Global Food Security

Food, next to life itself, has become our greatest common denominator. Its availability, quality, price, its reflection of the culture it feeds and its moral and religious significance make it quite literally history’s `staff of life.’ Today, in the never-ending worldwide struggle to determine who will control its production, quality and accessibility, food is no longer viewed first and foremost as a sustainer of life.

Rather, to those who seek to command our food supply it has become instead a major source of corporate cash flow, economic leverage, a form of currency, a tool of international politics, an instrument of power — a weapon!

Alarmed over the future of the agricultural producers of our food throughout the world and that so-called free trade policies by the U.S. and other major nations and corporations may further perpetuate such policies. A Building Sustainable Futures for Farmers Globally campaign is asking farm organizations and other civil society groups around the world to sign onto to “A Call For Action” in support of agriculture, trade and food policies that support a sustainable livelihood for farmers and assure food for all.

The Coalition points out that market deregulation has facilitated growing market concentration in the agriculture and food industries while at the same time encouraging costly and unsustainable overproduction and dumping of strategic agricultural commodities onto world markets at prices substantially below the cost of production.

The result has pressured world commodity prices has threatened farmers and farmworkers around the world since dumping of agricultural commodities seriously undercuts the ability of small farmers and peasants in developing countries to sell their goods at fair prices in their own domestic markets.

Such actions have only exacerbated artificially low prices by direct government subsidy payments to large farmers while farmers in developing countries are disproportionately impacted as their governments cannot afford such expensive direct subsidy payments to farmers.

At the same time, large corporate agribusiness firms are demanding that developing countries dismantle their remaining quotas and tariffs in the name of “market access;” despite the fact that such border controls are the only recourse developing countries have to shield their agricultural markets from below-cost imports. At the same time rural communities are coming under severe strain due to low prices both in the United States and throughout the world.

As the Coalition”s “Call to Action” emphasizes “unless new farm policies are first put in place that provide fair prices to farmers from the market and curtail overproduction, eliminating U.S. farm subsidies could in fact harm many smaller-scale family farmers in the United States and lead to further market concentration.

“As a result, the Building Sustainable Futures for Farmers Globally campaign advocates a broad platform to address the overproduction and low prices that are harming small farmers in the U.S. and abroad.”

Pledging their support for alternative agriculture and trade policies that will provide sustainable livelihoods for farmers in the United States and around the globe, the Coalition will strive to ensure that global food corporations pay family farmers a fair price for their products in the marketplace and promote socially and environmentally sustainable farming.

They call for U.S. agricultural and trade policies that:

* Ensure food sovereignty. International agreements should be reached that respect and ensure the right of all countries to achieve food sovereignty by developing their own domestic farm and food policies that respond to the needs of their farmers, consumers and communities and advocate access to adequate and nutritious food for all people.

* Curtail overproduction. Raise low commodity prices, and end dumping abroad and support a worldwide ban on dumping and work toward all countries taking immediate steps to develop and implement this ban. In the United States, support the establishment of a price floor for commodities in conjunction with strategic food, crop acreage and grain reserves that will mitigate food emergencies, insure farmers against crop disasters, ensure energy security and meet environmental stewardship goals.

* At the same time antitrust enforcement needs to be strengthened to reverse current trends towards the concentration of agricultural markets and further industrialization of our food system.

* Advancing sustainable bioenergy production. The production of energy from biomass feedstocks offers the potential to decrease U.S. dependency on oil, while also decreasing dumping of corn and other commodities that hurt developing country producers. Support programs that would promote domestic production of sustainable biomass crops to meet growing demand; foster local ownership of and investment in processing facilities to benefit local economic development; and encourage sustainable agricultural production practices to ensure long-term ecological integrity for future generations of farmers producing biomass energy crops.

* Diminish inequalities both among and within countries and support small scale, family oriented agriculture. Commodity-oriented, industrial agriculture support programs in many countries exclude small-scale, indigenous and minority farmers, especially women.

Many of these farmers have also historically been denied land and credit. In addition, the current trend towards exploitative contract farming forces producers to sell at unfair prices and under unfair terms.

* Support is needed for domestic and international programs that serve diverse and sustainable farms and ranches, and that promote ethnic and gender equity and the preservation of rural livelihoods both in the United States and abroad.

* Transform U.S. food aid policies to promote more flexible and comprehensive aid to developing countries. Rather than require food aid be sourced from U.S. commodities, support for a transition to more flexible cash aid is needed so that food aid can be purchased and delivered at the lowest cost and greatest speed.

