Access to food: the SDC's commitment to sustainable food systems

Sufficient and adequate food is a human right, yet over 800 million people remain chronically undernourished. The SDC works at various levels to ensure that every person in the world has access to sufficient and adequate food.  

A woman stacking apples in a market with a rich selection of fruits and vegetables
The SDC is committed to diversified production and food systems and access to fruit and vegetables for all. © SDC

The SDC's focus

The SDC aims to achieve sustainable food security for all. That is why it promotes agriculture, markets and food policies that guarantee secure access to adequate food even for the poorest and most disadvantaged sections of the population. In its work, the SDC considers all aspects of the entire food system, 'from farm to fork', which affect food availability and quality.

While direct food aid deliveries play an important role during acute crises, the SDC is increasingly supporting projects that prioritise sustainable and balanced long-term nutrition and functioning local markets. In the event of a crisis, food aid can thus be delivered much more efficiently by focusing on those most in need.

The SDC focuses in particular on the role of women and young people in food production and nutrition. It works to ensure that they have access to resources and education. Young people often seek opportunities in the agriculture or food sector, both in the rural and in urban areas. By providing sound training endeavours in organic farming as well as start-up opportunities for food retailers in towns and cities, the SDC helps to boost economic prospects while also strengthening food systems.

To improve access for all, especially disadvantaged groups, the SDC is active in the following areas:

Right to food

The SDC was actively involved in drafting the UN's Voluntary Guidelines to Support the Progressive Realisation of the Right to Adequate Food in the Context of National Food Security, adopted in 2004, and has since been working to ensure their implementation. A number of countries have subsequently adjusted their policies, legislation and institutions in accordance with the Guidelines. The SDC is also working to ensure that civil society organisations and other stakeholders can monitor compliance with the right to adequate food and tell governments where there is potential for improvement.

Balanced nutrition

The SDC works to ensure that, in addition to staple foods, people also have access to a varied diet. To this end, it supports diversified agricultural production and food systems. Information and awareness-raising work, education, access to safe drinking water, healthcare and proper processing and storage of food also play an important role.

Crop forecasting and insurance

The SDC uses new technologies such as satellite data with radar technology to establish crop forecasting and agricultural micro-insurance. Among other things, crop forecasts facilitate the early detection of food crises, enabling timely intervention to prevent food emergencies and famine. In partnership with the private sector, the SDC develops micro-insurance products for smallholder farmers as well as insurance for countries, against flooding and drought for example. This is important to prevent more people falling even deeper into poverty.

Background

Hunger and malnutrition are major challenges. While the proportion of hungry people in the world fell from 23% to 12% between 1992 and 2015, according to the UN approximately 821 million people were chronically undernourished in 2017.

Sufficient and nutritious food is especially important during the first 1,000 days of an infant's life, otherwise the child can suffer permanent damage. According to the 2018 Global Nutrition Report, over 240 million children under the age of five are affected by chronic or acute malnutrition and more than 2 billion people are suffering from vitamin or mineral deficiency. To counter this problem, food can be enriched with micronutrients. However, a sounder approach would be to promote diversified agricultural production that provides access to a wider range of foods.

The right to adequate food is enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948. Article 11 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) made this right legally binding. In Switzerland, the ICESCR came into force in 1992.

To improve the overall quality of food systems, the SDC draws particularly on innovations developed by Swiss universities and private companies. Such partnerships range from research into sustainable cropping systems and scientific consolidation of practical experience from the food industry through to the development and application of technological solutions. The SDC helps to disseminate these approaches through international policy dialogue, drawing on its own decades of experience, as well as that of Swiss non-governmental development organisations in agricultural projects and from collaborative work with farmers' organisations.

Documents

Current projects

Object 169 – 180 of 236

PIAL – “Proyecto para fortalecer un Sistema de Innovación Agropecuaria para el Desarrollo Local”

01.02.2018 - 31.10.2022

PIAL fomenta capacidades locales para gestionar los problemas de las cadenas agro-alimentarias en 75 municipios, contribuyendo al incremento de la disponibilidad de alimentos. Así, se institucionaliza y extiende en el país un Sistema de Innovación Agropecuaria Local (SIAL), con espacios y mecanismos para la participación de agricultores, autoridades y otros actores locales en la solución de estos problemas. 


Programme d’appui à une gouvernance agricole inclusive en Haïti (PAGAI)

01.01.2018 - 31.12.2029

Le programme PAGAI vise à améliorer l’accès de 55’000 exploitations familiales haïtiennes à un cadre politique et des services agricoles appropriés. Pour y arriver, le programme va accompagner les organisations des producteurs ruraux (organisations paysannes), qui seront renforcées dans leur gouvernance interne, dans leur rôle de concertation/négociation de services et dans leur capacité de défendre les intérêts et plaider pour les paysannes et paysans d’Haïti.


