Land Commercialization, Gendered Agrarian Transformation and the Right to Food (DEMETER)

Started in January 2015

A number of forces – including transnational land acquisitions, increased national investment in agriculture, migration patterns, environmental concerns and laws and policies at different levels – have come together in recent years to put commercial pressure on land in the South and encourage its commodification. This has accelerated processes of agrarian transition, affecting rural livelihoods and the right to food.

The outcomes of these processes differ for women and men. Evidence shows that food insecurity is gendered and that women and girls are more likely to suffer from undernourishment. There is further evidence that women do not gain as much as men from agricultural modernization or from large-scale industrial agriculture. Studies demonstrate, however, that household food security and child nutrition improve when women have greater control over income, land and decision-making.

The Project

DEMETER (Droits et Egalité pour une Meilleure Economie de la Terre) is a six-year project, launched in 2015 and funded by the Research for Development Programme (r4d) of the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation. It examines the relationship between the right to food and gender equality in ensuring food security in the context of land commercialization in two case-study countries, Cambodia and Ghana.

Objectives

Its overall objective is to strengthen knowledge about the relationship between food security, the right to food and gender equality in order to empower women and men to claim their rights and encourage governments to facilitate their realization. The project also aims to strengthen awareness of the relevance of rights-based, gender-equitable approaches to food security among stakeholders at the local, national and international levels through training, policy dialogue and publications.

Coordinating the Human Rights Component

As a co-coordinator – along with the Centre on Gender and Global Change at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Institute of Statistical, Social and Economic Research at the University of Ghana and Center for Development Oriented Research in Agriculture and Livelihood Systems in Cambodia – the Geneva Academy is leading the human rights components of this research. This is in partnership with development economists, political scientists, agronomists and anthropologists in Cambodia, Ghana and Switzerland.

In September 2015, the Geneva Academy organized a workshop on right to food indicators, which brought together DEMETER researchers and researchers from the Towards Food Sustainability project, also co-coordinated by the Geneva Academy and funded by the Swiss r4d programme. The workshop examined ways of measuring the realization of the right to food in the four countries studied by the projects (Bolivia, Cambodia, Ghana, and Kenya). It was significant not only for its substantive findings, but also for the fact that it was the first time in the history of the food security r4d funding scheme that two projects have held a joint event. Collaboration and exchanges will continue throughout the lifetime of both projects.

Expected Outputs

Outputs of the project include: policy and legal briefings, training for community members and policy-makers, academic publications and presentations at conferences and other national and international events related to gender equality and food security.

NEWS AND UPCOMING EVENTS

Groundnuts at the weekly market of Chiana, Kassena Nankana District - Ghana. News

Major Publication Concludes a Multi-Year Project on Agricultural Commercialisation, Gender Equality and the Right to Food

11 October 2022

The book analyses processes of agricultural commercialization and their impact on gender inequalities and the enjoyment of the human rights to food, land and social security in Cambodia and Ghana.

Read more >

Guinea - Rural Women's Cooperative News

Towards a Feminist Methodology for Implementing the Right to Food in Agrarian Communities

10 September 2021

In an article published in The Journal of Peasant Studies, our Senior Research Fellow Dr Joanna Bourke Martignoni discusses – on the basis of research carried out at the Geneva Academy – the extent to which a feminist approach makes a difference to the realization of the rights to food, land, decent work, and social security.

Read more >

Woman in a market in Africa News

New Publication Details the Impact of Agricultural and Land Commercialization on Gender Equality and the Right to Food

3 November 2020

A new Research Brief summarizes a number of findings from a research partnership of practitioners and scholars from Cambodia, Ghana, and Switzerland.

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RESEARCHERS

Picture of Christophe Golay

Christophe Golay

Senior Research Fellow

Dr Christophe Golay's expertise relates to economic, social and cultural rights, the right to food and the rights of peasants.

Picture of Joanna Bourke Martignoni

Joanna Bourke Martignoni

Associate Research Fellow

Joanna Bourke Martignoni's research areas include the right to food, land commercialization, climate change, the right to education and gender equality.

