Agriculture en Resolving the Food Crisis: Assessing Global Policy Reforms Since 2007 <div data-history-node-id="41680" class="node node--type-document node--view-mode-rss no-field-teaser-image title-not-empty ds-1col clearfix"> <div class="field field--name-field-author-text field--type-text-long field--label-above"> <div class="field--label">Author (free form)</div> <div class="field--item"><p>Timothy A. Wise</p> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><h3>Executive summary</h3> <p>The recent spikes in global food-prices in 2007-08 served as a wake-up call to the global community on the inadequacies of our global food system. Commodity prices doubled, the estimated number of hungry people topped one billion and food riots spread through the developing world. A second price spike in 2010-11, which is expected to drive the global food import bill for 2011 to an astonishing $1.3 trillion, only deepened the sense that the policies and principles guiding agricultural development and food security were deeply flawed. </p> <p>There is now widespread agreement that international agricultural prices will remain significantly higher than precrisis levels for at least the next decade, with many warning that demand will outstrip supply by 2050 unless concerted action is taken to address the underlying problems with our food system.</p> <p>The crisis certainly awakened the global community. Since 2007, governments and international agencies have made food security a priority issue, and with a decidedly different tone. They stress the importance of agricultural development and food production in developing countries, the key role of small-scale farmers and women, the challenge of limited resources in a climate-constrained world, the important role of the state in “country-led” agricultural development programs, the critical role of public investment. For many, these priorities represent a sea change from policies that sought to free markets from government policies seen as hampering efficient resource allocation. Now that those policies and markets have failed to deliver food security, the debates over how countries and international institutions should manage our food system are more open than they have been in decades.</p> <p>The purpose of this report is to look beyond the proclamations and communiqués to assess what has really changed since the crisis erupted. While not exhaustive, the report looks at: Overseas Development Assistance, both in terms of how much and what is funded; Multilateral Development Banks’ policies and programs; selected U.N. agencies and initiatives, notably the Committee on Food Security (CFS); the G-20 group of economically powerful governments; and the U.N. Special Rapporteur on the right to food, who has injected a resonant “right to food” approach to the issue.</p> <p> </p> <ul><li>low levels of investment in developing-country agriculture in general and small-scale agriculture in particular; </li> <li>reduced support for publicly funded research and development and increased reliance on private research;</li> <li>a reliance on international trade to meet domestic food needs in poor countries that can ill-afford the import dependence and declining local production; </li> <li> <div>a bias toward cash crops for export over food production for domestic markets; </div> </li> <li> <div>increasing land use for non-food agricultural crops such as biofuels for industrial uses;</div> </li> <li> <div>support for high-input agricultural methods over more environmentally sustainable low-input systems; </div> </li> <li> <div>inadequate attention to the linkages between climate change and food security; and </div> </li> <li> <div>deregulation of commodity markets and increasing financial speculation in agricultural commodities,  including staple food crops as well as land.</div> </li> </ul><h4>Findings</h4> <div>Our review suggests that on the positive side, the food crisis was an important catalyst for change. As high prices persisted and public protest mounted, many governments were confronted with “moments of truth,” the cumulative result of which was to question some of the assumptions that had driven food and agriculture policy over the past few decades. This prompted renwed attention to agricultural development, reversing the long-standing neglect of agriculture as a vital economic sector. It also brought some important new funding, though at levels still far short of what is needed. </div> <div> </div> <div>The stated priorities for much of that funding suggest distinct improvement over the policies of the past few decades. The needs and political voices of small-scale farmers and women; environmental issues, including climate change; and, the weaknesses of international markets now receive more attention. The additional funding for these important areas is also driven by greater openness to country-led programs with strong state involvement, a marked change from past priorities. </div> <div> </div> <div>Our review suggests areas of great concern, though. We see neither the necessary urgency nor the willingness to change policies that contributed to the recent crisis. New