Advancing Land Use Rights

01.01.2018 - 31.12.2022

Competition for land in Mozambique is sharply increasing. Despite favourable land legislation for the protection of interests and rights of the local communities the concretization of these rights is still precarious. SDC’s program supports the realization of these community rights to land and its benefits through institutional development, strengthening dialogue and practical collaboration between local government, civil society and private sector in order to contribute to a more inclusive and sustainable development.


Generating Rubber Opportunities project (GRO)

01.01.2018 - 31.12.2022

The production of natural rubber is a key livelihood activity of farmers in Mon and Kayin State and northern Tanintharyi region. CARE International is mandated to implement a Market Systems Development project to work with all market actors and particularly the support institutions (meso level) for improving information, market access and access to inputs for 25,000 farmers as well as improving working conditions of particularly women in rubber plantations.


Additional Contribution 2018 to WFP’s Emergency Response in Madagascar

01.01.2018 - 31.12.2018

In line with the Good Humanitarian Donorship (GHD) principles, Switzerland recognizes the necessity of predictable and flexible funding to respond to changing needs in humanitarian crises. SDC funding to WFP operations allows the World Food Programme (WFP) to respond proactively and to provide immediate food assistance in life-threatening situations.


Cocoa value chain

Cocoa Chain Value Family

01.01.2018 - 31.12.2023

Actors in the Central American cocoa value chain improve their productivity, establish public-private alliances, respect economic, social and cultural rights, and reduce their environmental impact. Thanks to the program 4,500 producer families will increase their net annual income by at least 10%, while 4,000 young adults and 2,000 women gain access to sustainable jobs. This will boost the local economy in the poor and peripheral areas in which cocoa is grown.  


Crop Trust – Genebank Platform 2018

01.01.2018 - 31.12.2018

The Consultative Group of International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) safeguards globally important collections of crop diversity critical for improving food and nutrition security. Genebanks require constant maintenance. The Crop Trust Endowment Fund ensures the long-term funding for the maintenance of these genebanks. The unique bilateral contribution by Switzerland contributes to safeguarding (and building up of) the Endowment Fund.


Andean Regional Initiative on Adaptation to Climate Change (ARIACC)

15.12.2017 - 31.07.2024

The Andean Regional Initiative on Adaptation to Climate Change builds on Swiss experience and aims at incorporating the resilience of poor rural Andean communities into national climate change adaptation (CCA) public policies, programs and intiatives of Bolivia, Ecuador and Peru. Together with key stakeholders, it will promote the uptake of an integrated pro-poor approach, build on regional knowledge exchange and coordination, and articulate with the global CCA agenda


Facility for Refugees, Migrants, Forced Displacement and Rural Stability (IFAD)

01.12.2017 - 31.12.2023

Switzerland is committed at the highest political level to help countries in the Near East and North Africa (NENA) region coping with the refugee crisis. By co-financing two projects funded by IFAD (the International Fund for Agricultural Development) in Jordan and Lebanon, SDC will contribute to create sustainable livelihoods for thousands of Syrian refugees, and will also support host communities to increase their income and food security by improving the quality of their small ruminants and cattle, as well as their value in the market.
 


Technical Assistance Facility for Sustainable Business Development in Agriculture

01.12.2017 - 30.11.2021

This publicly supported fund provides technical support (training, marketing, organization dev., business plans) to medium sized enterprises active in agriculture and food processing in several developing countries alongside with capital investments from private impact investors. Impact investors seek to generate a social and environmental impact alongside a financial return. The fund is a public private partnership that will trigger an estimated $30m in private capital and improve the output market for approx. 200k family farms. 


Inclusion financière dans l'Union Economique et Monétaire Ouest Africaine (UEMOA)

01.12.2017 - 31.12.2024

En Afrique de l’Ouest, le faible accès aux services financiers ne permet pas de moderniser les exploitations familiales et de développer des activités productives. La DDC soutient la stratégie régionale d’inclusion financière de l’Union économique et monétaire ouest-africaine et la Swiss Capacity Building Facility pour accroitre l’accès à de nombreux jeunes et femmes aux services financiers et leur offrir des opportunités économiques permettant ainsi de s’attaquer aux causes de la migration et de l’insécurité.


Rangeland Management Project (RAMA)

01.10.2017 - 31.08.2022

Poor and landless families depend on rangeland resources for livestock rearing, fuel and fodder collection. A growing population puts increased pressure on limited resources, while decades of conflict and displacement have weakened rangeland management systems. RAMA will improve livelihoods and food security of rural households through empowering the communities to sustainably manage and use their rangeland resources in order to generate equitable benefits.

Object 169 – 180 of 236