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Agricultural research for food sovereignty: side event at the Terra Petra Forum on the food crisis, climate, agrofuels and food sovereignty

Michel Pimbert

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Throughout the world, publicly-funded research shapes the choices that are available to farmers, food workers and consumers, and the environments in which they live and work. There is an increasing need to explore ways of democratising the governance of science and technology, ensuring that it continues to serve the public good rather than narrow economic interests. A series of conversations with farmers, pastoralists, indigenous peoples, policy-makers and representatives of social movements between 2005-2007 led to the formulation of a major multi-country initiative to enable citizens to exercise their democratic imagination to decide on the kind of food and agricultural research they want. This international initiative has now become an action research proposal: Democratising the Governance of Food Systems. Citizens Rethinking Food and Agricultural Research for the Public Good1. Rather than offer ready made solutions this project support a decentralized and bottom up process whereby farmers and other citizens can decide what type of agricultural research is needed for food sovereignty, and also organize to collectively push for change in policies and practice.

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This project looked at the ecological basis of food and agriculture, the social and environmental costs of modern food systems, and the policy reversals needed to democratise food systems.

More at www.iied.org:
Towards food sovereignty: reclaiming autonomous food systems

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