Access to food: the SDC's commitment to sustainable food systems

Sufficient and adequate food is a human right, yet over 800 million people remain chronically undernourished. The SDC works at various levels to ensure that every person in the world has access to sufficient and adequate food.  

A woman stacking apples in a market with a rich selection of fruits and vegetables
The SDC is committed to diversified production and food systems and access to fruit and vegetables for all. © SDC

The SDC's focus

The SDC aims to achieve sustainable food security for all. That is why it promotes agriculture, markets and food policies that guarantee secure access to adequate food even for the poorest and most disadvantaged sections of the population. In its work, the SDC considers all aspects of the entire food system, 'from farm to fork', which affect food availability and quality.

While direct food aid deliveries play an important role during acute crises, the SDC is increasingly supporting projects that prioritise sustainable and balanced long-term nutrition and functioning local markets. In the event of a crisis, food aid can thus be delivered much more efficiently by focusing on those most in need.

The SDC focuses in particular on the role of women and young people in food production and nutrition. It works to ensure that they have access to resources and education. Young people often seek opportunities in the agriculture or food sector, both in the rural and in urban areas. By providing sound training endeavours in organic farming as well as start-up opportunities for food retailers in towns and cities, the SDC helps to boost economic prospects while also strengthening food systems.

To improve access for all, especially disadvantaged groups, the SDC is active in the following areas:

Right to food

The SDC was actively involved in drafting the UN's Voluntary Guidelines to Support the Progressive Realisation of the Right to Adequate Food in the Context of National Food Security, adopted in 2004, and has since been working to ensure their implementation. A number of countries have subsequently adjusted their policies, legislation and institutions in accordance with the Guidelines. The SDC is also working to ensure that civil society organisations and other stakeholders can monitor compliance with the right to adequate food and tell governments where there is potential for improvement.

Balanced nutrition

The SDC works to ensure that, in addition to staple foods, people also have access to a varied diet. To this end, it supports diversified agricultural production and food systems. Information and awareness-raising work, education, access to safe drinking water, healthcare and proper processing and storage of food also play an important role.

Crop forecasting and insurance

The SDC uses new technologies such as satellite data with radar technology to establish crop forecasting and agricultural micro-insurance. Among other things, crop forecasts facilitate the early detection of food crises, enabling timely intervention to prevent food emergencies and famine. In partnership with the private sector, the SDC develops micro-insurance products for smallholder farmers as well as insurance for countries, against flooding and drought for example. This is important to prevent more people falling even deeper into poverty.

Background

Hunger and malnutrition are major challenges. While the proportion of hungry people in the world fell from 23% to 12% between 1992 and 2015, according to the UN approximately 821 million people were chronically undernourished in 2017.

Sufficient and nutritious food is especially important during the first 1,000 days of an infant's life, otherwise the child can suffer permanent damage. According to the 2018 Global Nutrition Report, over 240 million children under the age of five are affected by chronic or acute malnutrition and more than 2 billion people are suffering from vitamin or mineral deficiency. To counter this problem, food can be enriched with micronutrients. However, a sounder approach would be to promote diversified agricultural production that provides access to a wider range of foods.

The right to adequate food is enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948. Article 11 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) made this right legally binding. In Switzerland, the ICESCR came into force in 1992.

To improve the overall quality of food systems, the SDC draws particularly on innovations developed by Swiss universities and private companies. Such partnerships range from research into sustainable cropping systems and scientific consolidation of practical experience from the food industry through to the development and application of technological solutions. The SDC helps to disseminate these approaches through international policy dialogue, drawing on its own decades of experience, as well as that of Swiss non-governmental development organisations in agricultural projects and from collaborative work with farmers' organisations.

Documents

Current projects

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Supporting livestock traceability in the South Caucasus

The image shows a close-up of a calf with an identification tag in its right ear.

15.06.2016 - 31.12.2021

Identifying where animals have come from and recording information about their health is essential in modern agriculture to prevent the spread of diseases and stop products from diseased animals reaching the market. A system to ensure traceability will help to improve the incomes of farmers in the South Caucasus by increasing both herd productivity and the producers’ access to markets.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
South Caucasus
Agriculture & food security
Agriculture value-chain development (til 2016)

15.06.2016 - 31.12.2021


CHF 5'935'000



Soutien au Dispositif National de Prévention et de Gestion des Catastrophes et Crises Alimentaires au Niger (DNPGCCA) – Phase 5

01.05.2016 - 31.12.2021

Au Niger, plus de 3 millions de personnes sont affectées chaque année par l'insécurité alimentaire et nutritionnelle. Ces crises entrainent les ménages dans un cercle vicieux de pauvreté et de vulnérabilité. Pour faire face à ce défi, les autorités du Niger ont créé un dispositif national de prévention et de gestion des catastrophes et crises alimentaires. La Suisse accompagne ce Dispositif afin de soutenir durablement la sécurité alimentaire des populations les plus vulnérables.



