Corporate control of agriculture exemplified by large-scale, industrialised farming based on mono-cropping production, land concentration and trade liberalisation has adversely caused widespread disempowerment of small producers over food and significant loss of biodiversity. Corporate control further exacerbates poverty and landlessness among rural communities, particularly among small food producers.
With governments embracing and promoting corporate globalisation, land use conversation becomes a norm, small farmers lose their right to productive resources to produce their own food and their decision making power to decide on policies that affect their livelihood and their future.
Food sovereignty was born in response of the small food producers and rural communities to the failure of corporate and state control to realise the people’s right to food and put an end to hunger. It proposes a set of precise policy measures focusing on food for people, localising food systems, putting control of resources to small food producers, and taking into consideration sustainable production through biodiversity-based ecological agriculture.
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. Food Sovereignty is a departure from the narrow definition of food security as the latter only seeks “access to sufficient, safe, nutritious food”. Food security does not recognise the right of people, particularly small food producers to have access to productive resources and decision making to produce their own food.
The rights of small food producers, landless peasants and agricultural workers, indigenous peoples for self-determination, and women’s empowerment in food and agriculture are part of this great effort; and are directly linked to the right to life and livelihoods.
PAN AP, together with its partners, has facilitated the development of a Module on Food Sovereignty has extensively been used in awareness-raising and building capacity of various groups that wish to advocate for food sovereignty. In 2004, PAN AP and its partners organised the historic People’s Caravan for Food Sovereignty that mobilised more than a million people in 13 countries, demanding for the recognition and implementation of food sovereignty.