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 133 – 144 of 237

Global Alliance on Health and Pollution

01.12.2018 - 31.12.2023

Pollution causes more than 9 million premature deaths a year of which 92% occur in low and middleincome countries. Toxic pollution impedes economic and social development, costing countries around 2% of annual Gross Domestic Product. The Global Alliance on Health and Pollution (GAHP), assists these countries to address pollution-related issues by generating scientific evidence for raising awareness and tracking progress and by providing concrete technical and financial support.


Long-term farming system comparisons in the tropics

01.12.2018 - 31.12.2022

Conventional agriculture based on high external inputs resulted in productivity increases but has high negative external costs. Alternative systems exist but information on their performance is scarce. This long-term system comparison led by the Swiss Research Institute for Organic Agriculture provides scientific evidence on the productivity, profitability and environmental impacts of organic agriculture compared to conventional agriculture in four production systems of the tropics.


Gestion des Eaux de Ruissellement dans le Tchad Sahélien (GERTS)

01.12.2018 - 30.11.2022

Ce programme vise l’aménagement des vallées avec des seuils d’épandage en vue de leur exploitation agro-pastorale au bénéfice direct de 350'000 personnes dans quatre régions au centre-est du Tchad. Cette approche est promue et mise à l’échelle avec l’appui d’organisations publiques et privées. Les femmes et les jeunes sont particulièrement encouragés à s’investir en production maraîchère à but commercial et pour améliorer la nutrition. Le programme contribue aussi à la stabilité au centre-est du Tchad, et à la prévention de la migration et de l’extrémisme violent.


Agriculture Census 2020

01.12.2018 - 31.12.2022

Switzerland will support the realization of the Agriculture Census in 2020 through contributing to the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS). Updated and accurate data on agriculture holdings is an enabling tool for public and private investment as well as to plan and monitor relevant developments in the agriculture sector, in accordance with the National Policy Agenda (2017-2022). This project will offer opportunities to engage Swiss expertise in the domain of statistics and agriculture.


National Water Resources Management Tajikistan

01.12.2018 - 30.11.2022

The National Water Resources Management Project-11 in the Tajik part of Syr Darya river basin is about fighting poverty and aims at improving rural livelihoods through an efficient and integrated management of water resources. The latter shall allow farmers to increase lastingly their production, hence their incomes and thanks to efficient and sustainable irrigation and agricultural practices.


Cosecha de Agua (Water Harvesting)

01.11.2018 - 31.12.2022

This project strengthens the food security of 2,500 families and responds to the challenges of climate change and the economic crisis in Nicaragua’s dry corridor. The second phase of the project is intended to systematize and replicate on a larger scale water harvesting and other practices for more efficient use of water resources. In the interest of enhanced implementation efficiency and effectiveness, the participation of the government is reduced and a contribution to a specialized international organization is proposed.


Water Efficiency in Rice and Cotton

01.11.2018 - 31.12.2022

The public-private-partnership project aims at enhancing smallholder farmers’ income and water productivity in cotton and rice production through improved technologies (PUSH), increased demand of sustainable products by the private sector (PULL) and water stewardship plans (POLICY).
SDC supports a consortium with 20 partners coordinated by HELVETAS in the implementation of the PUSH-PULL-POLICY approach in India, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Myanmar and Madagascar.


Plant Variety Protection Legislation and Farmers’ Rights in Developing Countries

01.10.2018 - 31.10.2023

Plant variety protection legislation in accordance with the International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants (UPOV) is gaining importance in developing countries. This kind of legislation often neglects the existing informal seed systems and Farmers’ Rights. SDC supports APBREBES, a network of civil society organizations, to raise awareness and contribute to capacity building on alternative legislation that better reflect smallholders’ needs and practices.


Blue Peace Financing: transboundary, multisectoral and transgenerational investments

01.10.2018 - 30.06.2023

To achieve the Sustainable Development Goals government efforts do not suffice, additional private capital deployed towards sustainable development are needed. Blue Peace advocates for investments to be re-directed to two levels: transboundary entities and to municipalities. This will have a transformative impact. As a door opener, Switzerland through its partnership with UNCDF contributes to the development of innovative financial products that enable transboundary, multisectoral and transgenerational investments leading to sustainable development and peace.


Amélioration de la sécurité alimentaire et nutritionnelle dans la région Boucle du Mouhoun

01.10.2018 - 31.12.2021

Le Burkina Faso fait face à des crises de sécurité alimentaire et de malnutrition récurrentes pour des raisons structurelles et conjoncturelles. Ce projet vise à renforcer la sécurité alimentaire et nutritionnelle (SAN) des personnes vulnérables dans la région Boucle du Mouhoun à travers une approche intégrée et innovatrice. Cet approche combine des interventions en sécurité alimentaire et moyens d’existence, en santé primaire et nutrition communautaire. Le projet s’inscrit dans la nouvelle vision du « programme lait » de la Confédération.


China: Rehabilitation and management strategy for over-pumped aquifers under a changing climate

01.09.2018 - 31.12.2022

In the past 30 years the aquifers in the North China plain have been over-exploited. Based on cutting-edge Sino-Swiss expertise in real-time groundwater monitoring and modelling, the project will implement groundwater and agricultural management policies to stabilize groundwater levels as a buffer to climate change induced droughts. The project will work with farmers and local authorities to facilitate policy uptake. Findings are relevant for many water-stressed countries and will be shared globally.


Improving farm productivity in Georgia through dual vocational education and training

Three people in a greenhouse.

01.09.2018 - 31.08.2022

Agriculture is Georgia's most important sector. However, farming remains uncompetitive as farmers' skills are out of step with the job market and technological developments. Switzerland is continuing to support vocational education and training to improve productivity, farm income and the employment situation for students of agriculture.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Georgia
Vocational training
Agriculture & food security
Employment & economic development
Vocational training
Agricultural services & market
Rural development

01.09.2018 - 31.08.2022


CHF  7’303’140


Object 133 – 144 of 237