On March 29th people gathered at Birmingham Friends of the Earth Centre to meet Dr. Jasber Singh.
All present learnt a great deal, judging from the questions, and CHSUK hopes to post more of Jasber’s thoughtful and well-informed views and project work on this site.
He outlined the failing bio-fuel project in Andhra Pradesh, a large-scale diversion of land from food growing. Land, designated for convenience as wasteland, is being used to grow plantations of Jatropha and Pongamia destined to produce agro-fuels, biodiesel. The results obtained in the laboratory have not been replicated in AP and some farmers have cleared the land and returned to growing food.
Mr Singh’s work relates closely to Food Sovereignty thinking – as distinct from that on Right to Food and Food Security.
Food Security was re-defined at the World Food Summit, 1996: ‘all people at all times have physical and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food to meet dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life’.
However some interpretations of Food Security allow and even encourage corporations to flood markets with cheap food, undermining small farmers and leaving them even more vulnerable.
Food Sovereignty is a global movement in which Via Campesina is playing a leading role. It examines where the food comes from, who produces it and the conditions under which it is grown. It aims to reverse the power dynamics, ensuring that producers are at the fore of the new food systems and decisions are not made in business rooms or in global power centers, but localised and producer led.
The movement sees Food Sovereignty as a precondition to genuine food security, moving towards preserving and recovering indigenous food systems which are rich in bio-cultural diversity.
Food Sovereignty has a holistic approach, including the ecological, political and social aspects disregarded and disrupted by mainstream practice.