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.
Small-scale, ecological food systems can potentially alleviate the social and the environmental problems that result from unsustainable agricultural practices. To create this viable food future, farmers must have greater access to land, seeds, finance and local markets, says a report by The Development Fund.
Biotechnology has not, in any sustained fashion, increased food production or decreased world hunger. Instead, it has facilitated a transfer of knowledge, power, and control from smallholder farmers to multinational corporations, says Philip Bereano in an interview with Matt Styslinger.
The structural barriers to fighting hunger are actually woven into faulty neoliberal economic policies. Until self-sufficiency takes precedence over agricultural exports, vulnerability to food crises in developing countries will continue, says Devinder Sharma in an interview with Eduardo Almeida.
As the UN Food and Agriculture
Organization (FAO) holds a special meeting on increasing volatility in
agriculture prices in Rome, governments should consider the
establishment of food reserves to help stabilize the marketplace, according to
the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP).
The initial causes of the global food price crisis of 2007/8 related to market fundamentals, but a significant portion of the
increases in price and volatility of essential food commodities can
only be explained by the emergence of a speculative bubble, argues the UN Special Rapporteur on food Olivier De Schutter.
New figures from the UN reveal that the number of hungry people in the world has dropped under the one billion mark. But with 925 million people still hungry, costing poor countries $450 billion a year, does this really reflect progress or good policy?
In the past decade or so, three giant corporations have taken control of close to half of the world’s commercial crop-seed market. Sustainable agriculture depends on the billion small farmers who still save their own seeds – and produce most of the world’s food, writes David Ransom.