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Keyword 12 - The concept of Food Sovereignty

Background

Food sovereignty refers to the right of people to define their own food, agriculture, livestock and fisheries systems. This right encompasses land policies which are ecologically, socially, economically and culturally appropriate to their unique circumstances. Food sovereignty includes fair trade and is not contrary to trade. It allows guaranteeing food security for the people, while trading with other regions specific products, which make up diversity on our planet.
Global trade in fresh and processed fruits and vegetables has increased by 30 percent since 1990. Factors such as consumer pressure, protection of brand image, stricter food regulation and outbreaks pointing out the vulnerability of the fresh produce chain has culminated in the introduction of strict food safety standards which challenge third party countries and may affect their food sovereignty. Traditional production methods may conflict with food safety requirements in export markets and are resulting in non-tariff barriers.
It is has to be taken into account that food safety and acceptable risk is dependent on the context of the situation, including the affected population, preceding events, the extent to which exposure is voluntary, time, and, importantly, location. Within EU safeguarding the quality of Europe’s food is a strong commitment to consumer health. Nonetheless, guaranteeing food supplies of unprecedented quality and safety is an investment in the local and global economy in all regions of the world and takes advantage of emerging trading opportunities in the global fresh produce market. 
This should be combined with enhancing benefits to the developing countries’ national agricultural policies and improving access to safe, nutritious and culturally appropriate food in sufficient quantity and quality for domestic consumption. In the concept of ‘food sovereignty’ food imports should not displace local production nor depress prices and work.

Veg-i-Trade approach

The ethical management of Veg-i-Trade will keep the principle of food sovereignty at the fore and will provide a discussion forum to scientists and stakeholders throughout the elaboration of the Veg-i-Trade work.
This will allow exchange of ideas on the requirements on safe food production for fresh produce as imposed by the European legislation on the one hand and the consequences for exporting opportunities of developing countries on the other hand. Also the development of pathways for capacity building (in Europe and ICPC countries) to ensure both safe food and food security for all irrespective of trading block will be included. Veg-i-Trade will contribute to this clearer understanding for mutual growth.