Glossary and Acronyms

AGRARIAN REFORM (including LAND REFORM): A set of political, economic, social and legislative measures promoted in order to modify the structure of land ownership and production in a given place. Agrarian reforms seek to solve the concentration of land ownership in a few owners and low agricultural productivity due to the non-use of derived technologies and infrastructures or speculation with land prices that prevents its productive use. 

AGRICULTURAL COMMODITY: Staple crops and animals produced or raised on farms or plantations. Most agricultural commodities include cereals, livestock, and dairy and are destined for exports. 

AGROECOLOGY and PEASANT AGROECOLOGY: Agroecology is an approach to food production that centres the wellbeing of the population and the preservation of biodiversity. Agroecology can be variously defined as: a set of agricultural practices that aims to mimic natural processes; an approach to food production and economics that puts people and planet over profit; and a political movement that struggles for food sovereignty as a way of transforming food systems.  Peasant agroecology is an alternative to the model of corporate-led food production that drives peasant farmers out of their lands and keeps farmers in poverty. Peasant agroecology does not only consider the agricultural practices but gives also importance to the struggle for land reforms that put at the centre those who work and preserve the land.  

AGROTOXINS/AGROTOXICS: Agrochemicals are generally defined as pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, and insecticides and may also contain hormones or other chemical growth agents. These chemical products are used in agriculture and manufactured with the purpose to kill insects and weeds. In the last decades, movements from the Global South, particularly in Latin America, started defining these agrochemicals “agrotoxics/agrotoxins” (from the Spanish and Portuguese agrotóxicos), highlighting their highly toxic and hazardousness and the dangerous impact that these products have had in the last decades on the health of farmers and rural communities exposed to their fumigation. More information and an updated list of these highly hazardous pesticides is published yearly by the international organisation Pesticides Action Network. 

FAO: Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations. 

FINANCIALISATION: The growing power and influence of global finance, which primarily aims at creating financial profits through the extraction of wealth and the transferring of substantive income flows from the real/productive sectors of the economy to the financial sector.  

FINTECH: Fintech describes the application of digital information technologies to finance and management. Fintech may utilise algorithms, blockchains and Big Data to increase its effective management of money or resources. 

GREEN REVOLUTION: A term originally coined in 1968 by the US Agency for International Development (USAID) to describe a strong growth in agricultural production due to investments in research and development on improved varieties of rice and wheat. The breeding of these new varieties required the expanded use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides. While the first experiments were conducted in the US, corporations needed new markets to expand and the Green Revolution was exported to many countries in Asia and Latin America, which experienced increases in yield in the short and medium term but suffered dramatic impacts in the long term on environmental degradation. The Green Revolution had also impacted income inequality, inequitable asset distribution, and worsened absolute poverty. A thorough analysis of the history of the Green Revolution is covered in War on Want’s first report.  

HUNGER: According to FAO, hunger can be defined as an uncomfortable or painful sensation caused by insufficient energy from diet. Often, the term hunger is measured by the prevalence of undernourishment. 

MALNUTRITION: According to FAO, malnutrition can be defined as an abnormal physiological condition caused by inadequate, unbalanced or excessive intake of macronutrients and/or micronutrients. Malnutrition includes undernutrition (child stunting and wasting, and vitamin and mineral deficiencies) as well as overweight and obesity. 

MODERATE FOOD INSECURITY:  According to FAO, moderate food insecurity can be defined as a level of severity of food insecurity at which people face uncertainties about their ability to obtain food and have been forced to reduce, at times during the year, the quality and/or quantity of food they consume due to lack of money or other resources. It refers to a lack of consistent access to food, which diminishes dietary quality and disrupts normal eating patterns.  

NATURE-BASED SOLUTIONS: the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) at its 2016 World Conservation Congress defined Nature-Based Solutions as “actions to protect, sustainably manage, and restore natural or modified ecosystems, that address societal challenges effectively and adaptively, simultaneously providing human well-being and biodiversity benefits”.  

PEASANTS: According to the UNDROP, peasants are not only smallholder farmers (with usually less than 5-10 hectares of land, depending on the geographical region), but any person engaged in artisanal or small-scale agriculture, crop planting, livestock raising, pastoralism, fishing, forestry, hunting or gathering, and handicrafts related to agriculture or a related occupation in a rural area. It also applies to dependent family members of peasants. The UNDROP declaration also extends the definition to Indigenous peoples and local communities working on the land, transhumant, nomadic and semi-nomadic communities, and the landless, engaged in the above-mentioned activities; hired workers, including all migrant workers regardless of their migration status, and seasonal workers, on plantations, agricultural farms, forests and farms in aquaculture and in agro-industrial enterprises. 

RIGHT TO DEVELOPMENT: An inalienable human right by virtue of which every human person and all peoples are entitled to participate in, contribute to and enjoy economic, social, cultural and political development, in which all human rights and fundamental freedoms can be fully realised. This right derives from the UN Declaration on the Right to Development that was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in December 1986.  

RIGHT TO FOOD: First declared in the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights and later in the 1966 International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the right to food is intended as “the right to have regular, permanent and unrestricted access, either directly or by means of financial purchases, to quantitatively and qualitatively adequate and sufficient food corresponding to the cultural traditions of the people to which the consumer belongs, and which ensures a physical and mental, individual and collective, fulfilling and dignified life free of fear”.141  

SEVERE FOOD INSECURITY:  According to FAO, severe food insecurity can be defined as a level of severity of food insecurity at which, at some time during the year, people have run out of food, experienced hunger and at the most extreme, gone without food for a day or more.  

UNDROP: United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Peasants and Other People Working in Rural Areas. 

UNFSS: United Nations Food Systems Summit