By Ray Bush
The Observatoire de la Souveraineté Alimentaire et de l’Environnement (OSAE) is a new innovative and exciting NGO focused on promoting food sovereignty, positive environmental transformation and they do this with ideas and actions of small-scale family farmers. Based in Tunis, the brainchild of Habib Ayeb, it has a small staff of engaged activists who in September organized food sovereignty days. This was an amazing journey into the breadth and range of small farmer struggles for autonomy and improved livelihoods throughout Tunisia focusing on the areas between the capital and the South East Oasis town on Gabes and beyond.
The seven principles of food sovereignty are well known, or should be by now. They are food as a basic human right; agrarian reform; protection of natural resources, reorganisation of food trade, the prioritisation of production for local consumption; the ending of globalised hunger; social peace and democratic control. The principles constitute what some have called an ‘epistemic shift’ from the mainstream preoccupation with chemicalised food production, mainly for export rather than local consumption.
The Journées de la Souveraineté Alimentaire et de l’Environnement, in English ‘food sovereignty days’, began with the important and challenging introduction to the Tunisian National Genetic Bank (BNG).