Commitments to action

Eastern and Southern Africa Consumers Need for Future Food Systems

East African Community Think Tank Association, EACTTA, COMESA

Main Objective:

To improve safe and nutritious food at the consumers’ table.

Rationale:

There is currently severe problems of agriculture and food production in Eastern and Southern Africa. These problems were brought about by the global food system. In this system, farmers and consumers are disconnected. The distance between food production on the farm to the consumer’s table is too long. Farmers can not survive as their food dollar is steadily decreasing. Consumers have to eat old, unclean, and poor-quality foods because the foods do not come from nearby farms. They do not know where their food has come from or by whom their food was grown. In order to solve these problems, the transition from the global food system to a local food system is imperative. In a local food system, farmers and consumers are connected and they can help each other.

The global challenges of current food systems are well known, i.e. intensification of farming systems, which has led to significant erosion of ecosystems services including soil quality and biodiversity; roughly 850 million people being food insecure and approximately 2 billion being overweight or obese; food waste being high in fields, storage, retail and consumers kitchens; diets in many countries having (too) high a proportion of livestock products and based on a reduced number of crops while genetic diversity is eroding. Add to this the links with climate change and water shortages, increasing demand for animal protein from the global growing middle-class and a global seed and plant-breeding sector controlled by a few mega-companies with interests in pesticides. Therefore, food produced from farms, manufacturers to consumers if is not safe then it will be detrimental to the population for generations to come. We believe that consumers have a right to expect that the foods they purchase and consume will be safe and of high quality. They have a right to voice their opinions about the food control procedures, standards and activities that the governments and industry use to ascertain that the food supply has these characteristics

With the need to change towards more sustainable and equitable food systems, greater collaboration between different sectors is key. Consumer organisations can make a huge difference. Their outreach to diverse and multiple consumers as well as their strengths in consumer protection and the right to adequate food can help towards securing better nutrition, better.

Constituency

Academic
Civil society
Other

Action Area(s)

Advance Equitable Livelihoods, Decent Work, & Empowered Communities

Location

Eastern Africa
Southern Africa

Key contact

Mr. Gerson Fumbuka (EACTTA, Arusha-Tanzania); Ms. Providence Mavubi (COMESA, Lusaka-Zambia), East African Community Think Tank Association
[email protected]

Keywords

Sustainable consumption
Safe and nutritious food
Livelihoods

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