Monday, June 7, 2010

Put people first with food security, say Jesuits

The Jesuit-run Indian Social Institute (ISI) in Bangalore is lobbying for equitable and sustainable food systems based on “a pro-people right to food.”
Some 100 participants from south India attended the June 5-6 consultation organized by the Delhi-based Jesuit institute.
Participants called on the Indian government to make food available, accessible and affordable “at all times in all circumstances”.
Saying they opposed “the unhealthy use of fertile agricultural land”, participants also demanded that the government promote agricultural sector growth.
“Everyone has a fundamental right to be free from hunger and to receive a required-level of nutrition,” a consultation statement said.
The consultation also criticized the proposed Food Security Act 2009, describing it as “a bundle of contradictions, broken promises and abdication of state responsibility.”
The draft bill defines food security as a “situation that exists when all people at all times have physical, social and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food that meets their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life.”
ISI director, Father M. K. George, said he hoped that the consultation would launch an intensified campaign for a “just and humane act.”
The consultation also aimed to promote debate on loopholes in the draft act, Jesuit Father Prakash Louis, director of the Jesuit Refugee Service-South Asia and co-organizer of the consultation, told
Lobbying will continue in favor of a “pro-people right to food act,” he added.
Caritas India and nine other NGOs assisted the ISI with the consultation.

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