Towards Food Sustainability: Reshaping the coexistence of different food systems in South America and Africa
Despite of significant technological transformations in food production, more than 800 million people still suffer from hunger worldwide and many more from chronic undernutrition. Many scientists agree that food security is not in the first place related to production levels: Today, more than enough food for everyone is being produced according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. There is consensus that the principal cause of food insecurity is poverty and inequality, which is exacerbated by the environmental degradation caused by Green Revolution production logic and the impacts of climate change. There is also wide consensus that the major challenge to feed 9 billion people in 2050 is not primarily to increase productivity, but to reorient national to global food and agricultural policies to allow an advancement from the normative goal of ‘food security’ to ‘food sustainability’.
This six-year research project aims at establishing food sustainability as a framework for investigating food systems and for developing policy recommendations. The framework integrates five principle pillars with respective indicators: food security, the human right to food, the reduction of poverty and inequality, environmental sustainability, and social-ecological resilience.
Using this framework, an interdisciplinary team studies different food systems in Kenya and Bolivia in terms of different food system activities from food production to consumption. We take into account a diversity of coexisting, albeit often conflicting food systems, including those of small-scale family farmers, indigenous communities, and medium and large-scale industrialized food producers.
Research is being organized in four modules, embracing the legal-political context, institutions and actors, value chains and related livelihoods, as well as environmental impacts and the resilience of the different food systems. Based on the results, policy recommendations and transformative pilot actions together with different actors from the food systems are intended to contribute to improve the sustainability of different food systems as well as their forms of interaction.
Responsible applicant: Prof. Dr. Stephen Rist, Centre for Development and Environment CDE, University of Bern
Co-applicants: Dr. Christophe Golay, Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights, Graduate Institute, Geneva
Prof. Dr. Thomas Cottier, World Trade Institute WTI, University of Bern
Dr. J. M. Freddy Delgado Burgoa, Agroecologia Universidad Cochabamba AGRUCO - Probioma, Bolivia
Dr. Boniface P. Kiteme, Centre for Training and Integrated Research for ASAL Development CETRAD, Nanyuki, Kenya
Prof. Dr. Tobias Haller, Institute of Social Anthropology, University of Bern
Prof. Dr. Chinwe Ifejika Speranza, Center for Development and Environment CDE, Uinversity of Bern & German Development Institute DIE, Bonn