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March 9, 2011 1:00 - 3:00 p.m Geneva UN Human Rights Council - Session 16 – Geneva Food Battles or Battling for Food Devaki Jain [Member, NGO Committee,

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Presentation on theme: "March 9, 2011 1:00 - 3:00 p.m Geneva UN Human Rights Council - Session 16 – Geneva Food Battles or Battling for Food Devaki Jain [Member, NGO Committee,"— Presentation transcript:

1 March 9, :00 - 3:00 p.m Geneva UN Human Rights Council - Session 16 – Geneva Food Battles or Battling for Food Devaki Jain [Member, NGO Committee, National Human Rights Commission, former member of South Commission] WOMEN - RIGHT TO FOOD, FOOD SECURITY, FOOD SOVEREIGNTY

2 Weaving Peace into Globalization © Fatema Mernissi, Dec.2006 Presenting the paper at South Centre to High Commissioner for Human Rights: Justice Navi Pillai

3 My paper tries to cover the following issues topics Section 1: In sum Section 1: In sum Section 2: The conflicts in the food security zone Section 2: The conflicts in the food security zone Section 3: Critique of global growth paths / ideas Section 3: Critique of global growth paths / ideas Section 4: What women need to address Section 4: What women need to address Section 5: Ideas for another path to growth of the economy Section 5: Ideas for another path to growth of the economy Section 6: Alternative to trickle down, the bubbling up theory of growth Section 6: Alternative to trickle down, the bubbling up theory of growth Section 7: Building economic democracy Section 7: Building economic democracy Section 8: IN the Meantime Section 8: IN the Meantime Section 9: Affirming the South Section 9: Affirming the South Section 10: Narratives from India Section 10: Narratives from India Section 11: How did this happen Section 11: How did this happen

4 In sum – What I Would Do List what I call the various sites of battle for food, or food battles List what I call the various sites of battle for food, or food battles Show how the major obstacle is the current growth model. The landscape we are addressing is dotted with land mines. Therefore despite the best of intentions we cannot walk safely on the existing road of global economic policy Show how the major obstacle is the current growth model. The landscape we are addressing is dotted with land mines. Therefore despite the best of intentions we cannot walk safely on the existing road of global economic policy Show the importance of recognising the difference between North and South feminist agendas Show the importance of recognising the difference between North and South feminist agendas Provide arguments and ideas for reconstructing the economy towards an economic democracy Provide arguments and ideas for reconstructing the economy towards an economic democracy Present India as a case study of success and failure, with lessons on the way forward Present India as a case study of success and failure, with lessons on the way forward

5 Food Battles Food battles are not only the intra house hold battles for food between men and women that Prof. Sen talked about, but there are caused by the following conflicts: Food battles are not only the intra house hold battles for food between men and women that Prof. Sen talked about, but there are caused by the following conflicts: Battles over Land Use (i) between farmers and fisherfolk (the traditional users of land) against entities like real estate developers, miners, resort builders, export led industries called Special Export Zones, tourist resorts etc. Battles over Land Use (i) between farmers and fisherfolk (the traditional users of land) against entities like real estate developers, miners, resort builders, export led industries called Special Export Zones, tourist resorts etc. Put another way, land battles are between agricultural use and industry use, and export sectors, Put another way, land battles are between agricultural use and industry use, and export sectors, And between (ii) what to grow: bio fuels or food; basic cereals or exotic food for the rich, And between (ii) what to grow: bio fuels or food; basic cereals or exotic food for the rich, Battles between environmental projects like growing trees or growing food crops Battles between environmental projects like growing trees or growing food crops Battles on how to grow food: industrial, technical, mechanized, plantation- type farming or peasant farming Battles on how to grow food: industrial, technical, mechanized, plantation- type farming or peasant farming Battles on trading rules: financial speculation with agricultural products, leading to artificial price rise Battles on trading rules: financial speculation with agricultural products, leading to artificial price rise Battles between farmers of the north and of the South; on subsidies— protection vs. Free trade Battles between farmers of the north and of the South; on subsidies— protection vs. Free trade

6 The current economic model has led to five important shifts The global shift of the sectoral distribution or sourcing of the GDP, from agriculture to services The global shift of the sectoral distribution or sourcing of the GDP, from agriculture to services With implications for the relative positions of capital and labour With implications for the relative positions of capital and labour Shifts in the centres of power, from the local and national to global, Shifts in the centres of power, from the local and national to global, Shifts in control over knowledge, from women and communities to corporations and international institutions, Shifts in control over knowledge, from women and communities to corporations and international institutions, Shifts in cultural values, from sustainability to consumerism, and Shifts in cultural values, from sustainability to consumerism, and Shifts in identity too, as the categories of rural and urban are blurred. Shifts in identity too, as the categories of rural and urban are blurred.

