Food sovereignty

According to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), it would be possible to feed far more people than currently live on earth. However, over 800 million people still go hungry.

Right to food

Only 10% of hunger cases are due to wars or natural disasters. In the other 90%, it is not a lack of food leads to hunger but rather the fact that many people cannot exercise their right to food.

Hunger as a result of globalization

Hunger in the global South is also the consequence of production oriented towards on the world market: decisions on what is grown are made on the basis of nutritional needs and preferences of people in industrialised countries, while locally there is an insufficient amount of food.

 

Who controls production and marketing?

It is not just about the availability of food (“food security”) but also primarily placing the control of production and marketing conditions in the hands of the producers (“food sovereignty”). This concept is also based on the right of all people and countries to define their agricultural and food policy themselves. The goal is to enable every person to feed themselves in dignity.

 

Empowerment of women

The Women’s World Day of Prayer and its partner organisations are convinced that the most efficient way to reduce hunger and malnutrition for all people is to combine the economic empowerment of women and girls and food sovereignty.

We therefore prefer to support projects with the following priority areas:

  • Agro-ecological production of staple foods
  • Microloans and setting up alternative financial systems
  • Setting up self-managed farms and/or alternative market systems
  • Small-scale agriculture (mostly in connection with rural local development)
  • Sustainable protection of resources (soil, water, biodiversity)

The projects provide not only important expertise. They also promote the independence of producers and strengthen their ability to stand up for their interests. They encourage women to organise and fight for their land and property rights. Only then is it possible for women to ensure their production sustainably.

The facts:

80% of all people going hungry live in rural areas but often do not have secure access to land. Women worldwide only have access to 10% of arable land, even though they are traditionally responsible in many countries for producing basic foodstuffs and feeding their families.


Half of all small-scale farmers go hungry; they are unable to live from their work. Often they have neither an appropriate means of production (seeds, land, water) nor do they have any influence on pricing and marketing of their products.


70% of all people who go hungry are women and girls. This shows the combination of food shortages and structural discrimination of girls and women can be life threatening. The internalised images of self-sacrificing wives/mothers who would rather go without food than to see their family hungry play an important role here.

Example of projects of the Women’s World Day of Prayer on the topic of “Food sovereignty” (in German):