From IFOAM’s perspective, the Right to Food also means that life cannot be patented. Patents on life support the monopoly control of genetic resources by few, thereby extensively undermining peoples’ right and access to food. IFOAM believes that the Earth’s gene pool cannot be claimed as commercially negotiable genetic information or intellectual property by governments, commercial enterprises, other institutions or individuals. The intentional use of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs), which is banned in organic production, epitomizes abhorrence of the Right to Food. GMO’s and patents on life substantially contribute to the current deplorable world food situation.
Organic farming systems prioritize local and national economies and markets and empower peasant and family farmer-driven agriculture, food production, distribution and consumption based on the Principles of Organic Agriculture, which ensure environmental, social and economic sustainability. Through its traceable systems, whether through third-party organic certification or through Participatory Guarantee Systems and the involvement of the community, organic production guarantees just income to all peoples and the rights of citizens to choose their food and nutrition patterns. Organic production is the systematic approach that helps ensure the rights of people to control their destiny, and as a result, to beat hunger and malnutrition. Organic farming offers the tools and techniques necessary to ensure the Right to Food for subsistence farmers and local communities, and offers sustainable models for regional development and international trade.
The reality of what Organic Agriculture can and is doing for food security and in securing the Right to Food is being proven by intergovernmental agencies and independent universities. At the conference Organic Agriculture and Food Security in May 2007 at the headquarters of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the findings were that Organic Agriculture empowers social systems to control their own food supply and organic labels enforce the right to choose food, and that in sub-Saharan Africa, a conversion of up to 50 percent would likely increase food availability and decrease food import dependency. (ftp://ftp.fao.org/docrep/fao/meeting/012/j9918e.pdf) Reputable studies by major universities are finding organic agriculture can feed the world as well. A recent study by the University of Michigan showed that organic farming can yield up to three times as much food on individual farms in developing countries, and that in developed countries, yields were almost equal on organic and conventional farms. (http://www.ns.umich.edu/htdocs/releases/story.php?id=5936) A 22- year study by Cornell University concluded that organic farming produces the same yields of corn and soybeans as conventional farming, but uses 30 percent less energy, less water and no pesticides. (http://www.news.cornell.edu/stories/July05/organic.farm.vs.other.ssl.html)
Angela B. Caudle, IFOAM Executive Director stresses “since food is directly connected to communities and cultures, the Right to Food is also connected to community and rural development. There needs to be space for development that is not created by donating chemical fertilizers, but rather supports the regeneration and improvement of indigenous and local knowledge.”