Roundtable on local government and food security

On 22 October 2015 the DOI and CoE Food Security hosted a roundtable on exploring the link between developmental local government and food security. The objectives of the roundtable were to increase collective analysis and understanding of the extent to which municipalities are fulfilling their obligation towards the right to food and what the roles are for local government in this regard. Approximately 20 participants from academic institutions, state departments, civil society and the private sector attended.

The programme included three sessions:
Session one: The overarching legal framework and national policy context for food security
Session two: Lesson-sharing on case studies and institutional approaches
Session three: Local government mandate on fresh produce markets & opportunities and   strategies for moving forward.

The following themes emerged:

  • A food governance approach needs to be integrated, includes global issues and ensures coordination across spheres of government.
  • A human rights approach must be one where building people’s agency is central
  • Food security cannot be considered in isolation of food systems and must include the private sector, multinationals, etc.
  • Local government control of informal trading is essential to the discussion on markets and access to quality food.
  • Cannot consider right to food without considering land rights and agriculture.
  • Local government has a distinct role in relation to food, land and agriculture and cannot abdicate responsibility to other spheres of government.
  • Participatory local government includes both local government and civil society taking responsibility and exercising agency.
  • Rural and urban linkages are essential to enhancing food security.

Session one and two were completed when the University of the Western Cape was closed in support of the student protests. A smaller and separate focus group discussion is planned for 11 November 2015 to complete session three.