international funding is welcome, but only $6.1 billion of the G-8’s pledged $22 billion, three-year commitment represents new money, and those pledges have been slow to materialize and are now threatened with cutbacks as developed countries adopt austerity measures. The overwhelming priority is to increase production. There are reasons to focus on this, specifically within low-income net-food importing countries. The setting of production targets at the global level, however, encourages an expansion in industrial agriculture and the consolidation of land holdings, including land grabs, and ignores environmental constraints and equity issues. </div> <div> </div> <div>Beyond funding, we find that the policies that contributed to the recent food-price crisis have gone largely unchanged, leaving global food security as fragile as ever. The world needs policies that discourage biofuels expansion, regulate financial speculation, limit irresponsible land investments, encourage the use of buffer stocks, move away from fossil fuel dependence and toward agro-ecological practices, and reform global agricultural trade rules to support rather than undermine food security objectives. </div> <div> </div> <div>Unfortunately, we find that the international institutions reviewed have shown too little resolve to address these issues. Although at the G-20 the world’s most economically powerful nations have asserted leadership on food security, their actions have been tepid if not counterproductive. This has had a chilling effect on reform efforts elsewhere in the international system, most notably at the United Nations. This raises important governance issues. The U.N.’s CFS is formally recognized by most institutions as the appropriate body to </div> <div>coordinate the global response to the food crisis, because of both its mandate and its inclusive, multi- takeholder structure. Yet in practice the G-20 has systematically constrained the reform agenda. Similarly, the WTO’s recent efforts to give the Doha Agenda more relevance by including food security issues in the form of restrictions on exporting countries’ use of export tariffs have failed, because many of the exporters (most of the G-20 members) refuse to surrender that policy space. Not surprisingly, importing countries’ wish for the same policy space with regard to their imports are now more determined than ever to insist on their rights.</div> <div> </div> <div>The recent food-price crisis exposed the fragility of the global food system. A paradigm shift is underway, caused by the deepening integration of agricultural, energy and financial markets in a resource-constrained world made more vulnerable by climate change. Powerful multinational firms dominate these markets. Many benefit from current policies and practices and their interests are a dominant influence in national and global policies—slowing, diverting, or halting needed action. This leaves international institutions promoting market-friendly reforms but resistant to imposing the concomitant regulations required to ensure well-functioning food and agricultural markets.</div> <div> </div> <div> <div>Three areas in particular demand decisive action:</div> <ul><li>Biofuels expansion – There is a clear international consensus that current policies to encourage biofuel expansion, particularly in the United States and Europe, are a major contributor to rising demand, tight supplies and rising prices. Yet international institutions, from the G-20 to the U.N. High-Level Task Force to the CFS, have diluted their demands for actions to address this problem.</li> <li>Price volatility – High spikes in prices remain a major problem for poor people worldwide, and for foodimporting developing countries in particular. The policy goal, for effective market functioning and for food security, should be relatively stable prices that are remunerative to farmers and affordable to consumers. We find few concrete actions toward this goal. There is strong evidence that financial speculation contributed to recent food-price volatility, though there remains considerable debate on the subject. As an FAO report on the topic noted, there is no demonstrated benefit to the public of allowing such speculation, and the potential costs are huge. Precautionary regulations are warranted but few have been taken. Similarly, the lack of publicly held food reserves contributes to the shortages that make speculation possible while leaving vulnerable countries at risk. Reserves should be explored more actively than simply as emergency regional humanitarian policy instruments. </li> <li>Land grabs – The scale and pace of land grabs is truly alarming, driven by financial speculation and land-banking by sovereign wealth funds in resource-constrained nations. The consensus is that such investments are not good for either food security or development. As laudable as recent efforts are to promote “responsible agricultural investment,” these initiatives risk being “too little too late” for a fast-moving phenomenon. Meanwhile, international institutions, such as the World Bank, must do more to protect smallscale producers’ access to