UN Special Rapporteur asks for strengthening of local food systems

Posted on July 18, 2011

On an official mission to South Africa, Prof de Schutter participated in an expert meeting on agriculture in South Africa and presented a paper The role of the right to food in guiding agricultural development in the framework of the Brown Bag seminars organised by the Postgraduate School of Agriculture and Rural Development (Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences) and the Public Policy and Governance Platform. ”Whether these shocks will lead to increased levels of hunger and malnutrition and of inequality and poverty will depend on the choices made by governments, particularly in developing countries.” Although he acknowledges that a lot has been achieved since the shock of the 2007-2008 food price crises, more is still to be done.

During his speech Prof De Schutter called for the strengthening and restructuring of the local food systems and policies, which have been neglected, with an intensified focus on small-scale farmers. He also called for a better governance of food chains, with significant attention to micro-level, strengthened farmer’s organizations and regulatory measures leading to more equitable food-chains; and emphasised the importance of a transition from input-intensive industrial farming towards agro-ecological farming systems, promoted to be socially and environmentally more sustainable.

The general objectives of the Special Rapporteur’s mission, including in South Africa, includes to examine and report on the enjoyment of the right to food and other related rights, with particular attention to equality and non-discrimination. He will also engage in dialogues with governments and civil societies in their efforts to secure the right to food for everybody, in particular the poor; as well as aim to identify practical solutions and best practices in the realisation of the right to food and other rights.

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