Right to Food Faces New Threats

  •  united nations
  • Inter Press Service

Presenting his report to the U.N. General Assembly Thursday, he said farmers are often relegated to arid, non-irrigated soils and condemned to suffer from hunger. Increasing competition between growing rural populations and large industrial units pose a direct threat to right to food of rural population.

The pressure on land suitable for agriculture is increasing at an unprecedented rate because of environmental degradation, large-scale acquisitions by foreign investors, urbanization and the consequential speculation on farmland. Oddly, also measures adopted for mitigating climate change have increased the pressure on agricultural land, says the report. The planting of forest in order to 'help the environment' has led to evictions, against which the local populations concerned are not sufficiently protected.

According to De Shutter, States should confer legal security of tenure upon those people but individual land titling does not seem the best solution. The titling process may confirm the unequal distribution of land, as land sales tend to favour those whose ability to purchase land is greatest and not those who can make the most efficient use of land.

Land grabbing is the result of the increasing lack of available land, De Shutter said during a press conference. Land redistribution may be required in some cases, as has a strong potential for economic growth, empowerment of women and reduction of rural poverty. Large-scale land acquisitions pose so many threats to equal distribution of land that the best way to ensure the right to land and the right to food is precisely to democratize and to secure access to land for the benefit of the smallholders, De Shutter told U.N. general Assembly.

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