land. </li> </ul><div> </div> <div>Fortunately, many developing countries are not waiting for international action or permission to more aggressively address the problems that can be dealt with at a national or regional level. Many of the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Program (CAADP) projects in Africa, for example, emphasize the kinds of changes that are needed. CAADP has four pillars: land and water management, market access, food supply and hunger, and agricultural research. Bangladesh and other countries used food reserves to reduce the impact of the food-price spikes in far more ambitious efforts than the G-20 is proposing to support in West Africa. </div> <div> </div> <div>Developing-country governments will be central to bringing about such changes. They need the policy space to pursue their own solutions and they need the support of the international community to demand deeper reform in developed-country policies. The evidence discussed in this report suggests the paradigm shift has started but is incomplete. Many developing-country governments have chosen to step away from the prevailing orthodoxy of the last several decades and are again exploring a larger role for the public sector in governing agriculture and food. Donors, too, have shown some willingness to re-order priorities and to give greater space to agriculture, and to changing priorities within agricultural spending to acknowledge the need for more inclusive and sustainable outcomes. But they still resist more fundamental reform and continue to promote private investment and liberalized markets, relying on humanitarian aid and social safety nets to try to help those who are displaced by the policies.</div> <div> </div> <div>Perhaps not surprisingly, developed-country governments have yet to make the needed changes to their domestic policies. Comfortable with re-ordering development priorities, governments of rich countries have proved unwilling to look at their domestic agricultural economies to see what changes are needed there. If the most powerful countries are not willing to make the changes at home that would help international markets perform better, they should at a minimum stop undermining international efforts, at the U.N. and within </div> <div>and among developing countries, to address the fundamental causes of the food crisis.</div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-upload field--type-file field--label-above"> <div class="field--label">Upload</div> <div class="field__items"> <div class="field--item"><span class="file file--mime-application-pdf file--application-pdf icon-before"><span class="file-icon"><span class="icon glyphicon glyphicon-file text-primary" aria-hidden="true"></span></span><span class="file-link"><a href="" type="application/pdf; length=885806" title="Open file in new window" target="_blank" data-toggle="tooltip" data-placement="bottom">2012_01_17_ResolvingFoodCrisis_SM_TW.pdf</a></span><span class="file-size">865.04 KB</span></span></div> </div> </div> </div> Wed, 18 Jan 2012 15:48:00 +0000 Andrew Ranallo 41680 at Midwest Family Farm Groups Travel to Washington to Talk NAFTA, Farm Crisis <div data-history-node-id="44081" class="node node--type-document node--view-mode-rss field-primary-category-agriculture has-field-primary-category no-field-teaser-image title-not-empty ds-1col clearfix"> <h3 > Disparaging comments by Ag Secretary Perdue about the future of independent family farms should spur congressional action</h3> <div class="field field--name-field-author-text field--type-text-long field--label-above"> <div class="field--label">Author (free form)</div> <div class="field--item"><p><span><span><span><span>The Campaign for Family Farms and the Environment</span></span></span></span></p></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p><strong><span>Press Release</span></strong></p> <p><span>October 23, 2019</span></p> <p><span>Contact: Ben Lilliston, 6128703416, </span><a href=""><span></span></a></p> <p><strong>Midwest Family Farm Groups Travel to Washington to talk NAFTA, Farm Crisis</strong></p> <p><em>Disparaging comments by Ag Secretary Perdue about the future of independent family farms should spur Congressional action</em></p> <p><span>Family farm groups from Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri and South Dakota traveled to Washington, D.C. last week to meet with members of Congress on the causes of the current Farm Crisis, and the failure of the proposed new North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) to address those challenges. </span></p> <p><span>The meetings came two weeks after Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue's controversial comments about the viability of small family farms and the need for farm operations to get big in order to survive. </span></p> <p><span>At the World Dairy Expo in Madison, Wisconsin, Perdue told a group of small and mid-sized, mostly dairy farmers: “In America, the big get bigger and the small go out. I don’t think in America we, for any small business, have a guaranteed income or guaranteed profitability.” This, while the Trump Administration is subsidizing the largest meatpacker in the world, Brazilian owned JBS, with millions of dollars from U.S. taxpayers.