Publications

Cover page of the book

Agricultural Commercialization, Gender Equality and the Right to Food

September 2022

Christophe Golay, Joanna Bourke Martignoni, Christophe Gironde, Elisabeth Prügl, Dzodzi Tsikata

Taylor & Francis

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Cover page of the policy brief

Women Are Peasants Too: Gender Equality and the UN Declaration on the Rights of Peasants

December 2021

Joanna Bourke Martignoni

Coventry University Policy Brief

Download >

Cover page of the policy brief

Les femmes aussi sont des paysannes: l’égalité des sexes et la déclaration des nations unies sur les droits des paysans

December 2021

Joanna Bourke Martignoni

Coventry University Policy Brief

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Cover page of the policy brief

المتعلّق بحقوق الفلّحين الجندرية وإعلان الأمم المتحّدة النساء فلّحاتٌ أيضًا: المساواة

December 2021

Joanna Bourke Martignoni

Coventry University Policy Brief

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Cover page of the policy brief

Las mujeres también son campesinas: La igualdad de género y la Declaración de las Naciones Unidas sobre los Derechos de los Campesinos

December 2021

Joanna Bourke Martignoni

Coventry University Policy Brief

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Cover page of the journal

A Feminist Methodology for Implementing the Right to Food in Agrarian Communities: Reflections from Cambodia and Ghana

August 2021

Joanna Bourke Martignoni

The Journal of Peasant Studies

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Cover page of the Research Brief

Agricultural and Land Commercialization: Do they Foster Gender Equality and the Right to Food?

November 2020

DEMETER

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Cover page of the Transnational Legal Theory Journal

Engendering the Right to Food? International Human Rights Law, Food Security and the Rural Woman

January 2019

Joanna Bourke Martignoni

Transnational Legal Theory Journal

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Cover of the Resarch Brief: Gender Equality and the Right to Food

Gender Equality and the Right to Food

January 2017

Joanna Bourke Martignoni

Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights

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Past Events

Agricultural Commercialisation, Gender Equality and the Right to Food. Insights from Cambodia and Ghana

14 October 2022, 13:00-14:00

Read more >

MORE ON THIS THEMATIC AREA

Portrait of Steven L. B. Jensen News

Our New Visiting Fellow: Steven L.B. Jensen

5 September 2022

A Senior Researcher at The Danish Institute for Human Rights and the author of the multiple prize-winning book The Making of International Human Rights, Steven L. B. Jensen just started as Visiting Fellow at the Geneva Academy.

Read more

Coffee plants News

Inputting Negotiations on Farmer’s Rights at the ITPGRFA Governing Body

22 September 2022

In parallel to the 9th session of the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture Governing Body, the Geneva Academy is contributing to the upcoming negotiations on farmers’ rights with a timely briefing paper.

Read more

Denmark, Lolland landscape with tractor Event

UNDROP in the Future EU Seed Marketing Reform: The Perspective of Denmark

29 November 2022, 15:30-17:00

This online workshop will look into what the UN Declaration on the rights of peasants and the EU reform on the marketing of seeds mean in the Danish context.

Read more

Wheat field Project

The Right to Seeds in Europe

Started in January 2018

The project will notably identify the main opportunities and obstacles to protect the right to seeds in Europe. It will also discuss how to promote changes in European laws, policies and trade agreements to ensure that they do not infringe, but facilitate the realization of peasants’ right to seeds.

Read more

Madagascar, Miarinarivo district. Women transplanting rice. Project

The Rights of Peasants

Started in May 2008

After having provided academic support to the negotiation of the UN Declaration for ten years, this research project focuses on the implementation of the UN Declaration on the rights of peasants and other people working in rural areas.

Read more

Cover page of the book Publication

Agricultural Commercialization, Gender Equality and the Right to Food

published on September 2022

Christophe Golay, Joanna Bourke Martignoni, Christophe Gironde, Elisabeth Prügl, Dzodzi Tsikata

Read more

Cover page of the policy brief Publication

Women Are Peasants Too: Gender Equality and the UN Declaration on the Rights of Peasants

published on December 2021

Joanna Bourke Martignoni

Read more