7 The shift in the GDP composition of India from 1973 to 2010 * What you notice is – inner circle indicates earlier period

8 The shifts in the composition of the GDP at the global level – from agriculture to services from 1970 to 2001 [Percentage of economic activity by sector] Economic Activity – Agriculture Economic Activity- Industry Economic Activity- Service World Developed Countries Developing Countries UNCTAD Handbook of Statistics On-line [http://www.unctad.org/Templates/Page.asp?intItemID=1890]http://www.unctad.org/Templates/Page.asp?intItemID=1890

9 Labor Force in Agriculture Total Labour Force (millions) Labour Force in Agriculture (millions) Percentage of Labour force in Agriculture World %49%44% Developed Countries %10%7% Industrializ ed Countries %6%4% Transition Economies %20%15% Developing Countries %61%55%

10 The Casablanca dream group A loose formation of feminist scholars and activists A loose formation of feminist scholars and activists Argue that it will not be enough simply to distribute more land to individual women farmers Argue that it will not be enough simply to distribute more land to individual women farmers Need to direct the entire economy towards supporting small farms and the kind of farming that women engage in Need to direct the entire economy towards supporting small farms and the kind of farming that women engage in The point to the link between women’s roles and values in a political economy and the changes that are required in macro economic policy The point to the link between women’s roles and values in a political economy and the changes that are required in macro economic policy With current trend, within the space of a couple of decades, land would be concentrated in the hands of large commercial farmers With current trend, within the space of a couple of decades, land would be concentrated in the hands of large commercial farmers Better land rights for women need to be embedded in a system of equitable public support Better land rights for women need to be embedded in a system of equitable public support

11 Ideas for another path to growth of the economy: the Bubbling up Theory of Growth Is it possible to generate the same growth rate of GDP from other sources and in other ways? Is it possible to generate the same growth rate of GDP from other sources and in other ways? This is possible and the Casablanca group in their paper “From Global Crisis to Equality *(see UNDP website) have proposed the bubbling up theory of growth This is possible and the Casablanca group in their paper “From Global Crisis to Equality *(see UNDP website) have proposed the bubbling up theory of growth The Bubbling up theory of growth argues that the process of removal of poverty can itself be an engine of growth. That the incomes and capabilities of those who are currently poor has the potential to generate demand which in turn will engineer production, but of goods that are immediately needed by the poor which are currently peripheral in production. The oiling of this engine will bubble up and fire the economy, in a much more broad based manner. The Bubbling up theory of growth argues that the process of removal of poverty can itself be an engine of growth. That the incomes and capabilities of those who are currently poor has the potential to generate demand which in turn will engineer production, but of goods that are immediately needed by the poor which are currently peripheral in production. The oiling of this engine will bubble up and fire the economy, in a much more broad based manner. Unlike export led growth, it will not skew production and trade into the elite trap, which is accentuating disparities and creating discontent. Unlike export led growth, it will not skew production and trade into the elite trap, which is accentuating disparities and creating discontent.

12 Building economic democracy Economic democracy, just like political democracy would entail participation in economic decision making by “people”, and equality of power to decide. Like the political vote there would be the economic vote and transparency in drawing up public policy, budgets and deals Economic democracy, just like political democracy would entail participation in economic decision making by “people”, and equality of power to decide. Like the political vote there would be the economic vote and transparency in drawing up public policy, budgets and deals Not surprisingly, Mahatma Gandhi had set the framework for economic democracy Not surprisingly, Mahatma Gandhi had set the framework for economic democracy Gandhi called the idea of a fully employed or wage-led growth model ‘economic democracy’, where every individual would exercise his or her economic vote with every purchase Gandhi called the idea of a fully employed or wage-led growth model ‘economic democracy’, where every individual would exercise his or her economic vote with every purchase

13 In the Meantime Financial markets, the free mobility of finances and strict regulatory mechanisms on financial transactions need to be put in place internationally, regionally and nationally Financial markets, the free mobility of finances and strict regulatory mechanisms on financial transactions need to be put in place internationally, regionally and nationally Critically examine and deconstruct and reconstruct the IMF Critically examine and deconstruct and reconstruct the IMF International and national networks,think tanks of women scholars and activists need to do some ‘lab work’ on this area International and national networks,think tanks of women scholars and activists need to do some ‘lab work’ on this area National economic policies currently driven largely by capital in turn driven by corporates seeking profits have to be dismantled by public protest. Tahrir Square is an inspiring example of what can be done by people National economic policies currently driven largely by capital in turn driven by corporates seeking profits have to be dismantled by public protest. Tahrir Square is an inspiring example of what can be done by people From capital and profit and trade led growth we need to build on wage led growth From capital and profit and trade led growth we need to build on wage led growth