</span></p> <p><span>The big getting bigger and pushing out the small has been strategically sold by corporate agriculture interests to farmers and the general public as the inevitable destiny of U.S. agriculture since the Nixon era. The groups questioned whether Perdue can effectively serve all farmers, including small and mid-sized farmers and ranchers, as Agriculture Secretary.</span></p> <p><span>The groups make up the <em>Campaign for Family Farms and the Environment</em>, which called on Congress to reject the Trump Administration's proposed U.S.-Mexico-Canada Free Trade Agreement (USMCA, or NAFTA 2.0). For agriculture, the USMCA is a status quo deal that does nothing to address excess corporate control of the agriculture economy where most farmers are losing money and have to rely on off-farm jobs to survive. Instead, the USMCA locks in a system that has greatly benefited multinational agribusiness firms. The Trump Administration chose to ignore a major ask from farm groups – the inclusion of mandatory <em>Country of Origin Labeling</em> (COOL) for meat products that would benefit both U.S. ranchers and consumers.</span></p> <p><span>“NAFTA has allowed large corporations like JBS and Smithfield to pad their bottom line at the expense and loss of hundreds of thousands of family farmers,” said Frank Jones, a farmer from SE Iowa and member of Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement, “Elected officials need to create fair trade policies if they want to help farmers in Iowa and across the Midwest. Not pass another `free trade’ scheme like USMCA.”</span></p> <p><span>“I urge our elected representatives to pass policies that restore and protect an independent family farm system of agriculture, including policies that address corporate control, overproduction and low prices,” said Darvin Bentlage, 4th generation cattle and grain producer from Barton County, MO. “Concentration and corporate ‘free trade’ have allowed multinational corporations in the meatpacking industry to extract wealth from our rural communities and put independent family farmers out of business. Our elected reps need to do better and address what is going on out here and not follow lock-step the policies written by corporations and lobbyists at the expense of our farms, families and communities.”</span></p> <p><span>Kathy Tyler, a Dakota Rural Action member affected by factory farm expansion said, “Somewhere, sometime, somehow, Congress and our local legislators and officials need to start caring about and doing something about the exodus of farm families. They are the backbone of our state and are what keep our small communities alive. If we don’t support them, we will all vanish.” </span></p> <p><span>Independent family farmer leaders from the four Midwestern states outlined their concerns with the new NAFTA in an<span> </span></span><a href=""><span>oped that ran in the Des Moines Register</span></a><span> i</span><span>n August. </span></p> <p><em><span>The Campaign for Family Farms and the Environment <span>is composed of the </span></span></em><a href=""><em><span>Missouri Rural Crisis Center</span></em></a><em><span>, </span></em><a href=""><em><span>Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement</span></em></a><em><span>, </span></em><a href=""><em><span>Dakota Rural Action</span></em></a><em><span>, </span></em><a href=""><em><span>Land Stewardship Project</span></em></a><em><span> (MN), </span></em><a href=""><em><span>Food &amp; Water Watch</span></em></a><em><span> and the </span></em><a href=""><em><span>Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy</span></em></a><span>.</span></p> <p><span>##</span></p> <p><span> </span></p></div> <div class="field field--name-field-primary-category field--type-entity-reference field--label-above"> <div class="field--label">Primary category</div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/agriculture2" hreflang="en">Agriculture</a></div> </div> </div> Wed, 23 Oct 2019 19:30:25 +0000 Cecelia Heffron 44081 at Family Farmers Call for End to US Obstruction on Agroecology at United Nations <div data-history-node-id="44076" class="node node--type-document node--view-mode-rss field-primary-category-agriculture has-field-primary-category no-field-teaser-image title-not-empty ds-1col clearfix"> <h3 > Groups demand support for pro-science, pro-environment farming solutions</h3> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p>Contact: Siena Chrisman, (917) 821-9631,</p> <p>FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE</p> <p>October 16, 2019</p> <p>A letter denouncing the United States delegation to the United Nations Committee on World Food Security (CFS) for repeated obstruction on agroecology was delivered in advance of the World Food Day in Rome. Iowa farmer Patti Naylor, member of the National Family Farm Coalition, presented the letter to US Ambassador Kip Tom, the US government's representative during the CFS annual meeting. IATP's Shiney Varghese along with several other U.S. Food Sovereignty Alliance (USFSA) members were a part of the delegation that delivered the letter. The letter was signed by nearly 50 family farmer, social justice and rural advocacy organizations.