Food self-sufficiency in times of COVID-19

From a few years to date, it has been identified as a need to strengthen the food self self-sufficiency in communities and rural units, which in these moments of contingency, that need becomes even more evident. From AMBIO, it has been identified that most of the communities in rural areas, increasingly become more dependent on external markets for their food security.

With data collected by the Cooperative during 2013, in El Ocote Jungle Biosphere Reserve Area (REBISO), it was recorded that the communities studied produced between 50-70% of basic grains. The shortfall was covered through the different allownce programs promoted by the government, or through the purchase of grains that come from different regions of the country or are even imported.

Recently, given the contingency we are experiencing, some smallholders in Chiapas stated that they had a shortage of corn, due to the fact that the mobility of grains throughout the country was reduced. This forced them to buy in regions that they did not usually buy, such as in nearby communities or regions, as long as they will have surpluses.

Due to this problem, it is urgent to promote the food self-sufficiency of the communities and family units. Some mechanisms are the promotion of local products, the improvement, strengthening and diversification of traditional production systems (such as the milpa and the use of native seeds), the recovery of agroecological practices that contribute to the strengthening of production systems, the health of ecosystems and families.

Public policies that prioritize local production approaches are also required, as a tool that contributes to food security and a strategy to reduce risks in this type of scenario. On this occasion, it was a health situation, but we can face other natural risk scenarios derived from climate change. 

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