In order to mitigate the problem of hunger and poverty, it is necessary to improve the possibilities for subsistence and create jobs where people live while also ensuring that adequate nourishing food is available locally. Emphasis must be placed on the development of local economies and systems for producing food, the potential of which is enormous.
Focusing on local issues does not mean that the broader picture and markets are not important in efforts to create an effective, fair and sustainable food system. There is certainly still room for the global food trade. However, local communities should be able to democratically decide on their own policy and investment priorities – local, national, regional and global.
Of key importance is the fact that a large part of the profits from local production remain in the local economy and in the system of food production. This primarily concerns access to food, economic benefit, environmental resiliency, women’s rights and social and cultural vitality. International trade rules, investment agreements and policies and even the lending conditions of international finance institutions and regional development banks must provide adequate room in this sense.
In 2014, Glopolis became a partner in a three-year European Commission project entitled ‘Farmers’ Organisations as Key Actors in the Production of Rice in West Africa’. The project involves cooperation between European non-profit organisations and African farmers’ groups with the goal of ensuring the local and sustainable production of rice and strengthening the role of small farmers growing this crop in order to increase food security in this region.