In 1996, members of La Via Campesina sought to overthrow the corporate demands of the foods that were produced by farmers and in turn, give back the owner the power to distribute, produce and consume.
The right of the people to choose what they eat and what they consider culturally and physically appropriate are also important when one talks about food sovereignty.Although the movement itself is extremely young, there are plenty of countries that have made a conscious effort in making foods systems that can act as a substitute to what exists right now.
After Ecuador made the changes to include food sovereignty in its constitution in late 2008, the country is now looking to stretch this provision. They seek to achieve this by banning the use of GMOs.
The constitutional provision also protects areas of the country that are rich in non-renewable sources from over-extraction.By doing so, monoculture is discouraged heavily whereas biodiversity is protected. The latter is done by marking biodiversity as an IP. Other countries have followed, and these countries include Nepal, Senegal, and Mali.
Let us now look at the reasons why food sovereignty is important
1. Food provider is respected
There are countless instances where the farmers are subjected to violence and racism and most of this done by corporate landowners and the government as well. They are also subjected to harsh, exploitative labour, and in some instances, the labor is bonded. Gender equality is also challenged since the women that produce foods in the global south are often neglected and ignored for the work that they do. The right to work as well as to live is protected in food sovereignty.
2. Local food control
Instead of huge corporations assuming control over the trade and production, not to mention the water, seeds, and land, these are given to the local providers so that their rights are respected. These foods are then shared in ways that encourage sustainability.
3. Local food systems
Since food is an essential component in increasing as well as maintaining the health of a community, whatever is produced in the region is first given to the boost local provisions without prioritizing distant market trades and exporting.
Food sovereignty focuses on providing food that is healthy, and due to this, food production practices that are native to a region should be encouraged so that in turn, diversity is also supported in the process. Food shouldn’t be seen as something that can be made a profit out of.