The Right To Food

Mexico has recently launched a crusade against hunger, a move that is based on the right to food which was part of their 2011 constitution. Argentina, Brazil, Ecuador and Guatemala are also countries which are moving in the direction of the right to food. In Africa too the right to food is gaining. In Zambia, for example, the 2011 food, security and nutrition action plan works toward it. The UN Rapporteur assigned to this issue says that the right to food directly or indirectly influences policy, clarifies the causes and solutions of hunger, and works toward accountability. There is as yet no enforcement system, should countries not implement their own rules, no agencies international or local will make them accountable. Research shows, however, that the countries where progress has been made in reducing hunger, share certain traits: political commitment; involvement and empowerment of civil society; the use of a long term approach; coordinated policies in education, gender, water and sanitation; pro-poor economic development; trade and domestic financial investment backed by external matching funds. Research also shows that one time efforts over short periods do not achieve results. The elimination of hunger may still be a long way off, but it’s heartening to know that at a time when the curtailing Food Stamps benefits and eligibility, the right to food is making inroads.