Monday, March 10, 2014

Food system that fails poor countries needs urgent reform, says UN expert

Mark Tran in the global development blog at the Guardian (UK): The existing food system has failed and needs urgent reform, according to a UN expert who argues there should be a greater emphasis on local food production and an overhaul of trade policies that have led to overproduction in rich countries while obliging poor countries – which are often dependent on agriculture – to import food.

In his final report , Olivier De Schutter, the UN special rapporteur on the right to food, offers a detailed critique of an industrial system of agriculture that has boosted food production over the past 50 years, yet still leaves 842 million – 12% of the world's population – hungry.

"Measured against the requirement that they should contribute to the realisation of the right to food, the food systems we have inherited from the 20th century have failed," he told the UN human rights council. "Of course, significant progress has been achieved in boosting agricultural production. But this has hardly reduced the number of hungry people."

The right to food is defined as the right of every individual to have physical and economic access at all times to sufficient, adequate and culturally acceptable food that is produced and consumed sustainably, preserving access to food for future generations...

In India, a "metate" is used to process grain, shot by Fotokannan, Wikimedia Commons, under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license 

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