Rethinking food security Agro-food systems change and the Right to Food in Southern Africa (Malawi)
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This information resource serves as a practical guide aimed at state officials and policymakers on the right to food and critical perspectives on changing agro-food systems within the context of climate change. It does so by clarifying the entitlements of rights-holders and the obligations of states on the right to food, and offering useful insights from the field on the nature and extent of agro-food system changes at the local level, and the implications of climate change for small-scale food producers. The objective of this information resource is to promote a human rights-based approach to food and nutrition security within the context of rapidly changing agro-food systems and climate change across rural landscapes in Southern Africa. Building on our exploratory research on changing agro-food systems and the role of agribusiness in Mozambique and Zambia, and our critical engagement with the civil society-backed initiative to promote the right to food in Malawi, this information resource offers an analysis of the policy efforts, institutional capacity and resource allocation towards right to food-related programmes and initiatives. In so doing, it aims to highlight the complex role of the state in shaping and ensuring the progressive realisation of the right to food. A rights-based approach to food and nutrition insecurity goes beyond standard food security frameworks, not only because it is based on international human rights, but because it also considers the means through which people access food (UNDP, 2012). The research reported in this booklet is the product of a joint research project with civil society organisation (CSO) partners, providing the results of a project titled, ‘Rethinking food security: Agro-food system change and the right to food in Southern Africa with a focus on Malawi, Mozambique and Zambia’. Our CSO partners include Observatório do Meio Rural (OMR), based in Maputo, Mozambique; Zambia Land Alliance (ZLA), based in Lusaka, Zambia; the Centre for Environmental Policy and Advocacy (CEPA) and the Civil Society Agriculture Network (CISANET), based in Blantyre and Lilongwe, Malawi respectively. With the generous support of the Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa (OSISA), we set out to analyse the status of the right to food in the three countries covered in this project. We examined the complex ways in which smallholder farmers, in particular, are affected by the processes of change underway in the local agro-food systems upon which they depend for their livelihoods and food security.