real solutions
IAASTD - Investing in agro ecological and organic farming, ensuring poor farmers have control over resources, creating more equitable trade agreements, and increasing local participation in policy-formation and other decision-making processes – Bob Watson, DEFRA chief scientist

“Organic agriculture can increase agricultural productivity and can raise incomes with low-cost, locally available and appropriate technologies, without causing environmental damage” Organic Agriculture and Food Security in Africa, UNEP-UNCTAD

IAASTD – 22 key findings

IAASTD – 22 key findings

What’s in a name?

What’s in a name?
Incredible Edible Todmorden aims to increase the amount of local food grown and eaten in the town. Businesses, schools, farmers and the community are all involved. Vegetables and fruit are springing up everywhere. Public flower beds are being transformed into community herb gardens and vegetable patches.

What’s in a name?

Its not ONLY local…

...Or apolitical
Food Sovereignty, including the Human Right to adequate Food, devolves power to the people

Food Security, which keeps control in the hands of existing power holders It is silent on Provenance Quality Control

Common Agricultural Policy
• Big farms get most money • No incentives to change to low impact production • Tries to create a market for environmental benefits • WTO lead – Food is a commodity not to feed Europe • No regulation – surplus and export subsidies still allow dumping BUT… • …Its up for REFORM!!!

Explosion in production and consumption

Source: Source: World Watch Institute, 2008

Global livestock production will double by 2050, 80% of this is in Industrial systems

Europe’s land grab
• EU-27: Soybean acreage needed for livestock consumption every year: 10,582,228 ha • Since 1996, the amount of land needed to produce soy for the European market is roughly equal to the area of deforestation in Brazilian forests

CAP Food Sovereignty Movement in Europe? What does food sovereignty really mean
Change the CAP towards food sovereignty


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