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By Jake Miller
September 18th, 2007
When something sounds too good to be true, it often is.
Clean, green, biofuels that magically reduce dependance on fossil fuels and reduce global warming with no negative impacts are a myth.
Our friends at the IRC Americas program are continuing to cover the realities of the booming agrofuel industry: increased hunger, consolidation of the food and farming system and environmental degradation and decreased human rights, food sovereignty and local autonomy.
Here's their latest article, by Laura Carlsen, the director of the Americas Program, based in Mexico City.
SciDec.net has a story this morning about a new report from the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the Nairobi-based International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) says that over-reliance on high yield, factory-farming style breeds is causing the extinction of an average of one local breed of animals per month. Meanwhile, in the last 100 years we've lost 75 percent of crop diversity.
Victor M. Quintana is an adviser to the Frente Democrático Campesino de Chihuahua , researcher at the Universidad Autónoma de Ciudad Juárez and collaborator with the Americas Policy Program, at www.americaspolicy.org. He works with the Rural Coalition and the Via Campesina, Mexico and has spoken and written widely about agrofuels, especially about their impact on the price of staple foods like tortillas in Mexico.
[George Naylor, President of the National Family Farm Coalition, continues his report from the Via Campesina's forum on Agrofuels and Food Sovereignty (August 30-31, 2007) with an update on the presentations he's heard. --Ed.]
What I´ve heard here is that multinational corporations and governments intend to provide our energy-insatiable economies (especially in the US and Europe) with agrofuels, even though demand could never be met and monocropping will foreclose food sovereignty and biodiversity.
George Naylor, President of the National Family Farm Coalition sent us a note from the Via Campesina's International Forum on Agrofuels and Food Sovereignty. The forum, which features farmer and peasant activists from around the world, is taking place today and tomorrow in Mexico City. The race to convert acres from food to fuel crops in Mexico, Brazil and the United States has many, including us here at Grassroots, concerned. We fear that pursuing the industrial scale agrofuel model will worsen hunger, speed up destruction of the natural environment and the fertility of farmland and destroy local communities and ways of life that, once gone, can never be brought back.
We can do it with your help.
There are promising signs that this crucial legislation may pass the Senate, but we need your help to make it happen. Every call counts as the Farm Bill gets closer to a vote.
Call your Senators now and ask them to support food aid that works.
The Nyeleni communications team just sent us a link to a very inspirational video, a trailer for a documentary on the global food sovereignty movement and Nyeleni 2007, the Forum for Food Sovereigty.
The video is subtitled in Spanish, but for those who don't speak Spanish, many of the interviews were conducted in English.
The New York Times reports today that, "CARE, one of the world's biggest charities, is walking away from some $45 million a year in federal financing, saying American food aid is not only plagued with inefficiencies, but also may hurt some of the very poor people it aims to help." (CARE Turns Down Federal Funds for Food Aid)
By Daniel Moss
July 28th, 2007
Presenter: Diamantino Nhampossa is the Executive Coordinator for the National Small Scale Farmers Union in Mozambique and a Member of International Coordinating Committee of the Via Campesina for the Africa Region. (Contact information for Diamantino Nhampossa: firstname.lastname@example.org)
Presenter: Anna Lappé is the author of the best selling book "Grub" and a past Kellogg Foundation Food and Society Policy Fellow.
Moderator and Presenter: Corrina Steward, Resource Rights Specialist, Grassroots International. Corrina was a participant in the Forum on Food Sovereignty along with a number of Grassroots International partners.
From all the roughing up in the press of China for their shoddy and criminal regulatory neglect, you’d think it was downright patriotic in the US to regulate self-interested corporations. The hypocrisy of our tepid and schizoid embrace of corporate regulation drives me nuts.
Reporting on the discovery of anti-freeze in toothpaste and the execution of the head of China’s Food and Drug Administration equivalent, the New York Times and others have written about recent failures of the Chinese regulatory system which has resulted in dozens of consumer deaths and by many accounts, the slow poisoning of millions. The scrutiny and criticism is welcome and overdue.