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

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Clean Air Project in India (CAP India)

01.11.2019 - 30.06.2027

India is one of the most severely affected countries by air pollution in the world. This project will contribute to India’s new National Clean Air Programme, with the aim to improve air quality with co-benefits on public health, environment and climate change. Capacity building and technical assistance through Swiss expertise will support data measurement and analysis, city level clean air action plans and awareness raising campaigns to take precautionary measures and mitigate air pollution.


South Sudan, Caritas Switzerland: Restoration of resilience in livelihoods for rural and semi-urban communities in Torit State

01.10.2019 - 30.09.2022

This project is designed to increase the resilience of women, men and children in Torit State in South Sudan. This will be achieved through improving agricultural production and access to value chains for farmers and small scale businesses. In order to improve productivity and reduce water-related diseases, the project will improve access to water. This will ultimately reduce vulnerability to the threat of food & nutrition insecurity, and bring the target population to engage in increased productivity with financial benefit.


Advancing Sustainable Agriculture in Ukraine

01.10.2019 - 31.12.2022

Agricultural production in Ukraine is unsustainable. SDC and Nestlé join efforts to improve agricultural production practices in two selected value chains which will contribute to an improved farm performance and life of farmers. The project will pilot a business model for farm sustainability with 10 farmers and 5 pre-processing lead suppliers. Good business cases showing sustainable farm performance and supply to pre-processors will be disseminated for potential replication.

 


IGAD Land Governance Programme

01.09.2019 - 31.08.2023

Land is a source for livelihoods and a valuable economic asset in the IGAD region. Drawing on experiences from other land related partnerships at national, regional and global levels, Switzerland supports the Intergovernmental Authority on Development IGAD to translate continental and global land governance frameworks and guidelines into practice in order to improve access to land and tenure security for all, especially for vulnerable groups like pastoralists, women and youth.


Strengthening Agro-biodiversity in Southern Africa (SASA)

01.09.2019 - 31.08.2023

While governments have regional and national seed policies favourable to commercial certified seed

production, these are restrictive on farmers’ seed systems that are diverse and resilient. The project

capitalises on Swiss regional experiences on supporting seed systems in Southern Africa. This will include

the empowerment of civil society, farmers’ organisations and governments in developing inclusive agricultural

policies that ultimately contribute to sustainable use of agricultural biodiversity and improved well-being of

smallholder farming communities.


Support for cooperative management in the agricultural sector in Cuba (APOCOOP)

01.08.2019 - 31.12.2022

APOCOOP contributes to food security in 17 municipalities by improving the management of agricultural cooperatives, strengthening tools and enhancing the capacities and conditions of cooperative members and other actors. It promotes models of inter-cooperation between agricultural cooperatives, with gender equity, resilience and economic, social and environmental sustainability, and to socialize results and methods in spaces of influence on land policies in Cuba.


Sustainable Livelihoods and Social Development (SLSD)

01.08.2019 - 31.07.2023

Widespread poverty, weak institutions, and scarce public services characterize the environment in the South East of Afghanistan. The project aims to improve the livelihood and resilience of resource-poor and smallholder farmers in the provinces of Paktia and Khost, through improvement of agricultural production, natural resource management, market linkages and through strengthening agricultural service delivery. The project covers a region, which has been deprived of other donor support.


Programme d’Appui à la Production Agricole en Haïti (PAPAH), Phase II

01.08.2019 - 31.12.2024

La phase 2 du Programme d’Appui à la Production Agricole en Haïti vise à renforcer le système national de financement et d’assurance agricoles en Haïti, porté par les institutions publiques et privées et régulé par la Banque de la République d’Haïti. La contribution suisse servira de levier pour mieux structurer et orienter des investissements d’environ USD 340 millions au profit des exploitations dans les chaines de valeur agricoles; dans le Sud et la Grand-Anse, en synergie avec les programmes du portefeuille Suisse, le développement de produits financiers spécifiques servira environ 20 000 exploitations agricoles.


Accountability in Health & Agriculture

01.07.2019 - 30.06.2023

While governments have translated regional policies on Food Security and Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) into national policies, these are poorly implemented and the public lacks capacities to act effectively upon them. The project will improve the accountability and gender responsiveness of public resource management and complement the ongoing Swiss funded projects in ensuring that policy/advocacy work developed at national, regional and global levels is disseminated and implemented by relevant SADC and governmental institutions.


Livelihoods and Food Security Fund - LIFT

01.07.2019 - 30.06.2024

The Livelihoods and Food Security Fund (LIFT) is a multi-donor fund, coordinating and contributing aid to rural development in Myanmar. Within its strategy period 2019-2023 LIFT will benefit 3.7 million additionl people with a strong focus on leaving no one behind, while working on more inclusive government policies and supporting the private sector. As chair for the LIFT Fund Board in the coming 12 months, Switzerland will ensure LIFT’s conflict-sensitivity and benefit from additional access to key decision makers.


Soutien au développement des filière arachide, karité et sésame au Tschad (SODEFIKA)

01.07.2019 - 30.06.2023

Le programme vise le développement des filières arachide, karité et sésame en matière de production, transformation et commercialisation en vue d’accroitre le revenu de 658'000 personnes dont 337'920 femmes dans trois provinces au sud du Tchad. La DDC contribue ainsi à la réduction de la vulnérabilité des exploitations familiales et des inégalités entre hommes et femmes, ainsi qu’à la prévention de la migration.


Choosing coffee over poppy - a public-private partnership (Myanmar)

01.06.2019 - 31.05.2023

In Southern Shan State infrastructure, access to basic services and income opportunities are scarce. Poverty and malnutrition are omnipresent and out-migration is high. Building on a private-public partnership with Malongo, a French coffee company and Walter Matter SA, a Swiss logistics firm, SDC supports the Green Gold coffee cooperative and its 900 members to become a sustainable and business-oriented organisation.

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