Field Trips to Kenya and Brazil to Improve Food Sustainability and Food Systems on the Ground

Ou Senior Research Fellow Dr Adriana Bessa with women smallholders in Kenya. Ou Senior Research Fellow Dr Adriana Bessa with women smallholders in Kenya.

4 February 2019

In the context of our research project on food sustainability and food systems, our Senior Research Fellow Dr Adriana Bessa carried out fieldwork in Kenya and Brazil to discuss the implementation of transformative pilot actions (TPAs) with local rural communities.

‘On the basis of academic research and discussion with rural communities, we develop TPAs to improve food sustainability and food systems on the ground. Our role, as academics, is to bring the methodology and then support communities to decide what needs to be done and how’ explains Dr Bessa.

Kenya: Making Food Systems more Sustainable and in Tune with Human Rights Principles

In Kenya, Dr Bessa visited smallholders in the Laikipia and Meru counties and interviewed women farmers involved in different food systems in the region.

‘Our research analyzed the stage of implementation of the right to food and the ways in which food systems operating in the region could become more sustainable and in tune with human rights principles. It highlighted the need for more engagement of women farmers in law and policy making, particularly on sensitive issues related to agriculture and food production, such as rules governing access to water and the use of agrochemicals’ underlines Dr Bessa.

‘Most of the women we interviewed showed deep concern with the amount of chemicals used in food production and their potential impacts on the health of their families. There is a clear need for open discussion with local farmers and authorities on the technical aspects of the use of agrochemicals, their long-term effects on nature and potential risks to human health’ stresses Dr Bessa.

On the basis of the research and discussion with communities, two TPAs will be implemented in 2019 in Kenya, one dealing with water and the other one with milk production. The findings of the Kenya research will also be published, in 2019, as an Academy Briefing.

Right to Food Field Work in Kenya

Brazil: Improving Social and Environmental Resilience and Reducing Inequality and Poverty

Dr Bessa also travelled to Bahia, in Brazil, to discuss the implementation of TPAs with communities in the semi-arid region of Juazeiro who are famous for their production of goat meat and cheese.

‘In our discussions with local communities, we identified that some aspects of the value chains and of the community’s organization could be re-thought in order to improve the sustainability of the food system. This was particularly true for aspects related to social and environmental resilience and the reduction of inequality and poverty. We are now discussing with communities about actions to be taken in order to improve these aspects’ underlines Dr Bessa.

Right to Food Field Work in Brazil

Follow-Up Activities in 2019

Dr Bessa will return, in 2019, to Kenya and Brazil to follow-up the implementation of TPAs with communities. She will also travel to Bolivia, Zambia and Peru to discuss the implementation of other TPAs with local communities.

Right to Food Field Work Brazil and Kenya

About the Research Project

This project focuses on empirical research into the factors that influence food sustainability within and between different food systems coexisting in selected regions of Bolivia, Brazil, Peru, Kenya and Zambia. The general objective is to provide evidence-based scientific knowledge for the formulation and promotion of innovative strategies and policy options that improve individual and aggregate levels of food systems’ sustainability.

As a co-coordinator of this project – along with the Centre for Development and Environment at the University of Bern, the Centre for Training and Integrated Research in Kenya and Comunidad Pluricultural Andino Amazónica para la Sustentabilidad (COMPAS) in Bolivia – the Geneva Academy supervises the legal aspects of the research in partnership with economists, political scientists, anthropologists and human geographers in Bolivia, Kenya and Switzerland. This includes the identification of treaties, laws and policies that have influenced food systems over the last 10–15 years, and their likely future impact.

MORE ON THIS THEMATIC AREA

Nepal, Farmers plant crops along the Baglung-Bartibang road. News

New Research Brief on Peasants’ Right to Land and Other Natural Resources

23 November 2020

Our new Research Brief The Right to Land and Other Natural Resources details the content of this right, states’ obligations, as well as accountability mechanisms for its enforcement at national, regional and international levels.

Read more

Woman holding a candelnut News

The Recognition of the Right to Seeds is Key to Ensure Sustainable Food Systems

31 August 2020

Our new Research Brief identifies international legal standards that should be taken into account by law- and policy-makers when developing normative and policy frameworks governing seeds and food systems.

Read more

A farm in France Event

The Implementation of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Peasants in France: Focus on the Right to Seeds

2 December 2020, 17:30-19:30

This online conference (in French) will discuss content and recommendations of our recent publications on the right to seeds with French partners.

Read more

A farmer in her field, DRC Training

The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Peasants

7-11 December 2020

From its adoption to its content and implementation, this training course provides a comprehensive overview of the United Nations Declaration on the rights of peasants, as well as tools to protect and promote the rights of peasants, rural women, fisher, pastoralist and nomadic communities, as well as agricultural workers.

Read more

Wheat field Project

The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Peasants and the Protection of the Right to Seeds in Europe

Started in January 2018

The project will notably identify the main opportunities and obstacles to protect the right to seeds in Europe. It will also discuss how to promote changes in European laws, policies and trade agreements to ensure that they do not infringe, but facilitate the realization of peasants’ right to seeds.

Read more

Madagascar, Miarinarivo district. Women transplanting rice. Project

The Rights of Peasants

Started in May 2008

After having provided academic support to the negotiation of the UN Declaration for ten years, this research project focuses on the implementation of the UN Declaration on the rights of peasants and other people working in rural areas.

Read more

cover of the publication Publication

The Right to Land and Other Natural Resources

published on November 2020

Christophe Golay

Read more