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.
DEMETER (Droits et Egalité pour une Meilleure Economie de la Terre) was 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 examined 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.
As a co-coordinator – along with the Gender Centre at the Geneva Graduate Institute,the Institute of Statistical, Social and Economic Research at the University of Ghana and the Center for Development Oriented Research in Agriculture and Livelihood Systems in Cambodia – the Geneva Academy and its two researchers Dr Christophe Golay and Dr Joanna Bourke Martignoni, was leading the human rights components of this research