Theme 1 - Key Lessons

Dejo Olowu North-West University, Mafikeng, South Africa

The lessons learnt are that for potential solutions to the food crisis to be realised, flagrant violations of all human rights, including the rights to food must be recognised and prevented, and that participation of all stakeholders – including vulnerable women, youth, indigenous people and other marginalised population groups – in the formulation, planning, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of all development planning and programmes results in fairer access to means of production and better dividends for the poor from national economic growth.

Among the key lessons learnt from all available indices is that in a world that is richer than ever before and that already produces more than enough food to feed the global population, we need political solutions, rather than complicated technical solutions to get rid of hunger. The global food crisis has reinforced two issues about the future of agriculture: the first is that a growing world population, higher incomes and changes in diet are pushing up global demand for food faster than farmers can supply it, and the second is that throwing up new barriers to farm trade on this congested planet is not the path to solution. Getting rid of hunger should therefore not only be a question of finding resources and developing new technologies. It is also a question of challenging structural inequities, imbalances in gender relations and other socio-economic inequalities. The overarching premise of my argument is that an integrative rights-based approach is sine qua non to effectively curtail hunger.