Sunday, October 17, 2021

A Change in Food Policy?

 A letter addressed to Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, Secretary of State Antony Blinken, and Chargé d'Affaires ad interim to the United Nations agencies in Rome Jennifer Harhigh signed by nearly 70 groups including ActionAid USA, the National Family Farm Coalition, and Oxfam America is urging the Biden administration's approach to international food and agricultural policy to break "with the U.S. government's historical alignment with corporate agribusiness and neoliberal, unregulated trade orthodoxy."

"For too long," they wrote, "our constituencies' needs and interests have been unrepresented, unsupported, and undermined by the U.S. government in these policy-making spaces, as the U.S. government has promoted a policy agenda that reflects the narrow interests of the corporate agribusiness sector."

The UN Declaration on Rights Peasants and Other People Working in Rural Areas emphasizes in Article 15.4, when it states, “ Peasants and other people working in rural areas have the right to determine their own food and agriculture systems, recognized by many States and regions as the right to food sovereignty. This includes the right to participate in decision-making processes on food and agriculture policy and the right to healthy and adequate food produced through ecologically sound and sustainable methods that respect their cultures.”

Peasant Agroecology, which is fundamental to ensuring food sovereignty in our territories, is now recognized at the FAO as central to the fight against global warming.

The promoters of the capitalist world order realize that food sovereignty is an idea that impinges on their financial interests. They prefer a world of monoculture and homogenous tastes, where food can be mass-produced using cheap labour in faraway factories, disregarding its ecological, human and social impacts. They prefer economies of scale to robust local economies. They choose a global-free market (based on speculation and cut-throat competition) over solidarity economies that require more robust territorial markets (local peasant markets) and active participation of local food producers. They prefer to have land banks where industrial-scale contract farming would replace small-holder producers. They inject our soil with agro-toxics for better short-term yields, ignoring the irreversible damage to soil health. Their trawlers will again crawl the oceans and rivers, netting fishes for a global market while the coastal communities starve. They will continue to try to hijack indigenous peasant seeds through patents and seed treaties. The trade agreements they craft will again aim to bring down tariffs that protect our local economies.

None of this is new to us. Corporations want to control our lives, whether they’re agribusiness, technology, or big pharma—getting bigger, getting more control, and having too much influence over legislation. They really don’t care about how they make their profits, only how much they make. Those condemned to the peripheries of our societies by a cruel and all-devouring capitalist system have no choice but to fight back. 

Opinion | Food Sovereignty: A Manifesto for the Future of Our Planet | La Via Campesina (

Coalition Urges Biden to Make 'Transformative Change' in Approach to Global Food and Agriculture (

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