Democratic Alliance statement of hunger and the right to food
The DA released a document yesterday on the right to food in SA and outlined key points of their campaign:
“Highlights from the campaign will include:
- Site visits to investigate the impact of food price increases at retail outlets, wholesalers, and producers by the Shadow Minister of Trade and Industry and other members of the DA leadership;
- submitting a series of Parliamentary Questions on food security to ascertain what steps the national government is taking to reduce the cost of food and communicate this to the public;
- submitting a Private Member’s Bill in the National Assembly calling on the national government to ratify the International Covenant of Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, which includes the right to be ‘free from hunger’;
- engaging both established and emerging food producers to gauge the core challenges limiting production growth and communicate these to the relevant national and provincial authorities;
- establishing a dedicated website with a food price tracking system to provide people with up-to-date information regarding food prices and how the cost of food products impacts on their income.
Access to food is a fundamental human right and the DA is committed to making this right a reality for all.” (source and full text)
I am delighted to see the issue of the right to food being taken seriously at a national level and even more delighted that the argument is not being couched in a production debate. I am however concerned that the statement shows little insight into how the poor actually access food. It all reads as if monitoring food prices in the formal sector and looking at formal sector supply chains will address the problem. And, yet, we know that the most vulnerable household purchase food through informal markets, which have different pricing mechanisms . I’ve written about this here
Furthermore, I think there is a bigger debate, which I doubt the DA want to have about the type of food system we will need to have to ensure access for affordable, adequate, nutritious, hygienic, and culturally appropriate foods. I am not sure that this food system looks like the one that the DA is necessarily comfortable with.
University of Cape Town