</p> <p>The letter asserts that in this moment of worldwide climate and economic crises, scientifically-sound, ecologically-based farming practices must be prioritized, especially as agribusiness corporations have consolidated access to resources, devastating rural and agricultural communities.</p> <p>The letter states, in part:</p> <blockquote>Backed by researchers and policy makers, agroecology offers a critical social, environmental, and political process for rural communities and farmers to be leaders in transitioning agriculture to work with nature, support fair and decent rural livelihoods, and ensure the right to healthy food and nutrition for all. …</blockquote> <blockquote>However, we know that <span>the US government often blocks pro-family farmer and pro-rural community policy discussion at the UN. Rather than representing America’s family farmer and rural worker interests in a public forum, the US government has too often attempted to keep the status quo in American agriculture that currently only benefits corporate interests.</span> We will not accept these actions from our government moving forward.</blockquote> <p>The letter demands that the signatories and other stakeholders be consulted on US positions at the CFS, including at upcoming meetings with North American stakeholders next month.</p> <p>Read the full text of <a href="">the letter</a>.</p> <p>###</p></div> <div class="field field--name-field-primary-category field--type-entity-reference field--label-above"> <div class="field--label">Primary category</div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/agriculture2" hreflang="en">Agriculture</a></div> </div> </div> Wed, 16 Oct 2019 14:46:49 +0000 Colleen Borgendale 44076 at Statement in Support of the UN Committee on World Food Security (CFS), Agroecology and Small- Scale Food Producers & Against US Obstructionism <div data-history-node-id="44077" class="node node--type-document node--view-mode-rss field-primary-category-agriculture has-field-primary-category no-field-teaser-image title-not-empty ds-1col clearfix"> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p>Kip Tom<br /> United States Permanent Representative to the United Nations Agencies for Food and Agriculture in Rome</p> <p>Dear Honorable Ambassador Tom,</p> <p>The United Nations (UN) Committee on World Food Security (CFS) has been leading a process to study and implement agroecology around the world to address food security, rural livelihoods, and climate change. As the CFS meets for its 46th annual meeting this week (October 14-18) in Rome, we, the undersigned organizations and our members - representing farmers, food and farm workers, rural communities, and urban communities - strongly support this process and demand that the US government support it as well.</p> <p>We are deeply concerned by and condemn the United States’ repeated obstruction within the CFS and demand that the United States’ delegates respect the multilateral process on agroecology, which supports the livelihoods of communities over the economic interests of corporations.</p> <p>Family farmers, food and farm workers, and rural communities in the United States are suffering from an emerging 21st century farm crisis, the impacts of the climate emergency, and a lack of good, well-paying jobs that can support decent livelihoods in the countryside.</p> <p>As you have publicly acknowledged at the UN in New York earlier this year, agribusiness consolidation, monopolistic control of large sectors of agricultural economies by a handful of players, and federal policies that incentivize a “get big or get out” model of farming pitting farmers against workers - and even against each other - has decimated rural economies and rural communities. Small family farmers are going out of business, with farmers of color particularly vulnerable, while corporate farms and consolidated supply chains are on the rise. With the average age of a farmer approaching 60, the future of family farming looks bleak. Young people and the millions of landless workers laboring on farms have no path to land ownership or legal protections due to high land values and other farm operating costs. Both urban and rural communities struggle to provide and access healthy food, facing a food system more oriented toward ensuring corporate profits than ensuring the human right to food.</p> <p>The industrial model of agribusiness, supported by US administrations for many decades, has dumped billions of tons of toxic chemicals on the land, killing soil organisms and polluting the air and water. Factory farms have not only driven smaller family farms out of business but have also poisoned the public’s perception of farmers, due to documented animal abuse and drinking water contaminated by runoff, while being a major contributor of atmospheric greenhouse gas emissions and thus a contributor to the global climate crisis.