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By Peter Rosset
May 20th, 2008
Around the world it seems more and more that the time has come for La Via Campesina. The global alliance of peasant and family farm organizations has spent the past decade perfecting an alternative proposal for how to structure a country's food system, called Food Sovereignty. It was clear at the World Forum for Food Sovereignty, held last year in Mali, that this proposal has been gaining ground with other social movements, including those of indigenous peoples, women, consumers, environmentalists, some trade unions, and others. Though when it comes to governments and international agencies, it has until recently been met with mostly deaf ears. But now things have changed. The global crisis of rising food prices, which has already
By La Via Campesina
Prices on the world market for cereals are rising. Wheat prices increased by 130% in the period between March 2007-March 2008. Rice prices increased by almost 80% in the period up to 2008. Maize prices increased by 35% between March 2007 and March 2008 (1). In countries that depend heavily on food imports some prices have gone up dramatically. Poor families see their food bills go up and can no longer afford to buy the minimum needed.
Food prices have been increasing sharply. According to the World Bank, global food prices have climbed by 83% over the last three years. The real price of rice rose to a 19-year high in March 2008, an increase of 50% in two weeks alone while the real price of wheat hit a 28-year high, triggering an international crisis.
"Burning food today so as to serve the mobility of the rich countries is a crime against humanity" said Jean Ziegler, United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food criticizing the growing push for using food crops as fuel crops and diverting land use from food cultivation to fuel cultivation. In the face of the growing global crisis that he said could lead to "widespread hunger, malnutrition and social unrest on an unprecedented scale" United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon convened a global task force to respond, and called for closing the $755 million funding gap in the UN's World Food Programme.
April 18th, 2008
Partner press release from Via Campesina
(Jakarta, 17 April 2008) Small farmer's organisations and their allies are today celebrating the International Day of Peasant's Struggle commemorating the massacre of 19 landless workers, women and men struggling for land in Brazil 12 years ago. Today dozens of groups, communities and organisations in more than 25 countries around the world are organising more than 50 actions such as farmer's markets, conferences, direct actions, cultural activities and demonstrations to defend their right to food and their right to feed their communities.
Agribusiness Transnational Corporations (TNCs) Create World Food Crisis; Peasants Seize Back Their Rights
The world food crisis is starting to appear in its real picture this year. During the last decades hunger was "hiding" in rural or slump areas. Now the number is increasing and many more people cannot stand it anymore. Food riots appear and queues of hungry people are back in many part of the world.
Food activists, scientists, and representatives from governments and corporations around the world will begin meeting in Johannesburg on Monday, April 7th, to finalize a report on how the world can tackle the deeply interrelated issues of hunger, poverty, power, and global agriculture.
But global agribusinesses Monsanto, Syngenta, and BASF have refused to participate. They complained recently that genetic modification of agriculture was under-valued by the 4,000 scientists and experts working on the report, and that the report should not have stated that biotechnology in agriculture poses risks.
ETC Group, a Grassroots International ally based in Canada, has released a report highlighting the failure of governments to manage their multilateral food and agriculture agencies.
ETC is calling on the United Nations to gather the leaders of such agencies to hammer out a plan for the future. It says the meeting is necessary because of numerous threats facing the world's agricultural systems:
By Maria Aguiar
March 11th, 2008
This recent article by our friend and colleague George Naylor -- an Iowa corn farmer and the outgoing president of the National Family Farm Coalition (NFFC) -- speaks to all the reasons why we need to fight for Food Sovereignty and against huge agribusinesses here in the United States today!
Take a look and let us know what you think.
Consumers around the world have seen the prices of staple food dramatically increasing over the past months, creating extreme hardship especially for the poorest communities. Over a year, wheat has doubled in price, maize is nearly 50% higher than a year ago. However, there is no crisis of production. Statistics show that cereals' production has never been as high as in 2007 (1).