Cornstalk in Ghana

Cornstalk in Ghana

Yash Tandon writes at Pambazuka that there are:

… five basic guidelines, or principles, that must form the basis of any food policy. These are:

1. The Principle of food sovereignty. This is not the same as “food security”. A country can have food security through food imports. Dependence on food imports is precarious and prone to multiple risks — from price risks, to supply risks, to conditionality risks (policy conditions that come with food imports). Food sovereignty, on the other hand, implies ensuring domestic production and supply of food. It means that the nationals of the country (or at the very least nationals within the region) must primarily be responsible for ensuring that the nation and the region are first and foremost dependent on their own efforts and resources to grow their basic foods.

2. The Principle of priority of food over export crops produced by small farms sustained by state provision of the necessary infrastructure of financial credit, water, energy, extension service, transport, storage, marketing, and insurance against crop failures due to climate changes or other unforeseen circumstances.

3. The Principle of self-reliance and national ownership and control over the main resources for food production. These are land, seeds, water, energy, essential fertilizers and technology and equipment (for production, harvesting, storage and transport).

4. The Principle of food safety reserves. Each nation must maintain, through primarily domestic production and storage systems (including village storage as well as national silos) sufficient stocks of “reserve foods” to provide for emergencies.

5. The Principle of a fair and equitable distribution of “reserve foods” among the population during emergencies.

He concludes:

A proper analysis of the food crisis is a matter that cannot be left with trade negotiators, investment experts, or agricultural engineers. It is essentially a matter of political economy.

Which is very similar to what Vandana Shiva writes:

In a democracy, the economic agenda is the political agenda.