</p> <p>Family farmers, Native American tribes, and rural communities in the United States have the solutions to these problems because their livelihoods depend on healthy soil, water, and seeds. Through agroecology - defined and led by farmers globally for generations as a science, practice and way of life - food producers and stewards of the land use local knowledge to withstand the impacts of climate change on their food supply, maintaining the supply of fresh, locally produced and adapted foods and ensuring the right to food of surrounding communities.</p> <p>Agroecology has long been championed by millions of small-scale producers, peasants, and family farmers who grow the vast majority of the world’s food. Backed by researchers and policy makers, agroecology offers a critical social, environmental, and political process for rural communities and farmers to be leaders in transitioning agriculture to work with nature, support fair and decent rural livelihoods, and ensure the right to healthy food and nutrition for all.</p> <p>Since 2014, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations has held ongoing consultations with farmers across the world to ensure that the emergence of agroecology as a policy framework is accountable to rural communities, and the resounding message from this process has been clear: rural communities - as well as urban communities - need agroecology in this time of crisis. This is why the CFS began the current process to discuss and implement agroecology, putting agroecology at the center of debates at the United Nations in Rome about how to end hunger in the face of climate crisis.</p> <p>The CFS is the most important, inclusive, and democratic multilateral space for developing global policies to end hunger and poverty and to protect and ensure the human rights of rural and urban communities around the world. After the global food price crisis of 2007-2008, the UN made substantial reforms to improve the CFS, making it the first space in the UN system to allow civil society organizations - non-profits and social movements - to debate equally with governments, giving rural peoples a critical voice in the global policy-making process.</p> <p>Most recently, the CFS released a report conducted by independent experts stating that agroecology would help farmers and ensure food security in the face of climate change, as it helps not only with adaptation but simultaneously with mitigation as well. The report also made clear that more must be done to support agroecology. The CFS will be discussing the report at its 46th annual meeting this week, and it is planning to spend the following year discussing policies that governments can take to support and implement agroecology.</p> <p>We want to express our full support for the CFS and the convergence process towards endorsing and implementing agroecology. However, we know that the US government often blocks pro-family farmer and pro-rural community policy discussion at the UN. Rather than representing America's family farmer and rural worker interests in a public forum, the US government has too often attempted to keep the status quo in American agriculture that currently only benefits corporate interests. We will not accept these actions from our government moving forward.</p> <p>Additionally, we, as civil society organizations in the US, demand to be consulted on positions taken by the US government at the CFS. Over the past several years, the US government has repeatedly limited the inclusion of our organizations in CFS regional consultations. This failure to engage farmers, food chain workers, and other constituencies fails to respect the spirit of the CFS and its commitment to engage those most affected in decision-making processes.</p> <p>We understand that there will be CFS regional consultations on Food Security and Nutrition with North American stakeholders in November of this year, and we look forward to participating in that space to raise the voices of family farmers and fishermen, workers, and rural communities.<br /> Ultimately, we believe that a transition to agroecology is necessary to ensure an environmentally sustainable and prosperous future. We urge the US government to support this process within the CFS.</p> <p>Sincerely,<br /> A Growing Culture<br /> ActionAid USA<br /> Agricultural Justice Project<br /> Agroecology Research Action Collective Alianza Naciónal de Campesinas<br /> Boricua Organization of Ecologic Agriculture (Puerto Rico)<br /> Climate Justice Alliance<br /> Community Alliance for Global Justice<br /> Community Farm Alliance<br /> Cooperative Development Institute, Inc<br /> Cumberland Countians for EcoJustice<br /> Dakota Rural Action<br /> Family Farm Defenders<br /> Family. Agriculture. Resource. Management. Services. (F.A.R.M.S.)