Global Forum on Food Security and Nutrition (FSN Forum)

Mr. Julio Prudencio

Investigador independiente afiliado a la Fundación TIERRA y al Instituto de Investigaciones Socioeconómicas de la Universidad Católica de Bolivia
Bolivia (Plurinational State of)

To the New Food System Integrated Program to support the transformation of food systems into nature-positive, resilient, and pollution free system

I think the Program is a good start to continue analyzing and discussing world food systems and their transformation.

1. The selected products are not the most suitable; and continuing to encourage their production and consumption means continuing with unsustainable food systems.

. In the case of food crops; specifically in the consumption of wheat, the political and financial dependence of many countries on this crop and its derivatives (wheat flour) has increased strongly. In many countries it is a subsidized product, which even harms the internal production of other more nutritionally rich products. In addition, the nutritional value of wheat is not significant, that is, there are other healthier and more nutritious products that should be recommended for a healthier diet, such as fruits and vegetables.

. In the case of corn, it is necessary to encourage its existing production and diversification in each region/country, for human consumption; and also as feed/raw material for livestock/poultry feed (=eggs, milk). But the production of genetically modified corn should not be encouraged, as it is currently being done, because this leads to the contamination and disappearance of the different varieties of criollo corn, the introduction of GMOs, and the privatization of the seeds (whose property belongs to the indigenous peoples), the expansion of the agricultural frontier (deforestation, burning of the Amazon), the unrestricted use of agrochemicals, monoculture, the destruction of fruit/wild plants (majo, azai…), and the decrease in diets and eating habits. It has also become an export product for livestock feed (bovine and pig) that is exported as meat to the growing demand of Russia and China.

. In the case of commercial commodities (soybeans and palm oil), these are known for their negative environmental impact; by GMOs and their intensive use of agrochemicals (herbicides...) that contaminate soils, water, kill biodiversity; cause harm to human health; and contaminate the other seed varieties. Due to its growing international demand, even greater exports are generated due to the shortage of the internal market in the countries (through its derivatives such as oil, or meat). Another thing is the promotion of the production and export of organic soy, which achieves higher productive yields and has no negative impact on the environment.

Products should have been selected that are representative of the productive and socio-cultural context of each productive system according to country/region/continent; with a more comprehensive approach, seeking productive diversification that is the basis of sustainability, with an agroecological approach and conservation agriculture.

It should seek to improve the production and diversification of the productive units of the producers, emphasizing their diversified production + their small livestock combined with plants/forestry, fishing; that implement sustainability actions

The objective must be food security, supported by a sustainable global food system that seeks the food and nutritional security of the population.

2. The problem in our countries is the deterioration of natural resources: especially land and the growing and irrational use of water. So, actions must be carried out/implemented to improve the health of the soil, of the earth, and thus we will have improved the health of the plants, of the shrubs, of the crops.

. It is necessary to support the strengthening of the organic raw material of the earth, which in many countries and regions is overexploited, depleted, which influences the low productive yields.

. It is necessary to improve the tillage of the soil, not with any machinery/technology that destroys the land and displaces labor, but with machinery appropriate to the physical environment, complemented with instruments/utensils typical of the place in order to adequately conserve the land and its properties.

. We must emphasize the increase in productive yields, not based on agrochemicals or on the expansion of the agricultural frontier (which clears and burns the forest) but on the basis of Conservation Agriculture, technical training, support with credits, exchange of knowledge; interdisciplinary collaboration.

. It is necessary to support the search for water sources, their conduction, their reserves and their good administration/management in the use for agricultural activities exclusively, and not for uses of extraction of minerals, hydrocarbons, urbanizations.



1. The Barriers

COVID has highlighted that the Public Policies (PP) were specifically aimed at supporting export products (soybeans, sugar cane...) and not the basic consumption products of the population.

The interruptions in the supply chain of products that came from abroad (imports and contraband) plus the high cost of energy have caused a very serious social unrest that has been controlled very well, in the case of Bolivia, by Public Policies food supply (Ex EMAPA in Bolivia, see

The main barriers.-

. Lack of appropriate research for each region/each reality in the different systems

. Lack of investment in production and transformation infrastructure

. Lack of training/exchange of experiences

. Lack of information (markets, prices, product demand…)

. The lack of comprehensiveness

of all the barriers mentioned above, which must be implemented jointly and continuously, and not in a disparate and eventual way.

2. The Results

For a sustainable transformation of food systems that benefits the inhabitants, protects natural resources and biodiversity, urgent measures must be taken to reduce the pressure from international trade; reduce agricultural expansion (which occurs at the cost of burning the Amazon, for example) and the rampant increase in economic development that encourages the unrestricted use of fertilizers and pesticides; the irrational use/wasting of land and water; unemployment, migration, the growing expansion of peri-urban sectors among others.


3. What are the direct effects

For a sustainable transformation of food systems that benefit the population; to natural resources and the environment, it is necessary and urgent to stop the extractivist system prevailing in large regions/countries, which encourages the expansion of the agricultural frontier; the intensive use of agrochemicals (fertilizers and pesticides) and also the exploitation of mineralogical resources such as gold (intensive use of mercury that kills biodiversity, contaminates water and land, and harms human health).

4. Examples of intervention.

. Support agroforestry production that protects natural ecosystems (small/medium scale diversified agriculture + small animal husbandry + plant protection/cultivation + protection of forest wealth) that are sustainable.

. Restoration of degraded ecosystems emphasizing the rehabilitation/fortification of soils.

. The intervention of the Food Production Support Company (EMAPA-Bolivia which has controlled inflation by controlling food speculation generated by the Ukraine-Russia conflict; which controls the prices of basic foods, creates food reserves (silos), purchases in advance with adequate prices to avoid private hoarding, direct sale of food through state companies; sale of inputs to food industries; restrictions on food exports whose products do not satisfy the domestic consumption/market, subsidized support for the collection and marketing of basic foods, among others.


Julio Prudencio B.