Swiss Bluetec Bridge: Swiss start-ups benefit disadvantaged populations

11.02.2016 - 31.05.2024

In addition to the sustainable management of resources and good governance, water-related challenges open up a wide field for technological innovation, particularly in the application of nanotechnologies for water treatment, especially ones which are energy-efficient. The challenge for Swiss Bluetec Bridge is to put these cutting-edge 'Swiss' technologies at the service of the poor and ensure that they are sustainably managed. To do this the project must seek to bridge the gap between public support for start-ups and private investment.


Decentralized Rural Infrastructure and Livelihood Project (DRILP) – Phase III

01.01.2016 - 31.07.2021

DRILP Phase 3 will support the Government of Nepal to accelerate recovery and reconstruction following the devastating earthquake of 25 April 2015 and the major aftershock of 12 May 2015. The project will provide the Technical Assistance (TA) to implement the Asian Development Bank (ADB) financed Earthquake Emergency Assistance Project in rebuilding 450 kms of damaged roads in 12 districts[1] of Nepal and rehabilitate 200 kms of trails in two[2] districts.

[1] The 12 earthquake affected project districts are Solukhumbu, Okhaldhunga, Ramechhap, Dolakha, Kavre, Sindhuli, Kathmandu, Lalitpur, Bhaktapur, Lamjung, Gorkha and Chitwan

[2] Dolakha and Gorkha


Programme de développement social en milieu urbain (PDSU)Programme de développement économique local et de sécurité alimentaire à Koutiala

01.01.2016 - 30.06.2021

Le Programme Sigida Kura a permis d’améliorer les capacités de planification et de gestion des 37  collectivités territoriales du cercle de Koutiala qui ont réalisé des infrastructures permettant d’améliorer  la sécurité alimentaire dans le cercle, d’augmenter les revenus des producteurs et de créer plus de 230 emplois permanents. Avec cette dernière phase, la DDC poursuit son accompagnement aux collectivités territoriales qui mettent en place un cadre durable de leur développement économique local.


El Agua Nos Une – SuizAgua América Latina

Fabricato - industrial water treatment and reuse plant

01.01.2016 - 31.08.2021

Strategic partnerships for water management

Water management is one of the main challenges of the 21st century. Thus, the knowledge generation to make decisions and better collaboration among sectors; are the axis of the present and future well-being of humanity. The initiative “El Agua Nos Une” articulates the work of public institutions, business associations and research centers. It aims at: i) scaling corporate water stewardship in Colombia; ii) strengthening knowledge on water uses, particularly in the agricultural sector; iii) contributing to the national water quality and quantity monitoring program; iv) developing an investment scheme in ecosystem services; and; v) facilitating a community of practice on water footprint and corporate water management in Latin America.


Access Agriculture: Videos for Farmers

01.12.2015 - 30.06.2021

Access Agriculture is a global web platform aiming at providing easy access to agricultural learning and training videos of quality. Over 250 quality training videos will be available and translated into more than 60 local languages. These videos are targeted at small-scale farmers in developing countries as well as research staff, service providers, private and public extension services, farmer organisations and rural tv stations. They enable learning from farmer to farmer to support sustainable agriculture.


Public Private Development Partnership: Social Entrepreneurship Catalytic Impact Financing for Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC-IMPACT)

01.11.2015 - 01.11.2024

Social entrepreneurs (SE) find innovative, effective and efficient solutions to social problems with a private sector, entrepreneurial approach. ODA funds are scarce and need to be used with leverage. This intervention will leverage social enterprises efforts, impact investors’ capital and local government funds for poverty reduction and improved livelihood of low income households.


Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund (ARTF)

01.11.2015 - 31.10.2024

Millions of Afghan women, men and children gained access to services and improved their income since the Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund’s initiation (ARTF) in 2002. It also significantly contributed to the Afghan state’s capacity and legitimacy. ARTF constitutes a coordinated financing mechanism for the state's budget (Recurrent Cost Window) and for its priority national investment projects (Investment Window) in the areas of agriculture, rural development, infrastructure, education, health and governance.


Seeds and Access to Markets Project (SAMP) Phase 3

01.10.2015 - 31.12.2021

The project contributes to increased food and nutrition security of smallholder farmers by improving availability of and access to adequate quantities of quality seeds and planting material of suitable and diversified crop varieties. This enables smallholder farmers to produce enough food to sustain themselves, their communities, and earn higher incomes. The project strengthens national and local farmer-led institutions, supports community seed and commodity production and strengthens seed and commodity distribution networks.


Contribution to the Cotton Reform Multi-Donors Trust Fund of the World Bank in Uzbekistan

01.09.2015 - 30.09.2021

The World Bank led multi-donor trust fund will contribute to a sustainable cotton reform by thoroughly monitoring child and forced labour during cotton harvest, building the capacities of relevant authorities in terms of international standards and legislaion, raising awareness of the population and the stakeholders' groups involved in cotton picking. This will feed into policy dialogue with the Government and eventually eradicate this harmful practice for the rural population.

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