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.
On the back of recent international initiatives to improve global food
security, a civil society report focuses attention on ways to increase food security in
Africa by improving the livelihoods of Africa’s largely neglected
smallholder farmers. By the African Smallholder Farmers’
Ten thousand Haitians recently marched in protest against biotech giant Monsanto’s donation of patented hybrid seeds. Seen as a stealth move to introduce input-intensive agricultural practices, local farmers are fighting to defend their food sovereignty, say La Via Campesina.
The suggestion that 'responsible' large-scale land investments can produce ‘win-win’ outcomes is based on the misguided belief that combating hunger requires boosting food production. To develop truly sustainable agriculture, small-scale farmers must be protected, writes Olivier De Schutter.
International committees on food security in Rome, New York and Washington D.C. continue to disagree on how to rebuild agricultural systems in the Global South. The challenge is to allow farmers organisations and civil society to play a lead role in the war against hunger, argues Eric Holt-Gimenez.
When African smallholder farmers are asked what they want, the answers they give are miles away from the ‘solutions’ proposed by multilateral aid agencies. A global grassroots farmers’ collaboration is needed to promote alternatives to market-based reforms, writes Richard Jonasse.
Researchers have found that industrial agriculture is not sufficiently resilient to secure the world’s food supply for a growing population. Governments must support a smaller-scale, locally sourced approach based on the principles of agroecology, says a report by the UK Food Group.
In the developed world, where many of the environmental and social costs of food production are absent at the checkout, we are eating beyond our means. To create resilience and sustainability, ‘consumer choice’ can no longer drive the system, argues Jeremy Harding.