Recht aud Land und Nahrung
Kirstin Bethge

Land and resources as a livelihood

Right to land and food

Enough food is produced overall to feed the entire world population. Yet more than 960 million people are experiencing hunger around the world. Peasant families, fisherpeople, pastoralist families and many other rural dwellers contribute significantly to ensuring global food security. Despite this, they receive next to no support in many countries. On the contrary, the growing industrialization of agriculture is making it ever more difficult for them to access land, water or traditional seeds and other natural resources, when these are not placed beyond their reach.

Through its programme work, HEKS/EPER therefore strives to ensure that peasant farmers, pastoralist families and traditional communities such as indigenous peoples have control over land, water and seeds. They should be able to preserve their traditional farming practices and cultivate their land sustainably and ecologically so as to be armed against climatic changes. And they should be integrated into value chains and find markets where they can sell their products at fair prices.

Internationally, HEKS/EPER campaigns for the respect and enforcement of fundamental human rights such as the right to food and water and for pioneering UN declarations such as the “Declaration on the Rights of Peasants” not to remain mere statements of intent. Agricultural policy in the poor countries of the South must be designed such that it reinforces ecological and sustainable small-scale agriculture. It is paramount to support rural dwellers in their struggle against soil degradation and erosion and in using their land in a sustainable, income-generating manner. Switzerland for its part must shape its agricultural and trade policy coherently and make it consistent with the rights of peasant families.


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