The escalating crisis of volatile food prices and food insecurity is the result of an industrial development model based on large-scale, export-orientated agriculture tied to international competition, self interest and stock market speculation. With over a billion people going hungry each day despite a huge surplus of food production, a reorientation towards more localised, smaller scale and sustainable agriculture is urgently required.
While the EU's Common Agricultural Policy persists with its central focus of fostering competitiveness and exports of European agribusiness, it will continue to undermine small-scale farming and create greater food insecurity in the global South, says a report by Transnational Institute et al.
The challenge of feeding 9 billion people by 2050 has as much to do with how our global agricultural markets are constructed as it does with increasing production. Policymakers must recognise food not just as a tradable commodity but as a basic necessity for survival, says Jim Harkness.
Deregulated derivatives markets have attracted huge sums of speculative money, and there is growing evidence that they deliver distorted and unpredictable food prices. The US, EU and G20 must take action to increase transparency and bring financial speculation under control, says a report by Oxfam.
Contrary to the claim of feeding the world, genetically engineered crops have failed to significantly increase yields. Most worrisome is the greatly increased use of synthetic chemicals, despite the promise that GMOs would reduce insecticide use, says the Global Citizens Report on the State of GMOs.
In the drive for global food security, policymakers are sidelining sustainable farming techniques in favour of dangerous quick-fix solutions. Governments and donors need to re-balance their current focus on intensive farming towards much greater support for agro-ecological approaches, says a report by Christian Aid.
The root cause of the global food crisis is to be found in a system designed to sustain corporate profits rather than meeting people’s needs. Governments should work to promote ‘food sovereignty’ through support for small-scale producers and local markets, says a report by War on Want.
must recognize that the supply shortfalls leading to massive hunger and
malnutrition are not the result of natural forces but instead are primarily the
result of human choices that can and must be changed, writes the NGO Working Group on Food & Hunger at the United Nations.