Re: Mainstreaming Food Security into Peacebuilding Processes

Laetitia van Haren World Watch Food Tank/ Synergeis for Biological and Cultural ...
12.12.2013

Ensure safe access to the market and no "ponctionnement", that is, remove barrriers (whether they exist in the form of road blocks or individuals with guns holding up assers-by)  on the road towards the market where those bringing produce to sell have to give some of their produce to one "access controller" after another,  where police, militia, local administrors or plain thugs serve themselves unlawfully and sometimes even violently.

Ensure public safety in general so that all people, including women and children, can go to the fields or go wherever they want or need close or far, for safe pedestrian mobility is the condition sine qua non for re-establishing food security, whether by farming one's own plot, working on someone else's land or earning one's livelihood in another manner.

Ensure that young people are also included both in the pacification and in the reconstruction process, also young, poorly or uneducated farmers, and even young slum dwellers. Give them some training if necessary, but involve them, because it is the repressed, unemployed and futureless youth that is the best fodder for cannons and corrupt politicians seeking to create a climate of terror.

Ensure the creation of re-opening in a fair manner of producers' ( and other) cooperatives. If the cooperatives have been corrupted by power  shifts caused or produced by the conflict, unfortunately most often towards more inequality, then either work towards correcting the existing cooperatives or, if this is totally impossible, start up new ones. I would always prefer cleaning up existing frameworks and institutions, though. The rebuilding of fairly functioning cooperatives should go together with honest weighing and paying processes, whether this means price control or the opposite, depending on the situation,

Get every family  or household to grow food in some way, that is, promote urban farming  and horticulture in  composting bags,  and  promote actually also eating those vegetables by teaching how to use them in the mainstream diet. I say this because I have seen  so much vegetable farming only started for selling to the elites, foreign or not, whereas food security and indirectly general socio-economic security would be enhanced if, when market demand drops, the family could reduce its expenses by consuming more of their own produce (not to mention the nutritional benefit of course of eating more veggies). This helps urban poor families to supplement their income and their food intake. 

However, for peace through food security we must be aware that food is not enough, there must be an inbuilt margin of non-survival consumption or those who hold the power, from the lowest level in the household to the highest levels of government, will simply prefer to starve (with some poetic exxaggeration!) those who are under their control than  give up their own consumption of whatever is power and status enhancing.  

Food security, peace and stability are seriously thwarted by the demand for drugs, alcohool, sex, violence (yes violence is not only a means to an end it also acts as a drug in combination with other drugs) which so appeal to young and mature men, especially if "normal" satisfaction perpectives for the present and the future are out of reach.  So we won't escape the never ending challenge to diminish the attraction and/or availability of those powerful but destructive means to feel good, strong, or simply to forget...Chaos serves access to those drugs, so peace through food security has a truly strong adversary!