This would enable local farmers to become economically viable producers of their nations’ own food supply. Participation of local governments and civil societies in decision-making on food aid and an approach to development assistance that addresses the root causes of food crises is also necessary.

* Respect the rights of immigrants and farmworkers. The dumping of agricultural products in developing countries has resulted in the displacement of many small-scale farmers, forcing them to migrate in search of work. The Coalition supports comprehensive immigration reform that allows economic migrants a pathway to citizenship.

“In a just food system, farmworkers should have the rights to organize, to receive fair wages, to decent and safe working conditions and to basic labor protections. We support identifying mechanisms in the 2007 Farm Bill to assure that these labor rights and conditions are respected, and that the fundamental civil rights of immigrant workers are protected.”

Further information concerning the campaign and the coalition can be obtained at www.globalfarmer.org or by contacting Patty Kupfer, pkupfer@ruralco.org

AL KREBS is the editor of The Agribusiness Examiner “Monitoring corporate agribusiness from a public interest perspective“. He can be reached at avkrebs@comcast.net


More articles by:
Weekend Edition
September 20, 2019
Friday - Sunday
Ismael Hossein-Zadeh
Unipolar Governance of the Multipolar World
Rob Urie
Strike for the Environment, Strike for Social Justice, Strike!
Miguel Gutierrez
El Desmadre: The Colonial Roots of Anti-Mexican Violence
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Pompeo and Circumstance
Andrew Levine
Why Democrats Really Should Not All Get Along But Sometimes Must Anyway
Louis Proyect
A Rebellion for the Wild West
T.J. Coles
A Taste of Their Own Medicine: the Politicians Who Robbed Iranians and Libyans Fear the Same for Brexit Britain
H. Bruce Franklin
How We Launched Our Forever War in the Middle East
Lee Hall
Mayor Obedience Training, From the Pet Products Industry
Louis Yako
Working in America: Paychecks for Silence
Michael D. Yates
Radical Education
Jonathan Cook
Israelis Have Shown Netanyahu the Door. Can He Inflict More Damage Before He Exits?
Valerie Reynoso
The Rising Monopoly of Monsanto-Bayer
John Steppling
American Psychopathy
Ralph Nader
25 Ways the Canadian Health Care System is Better than Obamacare for the 2020 Elections
Ramzy Baroud
Apartheid Made Official: Deal of the Century is a Ploy and Annexation is the New Reality
Vincent Emanuele
Small Town Values
John Feffer
The Threat of Bolton Has Retreated, But Not the Threat of War
David Rosen
Evangelicals, Abstinence, Abortion and the Mainstreaming of Sex
Judy Rohrer
“Make ‘America’ White Again”: White Resentment Under the Obama & Trump Presidencies
John W. Whitehead
The Police State’s Language of Force
Kathleen Wallace
Noblesse the Sleaze
Farzana Versey
Why Should Kashmiris be Indian?
Nyla Ali Khan
Why Are Modi and His Cohort Paranoid About Diversity?
Shawn Fremstad
The Official U.S. Poverty Rate is Based on a Hopelessly Out-of-Date Metric
Mel Gurtov
No War for Saudi Oil!
Robert Koehler
‘I’m Afraid You Have Humans’
David Swanson
Every Peace Group and Activist Should Join Strike DC for the Earth’s Climate
Scott Owen
In Defense of Non-violent Actions in Revolutionary Times
Jesse Jackson
Can America Break Its Gun Addiction?
Priti Gulati Cox
Sidewalk Museum of Congress: Who Says Kansas is Flat?
Mohamad Shaaf
The Current Political Crisis: Its Roots in Concentrated Capital with the Resulting Concentrated Political Power
Max Moran
Revolving Door Project Probes Thiel’s White House Connection
Arshad Khan
Unhappy India
Nick Pemberton
Norman Fucking Rockwell! and 24 Other Favorite Albums
Nicky Reid
The Bigotry of ‘Hate Speech’ and Facebook Fascism
Paul Armentano
To Make Vaping Safer, Legalize Cannabis
Jill Richardson
Punching Through Bad Headlines
Jessicah Pierre
What the Felicity Huffman Scandal Says About America
Tracey Aikman
President Trump, I’m One of the Workers You Lied To
John Kendall Hawkins
Draining the Swamp, From the Beginning of Time
Julian Rose
Four Funerals and a Wedding: A Brief History of the War on Humanity
Victor Grossman
Film, Music and Elections in Germany
Elliot Sperber
Captains of Industry 
September 19, 2019
Richard Falk
Burning Amazonia, Denying Climate Change, Devastating Syria, Starving Yemen, and Ignoring Kashmir