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Constitutional Guarantee of Right to Food and its Enforcement is Necessary


Various issues of rights and freedom have been discussed within the jurisdiction of human rights. United Nation has adopted various treaties to ensure Civil and Political Rights, Economic, Social and Cultural rights worldwide. Human Rights has been listed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights adopted in 1948. Champions of right to food have advocated it as the first right of individuals.

 

In another words, right to food is the right of the common people to have unhindered and easy access to adequate food on daily basis . The International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights 1966 has recognized the right to adequate standard of living, including right to be free from hunger. Article 25.1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights 1948 has also ensured right to food.

 

Clothes, shelter and food are the basic human rights of people. These rights must be fulfilled by the State. Right to food with nutrition has been accepted as right to food. Facts related to gross violation of right to food of the common people due to food crisis and lack of government  policies regarding food have come out occasionally. While discussing about the right to food, the issue of food sovereignty cannot be viewed separately. In 1966, the farmer’s association of 148 nations (Via Campensina) forwarded the seven principles by presenting the concept of food sovereignty. The association gave major importance to agrarian reforms, protection of natural resources, re-building of food entrepreneurship, eradication of global hunger, social peace and democratic control by forwarding the right to food as basic human rights. The Interim Constitution of Nepal 2007 has guaranteed human rights as fundamental rights of the people.

 

Before saying that the State has not ensured right to food, the issues regarding agriculture and land management should be advocated with importance. Ministry of Agriculture and Co-operatives is the line ministry responsible for food security. However, the policies are prepared by the National Planning Commission. Therefore, coordination between these two agencies is necessary. Only proper management of land, the policy regarding modern and commercial agricultural production can guarantee the right to food. Ramesh Prasad Timalsina collected views of right to food activists for “INFORMAL”.

 

1426849701Birendra Adhikari

The class deprived from right to food are workers and poor who cannot feed themselves and are not able to ensure their food security. There is malnutrition. Especially these groups are known to be deprived from right to food and without food security. In legal term, the right to food has been included in the constitution. If other laws are made it will be the issue of protection and prosperity of right to food. The critical issue at present is that the right to food sovereignty has been provided in the Interim Constitution of Nepal but it states that this will be enforced only after making laws. However, we are saying that the right to food must be ensured constitutionally. It cannot be said that it will be enforced only after making laws. This is the legal hurdle in achieving the right to food while there are technical difficulties as well. We are not independent in terms of food production. Even for buckwheat and millet, we have to rely on other countries. We are in such a situation that even fruits, meat and vegetables are being imported from foreign land. Everything is being imported. We have very little commodity that can be exported. Not even 5% is exported as compared to imported goods. This indicates that in coming 8-10 years we are going to suffer from more poverty due to food. The growth in economy due to remittance is temporary. To have a full stomach and nutritious diet, we need to promote agriculture, industries and employment which will make the country’s production sustainable. We believe that the country can only develop if all its people, including post-partum women, children can eat to their fullest and have nutritious diet. But the situation is different and adverse.  The government’s attention must be focused on this issue.

 

 

1426849735Chitra Raj Timalsina

It is more necessary to know about ‘duty to food’ rather than right to food. People need to work first before demanding for right to food. We need to advocate for unconditional guarantee of right to food of senior citizens, people with disabilities and children. Those people, who do not work, spend their time without doing any productive work should not ask for their right to food. The farmers themselves are not able to consume the food they produce. They are compelled to sell their produce in wholesale price and buy the same in retail price. That is why the right to food must be implemented firstlyon the farmers. The government must bring micro finance program targeting small farmers rather than big ones. Only then it will be easier to translate right to food into practice.

 

 

1426849760Budhi Ram Tharu

The issue on right to food has been discussed aplenty since long in Nepal. It is normal that even now this issue is the subject of discussion. It is necessary to view right to food beyond the food security as the food security includes only technical aspects.There are four pillars of food security – availability, adequacy, accessibility and acceptability. We all know that the production is very less in our country. We have been importing produces from other countries since 25/26 years. The first thing necessary is to increase production or productivity. The production has been affected due to the lack of manure, seeds and proper irrigation. So we need to focus on what measures can be adopted to increase the productivity. Firstly, it is necessary to reform the technical aspects. Secondly, policy-level decisions at political level are needed.Government must somehow create an environment of relief to small farmers and ensure their food security and right to food. The ill practice of wasting food is on the rise these days. We can see this in big restaurants and hotels or in receptions. These wastes can be reduced with proper management to ease food availability. If employment and skill are imparted to the citizens, mainly youths and other people can generate income which will ease the food import.

 

 

1426849789Khom Prasad Ghimire

Food is indispensable to a human life. To have easy access to food is the right of an individual. Fruits and vegetables are specially needed food materials in everyday life. Special care should be given from the production to distribution of fruits and vegetables. Safe, quality and pure goods should be brought to the consumers. Farmers and entrepreneurs should be engaged in creating such environment. Nowadays, the use of pesticides in fruits and vegetables is rampant. This has curtailed the people’s right to consume pure food. It is necessary to focus on how to produce pure and edible foods in the context of increasing use of pesticides. It is high time everyone focused on organic production of food. Right to food is not only the people’s right to consume, it is related to the right to life. This is an issue related to health. Some plans of the government have come up. However, their implementation needs to be taken to the people’s level.

Publish Date :March 20, 2015 

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