Glopolis is a non-partisan, non-governmental organization which focuses on the analysis of economic globalization, trade, development, agriculture and climate change.
Small steps in the Czech Republic towards sustainable agricultural production and consumption.
“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.” (Definition of food sovereignty from the Declaration of Nyéléni – Forum for Food Sovereignty 2007)
The notion of food sovereignty is rooted in the refusal of farmers, peasants and other food producers and civic organizations to see their domestic food markets subject to the vagaries of international market forces. It is now an increasingly used concept in the development debate seeking more control over food production, trade, and consumption. There is a difference between food security and food sovereignty, the first one setting the goal, the other defining the way to realize it. Food security means that all people have physical and economic access to basic food at all times, as defined by the United Nations.
The main determinant of food insecurity is the vulnerability of people, which in turn is induced by poverty. Poverty makes people unable to feed themselves, i.e. to produce sufficient and adequate food or to raise sufficient income to buy food. Poverty eradication is thus a key factor in the achievement of household food security. For that to happen, the specificity of small-scale agriculture must be recognized as being the main source of income and livelihood for the poor in several developing countries, especially in Africa (approximately 80% of Africa’s poor live in rural areas).
This is where food sovereignty, a concept born from civic mobilization, comes to the forefront as it is a policy framework that underlines the right of nations and their people to define their own food production systems (production, distribution, and consumption) without having to depend on the fluctuating international markets. It is thus not possible to fully realize food sovereignty without controlling the main determinants of agricultural policies today, i.e. rules regarding tariffs and domestic supports, which are decided within trade policies (especially through the World Trade Organization.
For more information download the Fact Sheet Food Sovereignty As a Way to Achieve Food Security (PDF, 44 KB)