The enormous challenge of overcoming poverty and hunger in an era of climate shocks cannot be solved without realizing food sovereignty. We understand «sovereignty» on one hand, as political participation: many actors in agriculture and within the food system – small farmers, agricultural workers, informal traders, etc. – belong to the oppressed, politically marginalized classes. They must be able to defend their rights and collectively articulate their interests. On the other hand, we understand «sovereignty» as control over resources such as seeds, water and land, as well as access to markets, knowledge and capital.
Food sovereignty requires a radical, left-wing policy shift. Rather than drastic policies of «free trade», the proliferation of technology packages proffered by transnational agrochemicals and the integration of a small number of farms into a regulated supply chain of supermarkets and food companies, states must develop broad-based strategies. These include promoting partnerships between researchers and farm producers, agro-ecological approaches, building infrastructure to strengthen informal domestic markets, providing new technologies for public use, and enforcing basic social rights such as the rights of agricultural workers.
A particular focus of our work is on strengthening social movements and the self-organization of farm workers, small farmers and other marginalized groups in rural areas. Central partner organizations of the Rosa-Luxemburg-Stiftung include members of the global farmers’ movement La Via Campesina. One of 20 actors organized in the «International Planning Committee for Food Sovereignty» is the International Federation of Agricultural and Food Workers (IUF), with which we also collaborate.