What is Food Sovereignty?
Food sovereignty is the peoples´, countries´ or groups of countries´ right to define their agricultural and food policy, without any dumping vis-à-vis third countries. Food sovereignty includes:
- prioritising local agricultural production in order to feed the people, access of peasants and landless people to land, water, seeds and credit. Hence the need for land reform, for fighting against GMOs (genetically modified organisms), for free access to seeds, and for safeguarding water as a public good to be sustainably distributed.
- the right of farmers, peasants to produce food and the right of consumers to be able to decide what they consume, and how and by whom it is produced.
- the right of countries to protect themselves from too low priced agricultural and food imports.
- agricultural prices linked to production costs: they can be achieved if the countries or unions of states are entitled to impose taxes on excessively cheap imports, if they commit themselves in favour of a sustainable farm production, and if they control production on the inner market so as to avoid structural surpluses.
- the population taking part in the agricultural policy choices.
- the recognition of women farmers´ rights, who play a major role in agricultural production and in food.
Where does the concept come from?
The concept was brought to the public debate during the World Food Summit in 1996 by Via Campesina and represents an alternative to neoliberal policies. Since then, that concept has become a major issue of the international agricultural debate, even within the United Nations bodies. A lot of farmer-, fisher- and rural organisations have made food sovereignty to their main objective, so MIJARC in 2003 during the World Coordination in Brasil.