The power of procurement: public purchasing and the right to food
On May 15 2014, the UN Special Rapporteur on the right to food, Olivier De Schutter urged governments to exploit the full potential of public food purchasing in order to make food systems fairer and more sustainable. His remarks came as he officially published his report on public procurement and the right to food.
The report emphasises the importance of public procurement in helping small-scale producers and reducing rural poverty. Mr De Schutter calls on public procurers to take inspiration from initiatives such as the Home-Grown School Feeding and the Purchase for Progress programmes, which incorporate broader social initiatives into their food procurement objectives.
“Governments have few sources of leverage over increasingly globalized food systems – but public procurement is one of them. When sourcing food for schools, hospitals and public administrations, Governments have a rare opportunity to support more nutritious diets and more sustainable food systems in one fell swoop,” said the independent expert.