800 million people continue to suffer globally from hunger, even though enough food is being produced. In particular, it is unfair that two thirds of them live in rural areas – namely, where our food is produced. One of their main problems is a lack of co-determination rights. Therefore, SWISSAID is campaigning for food sovereignty – the right of everyone to determine their own agricultural and food policy and to produce food ecologically, socially and locally.
Nature is the best model: based on the functioning of natural ecosystems nature’s interdependencies are deliberately harnessed and promoted in organic farming and agroecology. In this way, hunger can be biologically combatted with appropriate practices, local seed and a combination of traditional and modern knowledge.
Expensive and patented high-tech seeds, in particular those which have been genetically modified, are of no benefit to farming families because they have to be bought new every year. In addition, the rights of the farmers are restricted, denying them the ability to decide how to use their seeds. Up to now, the promises of genetic engineering have not been met; quite the contrary in fact: The social and ecological problems have worsened. The sustainable battle against hunger has changed.
Gender equality plays a central role for SWISSAID, and not only in our project work. We believe that both women and men should have equal opportunity, in all areas of work and at all institutional levels, to pursue their interests, contribute their needs and ideas and be treated with respect.
You would think that countries that have oil, gold or diamonds would be wealthy but in reality, the opposite is frequently the case. Mineral resources are more of a curse than a blessing, because they encourage corruption, armed conflict and environmental pollution. The good news is that there are remedies.
The activities of multinational companies continue to have negative ecological and social consequences in developing countries. SWISSAID calls for big business to comply with the rules for maintaining international environmental and human rights standards.
It’s actually absurd: although the region is fertile, almost the only onions available in Guinea-Bissau are imported from Senegal and Holland. But domestic cultivation only has positives: it is an effective way of fighting hunger and providing families with urgently needed cash.