Food Sovereignty Ghana is a grass-roots movement of Ghanaians, home and abroad, dedicated to the promotion of food sovereignty in Ghana. Our group believes in the collective control over our collective resources, rather than the control of our resources by multinational corporations and other foreign entities. This movement is a product of Special Brainstorming Session meeting on the 21st of March, 2013, at the Accra Freedom Centre. The meeting was in response to several calls by individuals who have been discussing, writing, or tweeting, about the increasing phenomenon of land grabs, the right to water and sanitation as a fundamental human right, water privatization issues, deforestation, climate change, carbon trading and Africa’s atmospheric space, and in particular, the urgent issue of the introduction of GM food technology into our agriculture, particularly, its implications on food sovereignty, sustainable development, biodiversity, and the integrity of our food and water resources, human and animal health, and our very existence as a politically independent people. These calls insisted that these issues need to be comprehensively addressed in a systematic and an organized manner.
Foremost in these calls was the need for a comprehensive agricultural policy that respects the multi-functional roles played by agriculture in our daily lives, and resists the avaricious calculations behind the proposition that food is just another commodity or component for international agribusiness. The trade in futures or speculation involving food have pushed food prices beyond the reach of almost a billion of people in the world who go to bed, each day, hungry. Even though we have have doubled the amount of food to feed everybody in the world today, people still don’t have access to food. The primary cause of this is the neo-liberal agenda of the imperialists, such as the SAP, EPA, AGOA, TRIPS, AoA, AFSNA, AGRA, which have the focus on marginalising the small family farm agriculture that continues to feed over 80% of Africa and replacing them with governance structures, agreements and practices that depend on and promote unsustainable and inequitable international trade and give power to remote and unaccountable corporations.
We came together in order to help turn a new leaf. We see a concerted effort, over the years, to distort our agriculture to such an extent that today, our very survival as a free and independent people crucially depend on how fast we are able to apply the breaks, and to rather urgently promote policies that focus on food for people, and value our local food providers, the arduous role of the resilient small family farm for thousands of years. We need to resist imperialist policies such as the Structural Adjustment Programmes of the World Bank and the IMF which rolled away 30 years of gains towards food sovereignty in the 1970s and 80s. Those African countries that graduated from the SAP were subsequently slammed with HIPIC. In all these years, the imperialist countries fortified their agricultural production with heavy government subsidies, as Africa saw the imposition of stringent conditionality removing all government subsidies on our own agriculture. The effect has been a destruction of our local food production capacity and a dependence on corporations for our daily food needs. This has had a devastating effect on Africa’s agriculture, and our ability to feed ourselves.
We believe that a proper analysis of the food crisis is a matter that cannot be left with trade negotiators, investment experts, or agricultural engineers. It is essentially a matter of political economy. As Jean Ziegler succinctly puts it, “Every child who dies of hunger in today’s world has been murdered.” Our Food Under Our Control! is determined to make sure that such a crime becomes impossible in Ghana. Our number one mission is to switch the language from food security to food sovereignty as the goal, to repeat the words food sovereignty at every opportunity and say we don’t want food security, that can still be dependence, we want food sovereignty, we need food sovereignty. This is not the same as “food security”. A country can have food security through food imports. Dependence on food imports is precarious and prone to multiple risks — from price risks, to supply risks, to conditionality risks (policy conditions that come with food imports). Food sovereignty, on the other hand, implies ensuring domestic production and supply of food. It means that the nationals of the country (or at the very least nationals within the region) must primarily be responsible for ensuring that the nation and the region are first and foremost dependent on their own efforts and resources to grow their basic foods.
Aims and objectives:
1. To help promote the people’s right to healthy and culturally appropriate food produced through ecologically sound and sustainable methods, and to generally ensure the priority of domestic food crops produced by small farms over export crops.
2. To help create mass awareness about the political, economic, health and environmental impacts of genetically modified food technology and defend the right of the people to define their own food and agricultural systems.
3. To help ensure small farms are sustained by state provision and facilitation of necessary infrastructure: Security of land tenure, Water, Financial credit, Energy, Fertilizers, Transport, Storage, Extension service, Marketing, Technology and Equipment for production, harvesting, storage and transport, and Insurance against crop failures due to climate changes, or other unforeseen circumstances.
4. To help resist the theft, destruction, and loss of the Commons, our natural and indigenous resources, by means of laws, commercial contracts and intellectual property rights regimes, and to generally serve as the watch-dog over all aspects of agricultural sustainability in Ghana.
5. To help protect and preserve public access to and ownership of the Commons: Water, Land, Air, Seeds, Energy, Plants, Animals, and work closely with like-minded local, national, and international organisations in the realization of the foregoing objectives.