14 Affirming the South The question being asked is: how did the women’s development agenda get replaced or move off the screen? The question being asked is: how did the women’s development agenda get replaced or move off the screen? Asking similar questions on the high profile given to care, measuring of household work and unpaid work Asking similar questions on the high profile given to care, measuring of household work and unpaid work A construction labor family with naked emaciated children playing on the pavement A construction labor family with naked emaciated children playing on the pavement The burning issue for her? It will be regular wage work and a childcare centre. In other words, broad based income earning work ought to be a priority The burning issue for her? It will be regular wage work and a childcare centre. In other words, broad based income earning work ought to be a priority While VAW, and the care economy are important as agenda, priorities from these regions would still concentrate on the economic security issues While VAW, and the care economy are important as agenda, priorities from these regions would still concentrate on the economic security issues South countries are mobilizing themselves into regional economic clubs. South countries are mobilizing themselves into regional economic clubs. It is critical that the agenda for women must include engaging with these formations – e.g. a South-South convention on wage fixation, south-south grain banks – through economic media It is critical that the agenda for women must include engaging with these formations – e.g. a South-South convention on wage fixation, south-south grain banks – through economic media

15 Indian initiatives as peace building in the battleground But the Indian paradox of high rates of growth and millions of hungry people remains But the Indian paradox of high rates of growth and millions of hungry people remains Latest budget proposals by the Indian finance minister on Feb 28th is full of grant in aid funds for farms and rural labor Latest budget proposals by the Indian finance minister on Feb 28th is full of grant in aid funds for farms and rural labor Incentives are directed to farmers to grow food grains and vegetables and non-farm foods. Further they are giving special financial and technical support to women as farmers Incentives are directed to farmers to grow food grains and vegetables and non-farm foods. Further they are giving special financial and technical support to women as farmers A food bill is being drafted and hopefully A food bill is being drafted and hopefully The Right to Food act will get passed by the Parliament this month The Right to Food act will get passed by the Parliament this month The act is amazingly sensitive to all the issues that have been raised by my fellow panelists. It targets almost all the services even at the household level to women. The act is amazingly sensitive to all the issues that have been raised by my fellow panelists. It targets almost all the services even at the household level to women. All fair price shops would be in the hands of women, and women’s groups. All fair price shops would be in the hands of women, and women’s groups. Cash transfers will go to the oldest woman in a family. Cash transfers will go to the oldest woman in a family. Special and cost free cooked meals will go to mothers and young girls apart from the large midday meal scheme that is already operating for schools. Special and cost free cooked meals will go to mothers and young girls apart from the large midday meal scheme that is already operating for schools.

16 Mahila Kisan Sashaktikaran Pariyojana [WOMEN FARMERS EMPOWERMENT SCHEME] (MKSP) The Govt of India has put on the ground The Govt of India has put on the ground With an annual budget of 100 crores, US$25 million, a grant in aid scheme With an annual budget of 100 crores, US$25 million, a grant in aid scheme A subcomponent of the National Rural Livelihood Mission [NRLM]. A subcomponent of the National Rural Livelihood Mission [NRLM]. Funds to enable women farmers to improve their capabilities to produce more and better and to market it Funds to enable women farmers to improve their capabilities to produce more and better and to market it This is also to enable household and village level food security. This is also to enable household and village level food security. Funds have been put aside for them to form cooperatives of themselves, for consolidating their production, Funds have been put aside for them to form cooperatives of themselves, for consolidating their production, For training them in improved farming techniques, including non- farm production For training them in improved farming techniques, including non- farm production

17 How did this happen? Interplay between civil society, interest-based groups and the government Interplay between civil society, interest-based groups and the government A special group called working group of feminist economists (WGFE- see ) set up by our Planning commission during the 11th plan A special group called working group of feminist economists (WGFE- see ) set up by our Planning commission during the 11th plan The group was invited to scrutinize the sectoral chapters of the draft 11 th Plan The group was invited to scrutinize the sectoral chapters of the draft 11 th Plan The group advised that women not only be given land ownership rights but they should also be recognized as farmers The group advised that women not only be given land ownership rights but they should also be recognized as farmers They argued that there has been an exodus of men from the rural areas seeking employment in cities and very often women are sole cultivators They argued that there has been an exodus of men from the rural areas seeking employment in cities and very often women are sole cultivators The right to food security bill and the later act has had work being done by groups for more than 10 years. The right to food security bill and the later act has had work being done by groups for more than 10 years. The judiciary has been helpful in flagging this as a constitutional right related to the right to life The judiciary has been helpful in flagging this as a constitutional right related to the right to life All this is now enshrined in our grant schema! This is to demonstrate how group advocacy with knowledge can influence budgetary outlays All this is now enshrined in our grant schema! This is to demonstrate how group advocacy with knowledge can influence budgetary outlays

