FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

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:
bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550
February 20, 2020
Katie Fite
How the Military is Raiding Public Lands and Civilian Spaces Across the Western Front
Nicholas Levis
Bloomberg is the Equal Evil
David Swanson
Shut Down Canada Until It Solves Its War, Oil, and Genocide Problem
Thomas Knapp
Freedom for $5.30…and This Time Mexico Really is Paying for It
Nick Pemberton
Mr. Sanders: Would You like Your Coffee Without Cream, or Without Milk?
Rachel M. Fazio
A Trillion Trees in Rep. Westerman’s Hands Means a Trillion Stumps
Jeff Mackler
Break With Two-Party Capitalist Duopoly!
Rebecca Gordon
Impunity Guaranteed for Torturers (and Presidents)
Jacob Hornberger
The CIA’s Role in Operation Condor
Miguel A. Cruz-Díaz
Let Rome Burn
Jen Pelz
Reforming Expectations to Save Western Rivers
Maria Paez Victor
Canada Trapped By Its Own Folly
Binoy Kampmark
Pardoning Julian Assange: Trump, WikiLeaks and the DNC
Mel Gurtov
Poor Bill Barr
February 19, 2020
Ishmael Reed
Social Media: The New Grapevine Telegraph
David Schultz
Bernie Sanders and the Revenge of the Superdelegates
Kenneth Surin
Modi’s India
Chris Floyd
Which Side Are You On?
Linda Pentz Gunter
Hysteria Isn’t Killing Nuclear Power
Dave Lindorff
Truly Remaking Social Security is the Key to Having a Livable Society in the US
ANIS SHIVANI
Bloomberg on Bloomberg: The Selected Sayings of the Much-Awaited Establishment Messiah
Binoy Kampmark
Corporate Occupations: The UN Business “Black List” and Israel’s Settlements
Nozomi Hayase
Assange’s Extradition Case: Critical Moment for the Anti-war Movement
Howard Lisnoff
The Wealth That’s Killing Us Will Save Us: Politics Through the Looking-Glass
Yves Engler
Canada, Get Out of the Lima Group, Core Group and OAS
Nick Licata
The Rule of Law Under Trump
Sam Gordon
A Treatise on Trinities
Nino Pagliccia
Open Letter to Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Lima Group Meeting
John Kendall Hawkins
Just Two Kings Talking
February 18, 2020
John Pilger
Julian Assange Must be Freed, Not Betrayed
Peter Harrison
Religion is a Repeating Chapter in the History of Politics
Norman Solomon
The Escalating Class War Against Bernie Sanders
Conn Hallinan
Irish Elections and Unification
Dean Baker
We Shouldn’t Have to Beg Mark Zuckerberg to Respect Democracy
Sam Pizzigati
A Silicon Valley Life Lesson: Money That ‘Clumps’ Crushes
Arshad Khan
Minority Abuse: A Slice of Life in Modi’s India
Walden Bello
China’s Economy: Powerful But Vulernable
Nicolas J S Davies
Afghan Troops say Taliban are Brothers and War is “Not Really Our Fight.”
Nyla Ali Khan
The BJP is Not India, and Every Indian is Not a Modi-Devotee
Binoy Kampmark
Buying Elections: The Bloomberg Meme Campaign
Jonah Raskin
Purgatory Under the Patriarchy
Evaggelos Vallianatos
Herakles in the Age of Climate Chaos
Bob Topper
The Conscience of a Conservative
John W. Whitehead
We’re All in This Together
Gala Pin
Bodies in Freedom: a Barcelona Story
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail