News

    'Right to Food' Focus of Nairobi Conference

    Farmers with harvested bananas, August 6, 2011. Farmers in the south of Ethiopia need most of their crops to feed their families, leaving hardly anything to be sold at market.
    Farmers with harvested bananas, August 6, 2011. Farmers in the south of Ethiopia need most of their crops to feed their families, leaving hardly anything to be sold at market.

    A group of food experts and other officials from nine eastern and southern African countries opens a two-day meeting in Kenya's capital Wednesday to examine how to protect people's right to food in the region.

    Among other things, the group will be looking at obstacles preventing people - especially the poor - from getting access to food.

    Participant Odenda Lumumba, the coordinator of Kenya Land Alliance, says that up to 80 percent of Africa’s food producers are small-scale farmers, yet land-use policies in most African countries do not favor these famers, opting instead for larger-scale operations.

    “You have to re-do the policies, the laws, the instruments of access to land to enable as many people as practically possible to be into the production of food," he said. "I think you cannot afford at any cost to have fewer people with larger farms purporting to produce food for the rest.”

    Lumumba says the largest portion of land in Africa is outside the formal legal system.  Small-scale farmers, who he says typically “suffer from insecure tenure,” are less likely to invest in the land or even to wait for the harvest if they do not have a title to that land.

    He says access to water and the development of infrastructure such as roads are also huge problems facing small-scale farmers.

    For participant Fatima Shabodien, director of the Women on Farms Project, South Africa, a big roadblock is that policies and frameworks often do not translate into action on the ground, especially for women.

    “Women are central to the issue of food security in a number of ways, not the least because women are the primary producers of food in our region, but also women are responsible for managing food security at the household level," said Shabodien.  "We also know, in the context of food insecurity or shortage, it is often women who forego food in favor of men and children, so we do think that any strategies that are discussed should place women at the center.”

    Shabodien and Lumumba are two of some 45 food experts, policy-makers, politicians, human rights activists, and others meeting in Nairobi.

    The meeting, chaired by the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food, will discuss the concept of access to food as being a human right, and look at approaches that different countries are taking to ensure that everyone - especially the poor - has food.

    For instance, the South African and Kenya constitutions contain a provision that states that everyone has the right to have access to adequate food.

    The particpants hope to develop a network of officials - especially parliamentarians - that would work on strengthening laws and constitutions in their countries to increase food security.  

    The U.N. rapporteur will also present a report on food security to the U.N. General Assembly and U.N. agencies.

    According to the U.N., more than one billion people globally are undernourished, while more than two billion people suffer from a lack of essential vitamins and minerals in their food.  Almost six million children die every year from malnutrition or related diseases.

    The right to food is recognized in the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Ivorian Chocolate Makers Promote Locally-made Chocolatei
    X
    July 29, 2016 4:02 PM
    Ivory Coast is the world's top producer of cocoa but hardly any of it is processed into chocolate there. Instead, the cocoa is sent abroad to chocolate makers in Europe and elsewhere. This is a general problem throughout Africa – massive exports of raw materials but few finished goods. As Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, several Ivorian entrepreneurs are working to change that formula - 100 percent Ivorian chocolate bar at a time.
    Video

    Video Ivorian Chocolate Makers Promote Locally-made Chocolate

    Ivory Coast is the world's top producer of cocoa but hardly any of it is processed into chocolate there. Instead, the cocoa is sent abroad to chocolate makers in Europe and elsewhere. This is a general problem throughout Africa – massive exports of raw materials but few finished goods. As Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, several Ivorian entrepreneurs are working to change that formula - 100 percent Ivorian chocolate bar at a time.
    Video

    Video Tesla Opens Battery-Producing Gigafactory

    Two years after starting to produce electric cars, U.S. car maker Tesla Motors has opened the first part of its huge battery manufacturing plant, which will eventually cover more than a square kilometer. Situated close to Reno, Nevada, the so-called Gigafactory will eventually produce more lithium-ion batteries than were made worldwide in 2013. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Polio-affected Afghan Student Fulfilling Her Dreams in America

    Afghanistan is one of only two countries in the world where children still get infected by polio. The other is Pakistan. Mahbooba Akhtarzada who is from Afghanistan, was disabled by polio, but has managed to overcome the obstacles caused by this crippling disease. VOA's Zheela Nasari caught up with Akhtarzada and brings us this report narrated by Bronwyn Benito.
    Video

    Video Hillary Clinton Promises to Build a 'Better Tomorrow'

    Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton urged voters Thursday not to give in to the politics of fear. She vowed to unite the country and move it forward if elected in November. Clinton formally accepted the Democratic Party's nomination at its national convention in Philadelphia. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more.
    Video

    Video Trump Tones Down Praise for Russia

    Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is toning down his compliments for Russia and Vladimir Putin as such rhetoric got him in trouble recently. After calling on Russia to find 30.000 missing emails from rival Hillary Clinton, Trump told reporters he doesn't know Putin and never called him a great leader, just one who's better than President Barack Obama. Putin has welcomed Trump's overtures, but, as Zlatica Hoke reports, ordinary Russians say they are not putting much faith in Trump.
    Video

    Video Uganda Unveils its First Solar-powered Bus

    A solar-powered bus described by its Ugandan makers as the first in Africa has made its public debut. Kiira Motors' electric bus, Kayoola, displayed recently at a stadium in Uganda's capital. From Kampala, Maurice Magorane filed this report narrated by Salem Solomon.
    Video

    Video Silicon Valley: More Than A Place, It's a Culture

    Silicon Valley is a technology powerhouse and a place that companies such as Google, Facebook and Apple call home. It is a region in northern California that stretches from San Francisco to San Jose. But, more than that, it's known for its startup culture. VOA's Elizabeth Lee went inside one company to find out what it's like to work in a startup.
    Video

    Video Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video Dutch Entrepreneurs Turn Rainwater Into Beer

    June has been recorded as one of the wettest months in more than a century in many parts of Europe. To a group of entrepreneurs in Amsterdam the rain came as a blessing, as they used the extra water to brew beer. Serginho Roosblad has more to the story.
    Video

    Video Commerce Thrives on US-Mexico Border

    At the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia this week, the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, is expected to attack proposals made by her opponent, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Last Friday, President Barack Obama hosted his Mexican counterpart, President Enrique Peña Nieto, to underscore the good relations between the two countries. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Tucson.
    Video

    Video Film Helps Save Ethiopian Children Thought to be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at effort of African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora