Masifundise was invited to share insights on food sovereignty in the context of small-scale fisheries to the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment on the 10 May 2023.

This was an important opportunity in the campaign for the realisation of small-scale fishing rights, as it is the role of Portfolio Committees to oversee the work of the department they are responsible for (in this instance the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and Environment) and to hold them accountable. This includes various aspects of the department such as its functioning and policies, as well as any related matters of public interest.

The meeting took place online, where the Masifundise team had a few minutes to share their insights with the committee. During the presentation, the team shared the importance of embracing a food sovereignty approach as opposed to a focus on the limited concept of food security.

“Food security is limited as it ignores the root causes of hunger, does not address peoples’ right to access and control of their territories and natural resources, and gives power to big industries and corporations at the expense of the livelihoods of local people.  The various laws and policies at national level, together with international instruments, speak to the rights of small-scale fishers, and can be used to set a pathway towards food sovereignty” said Yvette Le Fleur from Masifundise.

The committee was made aware that despite the existence of favourable national laws and policies, as well as international instruments, small-scale fishers’ human rights, especially their right to food and sustainable development are ignored and constantly under threat.

The presentation concluded with recommendations of how a pathway towards food sovereignty can be achieved. An example of this can be through, but not limited to, the development and investment in local markets, including the sector in public procurement processes such as feeding schemes at hospitals and schools, and in decision-making processes as part of co-management. 

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