Crash Barriers for Food Systems

Cambodia, Germany, International Dialogue, Social-Ecological Transformation | 01.09.2021

Crash Barriers for Food Systems

Incredible examples of solidarity across the urban and rural divide were lived during the COVID-19 pandemic that showed how grassroots and solidarity actions can ensure access to nutritious food for millions of people. While the commercial food and agriculture sector continued operations as an essential service during the lockdowns imposed across the world, the working conditions of the frontline food industry workers—that kept the sector going—have not changed and instead worsened. As local and ‘informal’ food markets were forced to shut down in most countries, millions of people struggled to access food through the supermarket and other ‘formal sector’ food retail channels that remained open. The pandemic demonstrated: The prevailing food system is not only severely broken but in its current form it is irreparable. Hence, we need to urgently transform the food and agricultural systems into localized and people-centric food systems independent of corporate control.

The authors of this publication present alternatives for post-COVID-19 food and agricultural systems from a politically leftist perspective and discuss the impacts of the pandemic with a focus on small-scale food producers who feed the majority of the world’s population, and the invisibility of farmworkers that grow, pick and pack the food sold in supermarkets and other food retail outlets.

By documenting the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on our food systems in different regions across the world, the publication aims to provide an account of the nature of the prevailing food systems globally and their outcomes and reflect upon the experiences and perspectives of the hardest-hit communities within rural and urban settings. The fifth chapter deals with examples from Cambodia.


The Agrarian Politics Working Group of the Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung (RLS) is a collective of people working for RLS offices around the world on issues of food sovereignty, farmworkers’ rights, and agroecology. In collaboration with civil society and farmers’ organizations, they are analyzing the corporate capture of agriculture and advocating for democratic and sustainable food and agricultural systems.

Crash Barriers for Post-COVID-19 Food and Agricultural Systems

Publisher: Rosa-Luxemburg-Stiftung

Authors: The Agrarian Politics Working Group

Date: September 2021

Pages: 72

Download: English version

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