18 Economic Democracy – rural example from India A Gandhian Philosophy driven trade union of women from the informal economy has successfully put into practice Gandhi’s ideas of a circular economy – the basis for food security, emancipation from dependence A Gandhian Philosophy driven trade union of women from the informal economy has successfully put into practice Gandhi’s ideas of a circular economy – the basis for food security, emancipation from dependence [BOX] [BOX] RUDI a is the acronym for a project being run by SEWA in Gujerat. Farm produce RUDI a is the acronym for a project being run by SEWA in Gujerat. Farm produce Is procured at fair market prices from marginal farmers (who make up the bulk of producers in India), and then prepares small packages of the grains and spices and sells them in the villages at competitive prices. RUDI’s portfolio of products are based on the needs of its rural consumers, the quantity per packet set according to the standard nutritional requirements and the products priced according to the purchasing power of poor households. By procuring locally, processing them and distributing them locally, RUDI has created a sustainable eco-system at the village and block level, a model which can be replicated and expanded seamlessly. Is procured at fair market prices from marginal farmers (who make up the bulk of producers in India), and then prepares small packages of the grains and spices and sells them in the villages at competitive prices. RUDI’s portfolio of products are based on the needs of its rural consumers, the quantity per packet set according to the standard nutritional requirements and the products priced according to the purchasing power of poor households. By procuring locally, processing them and distributing them locally, RUDI has created a sustainable eco-system at the village and block level, a model which can be replicated and expanded seamlessly. Following this experience, and the ideas drawn from Gandhi, SEWA critiques the current concept of Right to Food Act. and asks for proximate linking between producers and consumers. SEWA via RUDI argues for initiatives incorporating local procurement and distribution as this creates a sustainable economy at the local level, creates equitable access to essential goods, while at the same time generating the purchasing power required to purchase these goods. Following this experience, and the ideas drawn from Gandhi, SEWA critiques the current concept of Right to Food Act. and asks for proximate linking between producers and consumers. SEWA via RUDI argues for initiatives incorporating local procurement and distribution as this creates a sustainable economy at the local level, creates equitable access to essential goods, while at the same time generating the purchasing power required to purchase these goods.

19 The 100 mile concept: Ela Bhatt “The 100 Mile Principle weaves decentralization, locality, size, and scale to livelihood. What one needs for livelihood as material, as energy, as knowledge should stem from areas around us. Seed, soil, water are forms of knowledge that need to be retained locally. Security stems from local innovations, not distant imports. The millenia old link between production and consumption has to be recovered. 100 miles is a threshold principle. It shows when you export food or import seed you deculturate a community. 100 miles adds diversity and fraternity to guarantee equality Take food. Is it grown and cooked locally? How many energy miles has it consumed? Unless food is grown locally, you cannot sustain diversity. Food has to be grown locally, made locally. Ask yourself what happened to local fruits, local foods like Barley, and local staples like cotton. But when food is produced locally and exported, the locality has no access to its own labour, to its produce. You grow milk and vegetables for the city and survive on less. Freedom is right to your labour, your produce. Such a freedom needs a community. A community is autonomous when it controls food, clothing, shelter (roti, kapda, makan). This old cliché of roti, kapda, makan has to be within a hundred miles radius. The minute you extend the production cycle you lose control. “The 100 Mile Principle weaves decentralization, locality, size, and scale to livelihood. What one needs for livelihood as material, as energy, as knowledge should stem from areas around us. Seed, soil, water are forms of knowledge that need to be retained locally. Security stems from local innovations, not distant imports. The millenia old link between production and consumption has to be recovered. 100 miles is a threshold principle. It shows when you export food or import seed you deculturate a community. 100 miles adds diversity and fraternity to guarantee equality Take food. Is it grown and cooked locally? How many energy miles has it consumed? Unless food is grown locally, you cannot sustain diversity. Food has to be grown locally, made locally. Ask yourself what happened to local fruits, local foods like Barley, and local staples like cotton. But when food is produced locally and exported, the locality has no access to its own labour, to its produce. You grow milk and vegetables for the city and survive on less. Freedom is right to your labour, your produce. Such a freedom needs a community. A community is autonomous when it controls food, clothing, shelter (roti, kapda, makan). This old cliché of roti, kapda, makan has to be within a hundred miles radius. The minute you extend the production cycle you lose control.

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