Fourth and finally, political obstacles remain. Large agribusiness actors veto any significant change that would threaten their position in the system, and that would question, in particular, the relegation of the farmer to the position of a captive buyer of inputs, and a provider of raw materials to the food processing industry.

These obstacles are formidable. This is why food democracy – the ability for people to make real choices about how to produce food, what to produce, and how to eat – is key to unlocking the system. The agroecological revolution is much needed. It will however only succeed if we overcome the political economy obstacles to change. I welcome this edition of Rural 21 as an important contribution to such an ambitious and urgent undertaking.

Olivier De Schutter is Member of the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and was the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the right to food from 2008 to 2014.

Contact: olivier.deschutter(at)uclouvain.be