Food, climate and natural resources

Credit: Pablo Tosco/Oxfam

Almost a billion of us go to bed hungry every night. Not because there isn't enough food for everyone, but because of the deep injustice in the way food is produced and accessed.

Increasing corporate power in food production, the climate crisis and unfair access to natural resources impact on people’s ability to grow and buy food. They are particularly harmful for women, who work in agriculture more than any other sector and produce much of the world’s food.

Hunger in a world of plenty

The food sector reflects the rampant economic and gender inequality that we see in the global economy as a whole. At one end, the people who produce our food, and more so women, often face the greatest levels of hunger, get paid less than men and work under degrading conditions. At the other end, big supermarkets and other corporate food giants control global food markets and reap the profits.

Increasing hunger is driven by the worsening climate crisis. It’s harder to grow food in the face of supercharged storms, more intense droughts, and rising sea levels. Climate change disproportionately affects people in vulnerable situations and threatens their rights.

Climate change also exacerbates pressure on land, alongside the growth in demand for natural resources. Poor communities find themselves in competition with powerful interests for control over the land, water, forest and energy resources that they depend upon for survival.

Let's look at the numbers

821 M

821 million people around the world face chronic food deprivation. This is a return to levels from almost a decade ago.

20 M

In 2017, over 20 million people were on the brink of starvation and in need of humanitarian assistance in East Africa due to the impact of climate change.


For products like Ecuadorian bananas or Indian tea, less than 5% of the price paid by consumers in Europe and the US reach small-scale farmers.

100 M

The World Food Program estimates that giving women farmers more resources could reduce the number of hungry people in the world by 100-150 million.


Indigenous Peoples and local communities legally own just one-fifth of the lands they manage collectively and have protected for centuries.

A fairer and sustainable global food system

Advancing the right of people living in poverty to adequate and sustainable livelihoods has been a cornerstone of Oxfam’s work for many decades. Our goal is to enable millions of women and communities on the frontline of the fight against hunger to respond to a changing climate, to become more resilient and productive, and to secure access to the land and natural resources on which they depend.

Investment in small-scale farming - particularly women farmers - is a proven success in many countries. It can help produce enough to feed a growing population and reduce poverty. We work to make small farms more productive by helping local producers with sustainable techniques, by supporting them to work together in cooperatives and producer organizations, and to advocate to their governments for the investment they need. We also campaign for the right to dignified work in food value chains.

The climate crisis will hit women small-scale farmers and producers harder over the next decade. Our aim is to help them become more resilient and to achieve this we work alongside our partners and allies to enable them to voice their concerns and implement measures to strengthen their capacity to cope. We campaign for greater action to ensure global temperature increases are kept below 1.5C and that people living in developing countries are supported to adapt.

We support women and communities in their struggle to defend their land. We do this by supporting them to call for fairer laws and policies, at a national and global level. We work with farmers and fishers to defend their right to life-sustaining natural resources and against pollution and other threats. And we campaign so that they will be consulted and get their fair share of the revenues in extractive projects.