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The food system: governance, faultlines, challenges y paradigms

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This presentation (delivered at a two-day course on governance of food systems) describes the main tensions and contradictions of the current food system. The industrial food system do not feed adequately all human beings, being the main driver of planetary destruction. The balance of power between different stakeholders in the system and how its affects hunger and obesity are analyzed. Challenges to the dominant paradigms are explained and political, legal and social options are presented, amongst those the alterntive worldview of food as a commons. This text emphasizes a political vision of a public asset we all dependent on: food.

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The food system: governance, faultlines, challenges y paradigms

  1. 1. The Food System Governance, tensions, challenges, paradigms JOSE LUIS VIVERO POL 20-21 Sept, Doctoral Seminar, University Seville
  2. 2. HUNGER DAMAGES THE BRAIN Malnourished child brain Well nourished child brain
  3. 3. 3 STUNTINGduringfirstthre yearsisIRREVERSIBLE Well- nourished child neurone Malnourished Child Neurone
  4. 4. Hunger in Africa
  5. 5. Hunger in Latin America
  6. 6. Hunger in Spain
  7. 7. OUR HOME
  8. 8. Planetary Boundaries
  9. 9. • Food system is the greatest driver of Earth transformation Low cost food system: • a) Low food prices that do not reflect either food’s multiple values to humans or production costs and environmental externalities, • (b) overemphasis of hyper-caloric, unhealthy and ultra- processed food • (c) hugely subsidised by citizen’s taxes through governments, • (d) wasted by tonnes in illogical and inefficient food chains • e) destructive of limited natural resources, contributing to climate change and biodiversity reduction. • Many eat poorly (the hungry of Global South) to enable others to eat badly & cheaply (the over-weighted of North)
  10. 10. Industrial Food System produces 30-40% of total food
  11. 11. Small farming System produces 60- 70% of total food
  12. 12. Corporations control 80% of food exports
  13. 13. 14 HUNGER GAMES: PLAYING WITH NUMBERS
  14. 14. 16 795 MILLION HUNGRY PEOPLE
  15. 15. According to “The State fo Food Insecurity in 2015” (FAO-WFP-IFAD, 2015), hunger affects 795 million people now, 216 millon less that in 1990 (from 23.3% a 12.9%) Out of those, 155 millon correspond to China (72%)
  16. 16. Africa is doing badly
  17. 17. Although Food pikes reduced caloric intake in poor households…
  18. 18. …no effect was detected by FAO statistics
  19. 19. Angola: best anti-hunger performer in the world (two data, latest from 2009, SOFI 2015)
  20. 20. A tale of two hungers
  21. 21. 17 M households 7 M households Food price effect
  22. 22. 27
  23. 23. HUNGER IN UK
  24. 24. 30 EU Food Charity Non universal Non accountable Non demandable No right holders and duty bearers Money-restricted 3.8 Billion € in 7 years
  25. 25. 31
  26. 26. 32 The paradox of the INDUSTRIAL FOOD SYSTEM Foto: Patty´s Flickr Creative Commons
  27. 27. The food sector is the 2nd biggest: A BIG CAKE (10% GDP & 7 trillion USD in 2015)
  28. 28. 34
  29. 29. 35 160 million chronically malnourished 19 million severely wasted children HUNGER is largest contributor (35%) to child mortality 1.4 BILLION OVERWEIGHT (300 MILLION OBESE) 2.3 BILLION MALNOURISHED PEOPLE – WE EAT BADLY
  30. 30. 36 OBESITY
  31. 31. 38 Food System Paradoxes FOOD PRODUCERS STAY HUNGRY 800 million hungry people, or more (SPI 2013) 70% are food producers FOOD KILLS PEOPLE Food-related diseases are a primary cause of death (6.5 M deaths per year). FOOD IS (INCREASINGLY) NOT FOR HUMANS 47% of food for human consumption, FOOD IS WASTED 1.3 billion tons end up in the garbage every year (1/3 of global food production) enough to feed 600 million hungry people. Foto: Fringe Hoj Flickr Creative Commons
  32. 32. 39 WASTED FOOD (33%) 1.3 billion tonnes (to feed 600 million hungry people)
  33. 33. 40 The actual way of producing, distributing and eating food is unsustainable and it cannot be maintained as a such for the next 50 years IAASTD (2008) UNEP (2009) UNCTAD (2013)UK Foresight (2011)
  34. 34. How the global food system is governed?
  35. 35. 42 “FOOD AND NUTRITION SECURITY exists when…” Technocrats, technicians, official statements, consensus Twin track approach (production & acces to food) No questioning food is a commodity: ACCESS IS THE MAIN ISSUE OFICIAL DEFINITION World Food Summits 1996 & 2002 Foto: FAO
  36. 36. 45 Paradigms
  37. 37. Dominant state-driven transition to get rid of old knowledge/varieties (backwardness) as they didn´t fit with modernization of agriculture. Stringent legal frameworks (IP rights & safety regulations) + political (dis)incentives replaced open local landraces by modern patent- restricted varieties. Alternative transition: citizens/state-driven to reclaim the commons, sustainable agriculture, meaningful landscapes & communal practices that reinforce connectedness, social & economic benefits & pleasure in doing things with others. Agro-biodiversity
  38. 38. The way we produce and eat food will greatly determine the likelihood of human presence on this planet

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