Food Sovereignty

Food sovereignty, product diversification and local fair trade are necessary bets for building more sustainable and resilient food systems.

Small producer organizations of fair trade, coordinated at a regional level through CLAC, have included food sovereignty as part of their work cross-cutting themes. From that it becomes apparent that Food Sovereignty is not just about ensuring access to food, but also ensuring people’s (especially rural) right to build an appropriate production, distribution and consumption model for their local reality. Said model must be compatible with the planet and mother earth’s sustainability, inclusive and in search of greater equality.

Alongside food sovereignty, several peasant movements in the world are promoting agroecology as a “way of being, living and producing”, and also as a “social, cultural and political process”, that harmonizes relations between nature and human beings. Likewise, it looks for territory revaluation, defense of water and native seeds, cultural and ancestral heritage of rural villages. Alongside social and peasant movements, for example MAELA (Latin American and the Caribbean Agroecological Movement), there are several non-governmental organizations and research centers that accompany small producers, indigenous communities and peasant organizations in their research, awareness and advocacy processes.

For example, GRAIN “a small international non-profit organization that works to support small farmers and social movements in their struggles for community-controlled and biodiversity-based food systems”. They are good examples of players actively involved in the promotion of food sovereignty, agroecology and the right for a healthy, nutritious and accessible food.

Agroecology and productive diversity

As CLAC, since the movement for a fair and solidary trade, we view with concern these aspects. The current challenges, especially from the negative effects of climate change, that are becoming more obvious and concerning every day for our members, have led us to think more deeply about the necessity of encouraging and highlighting the productive diversification processes, for different reasons:

  1. Productive diversification in land plots allows to expand the diet of peasant families, with very important effects in people’s nutritional balance and food sovereignty of rural communities.
  2. Productive diversification, especially in agroecological crops, agroforestry systems or with ecological restoration, allows to keep alive the land, restore organic matter and re-establish good levels of biodiversity, that have been losing in monoculture, genetically modified crops, etc. Also, these productive methodologies facilitate a better adaptation of crops for climate change.
  3. Productive diversification (not just on a farm level, but also towards other links of the productive/commercial chain, including finished products of higher added value) allows local and national market growth, reducing dependence on external factors, building economic and food sovereignty, generating new solidarity-based economy relations between local and national players. Furthermore, these new relations encourage greater youth and women inclusion in productive and commercial activities of the same community organizations.

CLAC’s public call

From the Latin American and Caribbean Network of Fair Trade Small Producers and Workers – CLAC –, we call upon the players from the public, private, civil society and solidarity-based economy sector to take concrete actions to defend food sovereignty of towns and promote agroecology, a diversified and sustainable agriculture and their links with solidarity-based economy experiences, including fair trade. Our rural farmers and workers need conscious and committed consumers. Responsible consumption will always be in hand with a more fair, supportive and equal trade.

With the commitment from all the players of the chain we can build more sustainable and resilient food systems, guaranteeing everyone the right to healthy and nutritious food and betting on less exclusionary and unsustainable production and consumption patterns than those that already exist.

Do not hesitate to contact CLAC to help you solve any questions regarding our work and the beneficial impact that Fair Trade has in our organizations, networks, territory and society.

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