Responses to Food Challenges

CHOGM discussion held on Tuesday 24th November 2015 at the Corinthia San Gorg Hotel, Malta

Chair: Ms. Gizele Yasmeen

Rapporteur: Jeanette Borg

chogm-logo-06-resized

Speakers:    

Mr. Peppi Gauci: Permaculturalist

Ms. Elizabeth Mpofu: Organic farmer from Zimbabue

Mr. Renwick Rose: Specialised in Fair Trade Bananas

 

Introduction by Chair

  • Dispute the question: Do we have enough to feed the world?
  • Gender issues: as societies shifted, priorities shifted and women are having less children.
  • What is that we eat and what food choices to people take?
  • Fundamental question: pricing, distribution, access and post harvesting losses
  • Poverty issues and entitlements
  • Food debate has a lot to do with politics and leadership.
  • Global population has a lot to do with all the issue of food security.
  • Role of Science and Technology

 

Peppi Gauci

Permaculture is not just about cultivation of food, it is an interdisciplinary science

Principles involve earth, people care and sharing of resources

We are being faced by several challenges due to conventional agriculture

Thirty years ago, two Australians started off this movement.

Cycles, diversity and resilience are what make nature strong.

Nature always tried to reshape itself by building resources.

Resource Adaptation: water capture and awareness amongst users, soil conservation and working together to produce food

The demand is high but should we use spaces more efficiently; cultivate more in less space. The idea of urban farms, vertical gardens and aquaponics.

Policy makers need to provide incentives to young farmers

Chair asked first speaker a clarification: How would you explain the relationship between permaculture between sustainable agriculture and other common/similar terms?

Mr. Gauci explained that permaculture includes all of the activities, human beings and all the relationships amongst us and the environment. Outputs and inputs needs to be matched and efficiency needs to be a priority. Awareness about responsibility of actions especially amongst young people who have a future ahead.

 

Elizabeth Mpofu

Focused of food sovereignty and food challenges.

The producers are really suffering due to climate crisis, migration, malnutrition and high mortality.

La Via Campesina calls for the adoption of food sovereignty, to change the industrial system.

Food producers call for food sovereignty as it prioritizes local food systems and natural resources.

Food security is often discussed by politicians who do not really care where the food is coming from and how it was produced

Making use of agricultural inputs is common in industrialised agriculture.

Policies which we are witnessing now have been around for many years

Land grabbing brought about displacement of native producers

Taking away land from the people in order to allocate land for other purposes

We are producing enough, but how are we trying to preserve this food?

The system is not allowing food to stay safe for long enough so much of it is being thrown away

Cheap labour is still being exercised

Policies need to support agro-ecology, schools made up of farmers who share their experiences rather than class room type of education

Speaker calls on governments to stop TTIP, TPP, support farmers’ rights and adopt an international treaty on plant genetic resources for food and agriculture, as well as to empower women.

Food producers bring about practical actions so they need to be given the chance to participate in debates.

Many farmers have never received any assistance.

Renwick Rose

Farmers are facing problems that are wider and have global implications

Historically, the indigenous people started off at a subsistence level but evolved into slavery.

Land was occupied to produce few main crops and farmers produced what the market wanted

A ten-hectare farm is considered to be a big farm in the context of the Caribbean

Exports in a protected market, for example exports to the UK were strong, until the UK joined the EU, and rules changed

In order to deal with all the current problems, co-operation is key

Small producers in the Caribbean built alliances with people in the EU who seriously want fair trade

Building alliances with people who have the same interest is the most important way forward

Nearly 40% of farmers in the Eastern Caribbean are women

 

Discussion

Intervention 1: Mario Gerada from Malta

Food security is a cross cutting theme that emerged in all the discussions at the people’s forum.

Intervention 2: David from the Peoples Health Movement

Global trade and financial architecture; WTO, new trade agreements which

SDGs are not taking into consideration these trade agreement challenges.

8th SDG talks about increasing export led growth in poor countries

SDGs have been poorly tackled in these discussions.

Intervention 3: Speaker from India

Lack of storage capacity and transport costs as problems not allowing small farmers to grow.

Intervention 4: Suzanne Piscopo from the University of Malta

Food literacy needs to be taken into account and brought forward to policy makers.

Education is an important investment.

 

Further comments from Panel

Mr. Rose commented about trade agreements and contradictions in today’s world. We are signing agreements but not putting them into place. Improvements need to be continuous and made of small victories.

Mr. Gauci added on that teachers in Malta who take the initiative of visiting farms, are thirsty for more knowledge. We lack links and respect for the whole system that produces food. He commented that he feels that people change when they visit farms and expose themselves to knowledge.

Ms. Mpofu said that sometimes politicians sign agreements hastily without consulting and discussing with local communities.

Ms. Yasmeen, added that she has seen a waste water fed aquaculture system and traditionally it was a nice combination. Fish and plants were being harvested. The white revolution in India brought about investment in very small producers. Instead of displacing small producers the initiative involved in roping in women to rear cattle and creating a distribution system.

Last but not least, Ms. Yasmeen, mentioned FAO and targets to eradicate hunger in the world.

 

Sources

http://cpf.commonwealthfoundation.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/CPF_2015_programme_download.pdf

https://chogm2015.mt/

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