<br /> Farm Forward<br /> Farm and Ranch Freedom Alliance<br /> Farm Women United<br /> Farmworker Association of Florida<br /> Food Systems New England<br /> Food and Water Watch<br /> Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives<br /> Green Roots<br /> Health Care Without Harm<br /> Indigenous Environmental Network<br /> Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy<br /> Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement<br /> Iskashitaa Refugee Network Logan Square Farmers Market Michigan Food and Farming Systems<br /> National Family Farm Coalition<br /> Network for Environmental &amp; Economic Responsibility of United Church of Christ<br /> Northeast Organic Farming Association - Massachusetts<br /> Northeast Organic Farming Association - New York<br /> Northeast Organic Farming Association - Vermont<br /> Northern Plains Resource Council<br /> Northwest Atlantic Marine Alliance<br /> Oakland Institute<br /> Pesticide Action Network North America<br /> Progressive Agriculture Organization<br /> Real Food Generation<br /> Rural Coalition<br /> Rural Vermont<br /> SouthEast Michigan Producers Association<br /> The Laurie M. Tisch Center for Food, Education &amp; Policy, Program in Nutrition, Columbia University<br /> University of New Hampshire Sustainability Institute<br /> Urban Seeds<br /> US Food Sovereignty Alliance<br /> US Friends of the MST<br /> WhyHunger</p> <p><a href="">Download the letter</a>. </p></div> <div class="field field--name-field-primary-category field--type-entity-reference field--label-above"> <div class="field--label">Primary category</div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/agriculture2" hreflang="en">Agriculture</a></div> </div> </div> Tue, 15 Oct 2019 15:45:20 +0000 Colleen Borgendale 44077 at Worldwide Civil Society Organizations Denounce US Government Obstruction of the UN Committee on World Food Security (CFS) Policy Convergence Process for Solutions to Food Security and Nutrition Crisis <div data-history-node-id="44079" class="node node--type-document node--view-mode-rss field-primary-category-agriculture has-field-primary-category no-field-teaser-image title-not-empty ds-1col clearfix"> <div class="field field--name-field-author-text field--type-text-long field--label-above"> <div class="field--label">Author (free form)</div> <div class="field--item"><p><span><span>Agroecology Working Group of the Civil Society Mechanism of the UN Committee on Food Security</span></span></p></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p><span><span><span><strong><span>While </span>the world is experiencing a new rise in hunger and malnutrition for the third consecutive year after decades of decline, the US government is aiming at systematically undermining the role of the CFS as the foremost inclusive intergovernmental and international political platform to address the food security and nutrition crisis. By doing so, the US is obstructing the ability of the international community to identify and implement urgently needed solutions for the intertwined food, ecological, livelihoods and social crises.</strong></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span><strong>With this letter we publicly denounce the attempts of the US to attack Agroecology within the CFS, while welcoming the engagement of other CFS Members States in defending the process. In view of the upcoming CFS Plenary Session (14-18 October 2019) and subsequent policy negotiations, we call on all Governments to constructively engage in exploring the critical importance of agroecology in defining new policy pathways that can simultaneously address multiple development challenges.</strong></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span>As a response to the call by small-scale food producers, international experts, academics, UN Agencies and a number of Governments, the Committee on World Food Security agreed to put agroecology on its agenda, commissioning a report from the CFS High Level Panel of Experts (HLPE) on Food Security and Nutrition — “<a href="">Agroecological and Other Innovative Approaches for Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems that Enhance Food Security and Nutrition</a>”<strong> </strong>—<strong> </strong>in order to pave the way for a political discussion that will culminate in the adoption of CFS policy recommendations.    </span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span>However, the process, expected to culminate with policy recommendations to be endorsed at the CFS 47th Plenary Session in October 2020, is at serious risk due to the continued obstacles generated by the US Government. Not only is US obstructionism undermining well-established and agreed-on procedures and protocols of the CFS, it is also preventing the timely utilization of the HLPE’s findings on agroecology in the development of the Food Systems and Nutrition Guidelines which are currently being negotiated by the CFS.</span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span>In the most recent example of unilateral obstructionism, the US Government stalled the process for over four months by objecting the appointment of the Permanent Representative of Iran (Chair of the FAO Committee on Agriculture) as Rapporteur of the Policy Convergence on purely geopolitical grounds. Other Members States clarified that a Rapporteur of a CFS policy negotiation process is selected in his or her personal capacity and defended the CFS and the agroecology process against the aggressive position of the US. When the US found itself isolated, it finally accepted, on 20 September, the appointment of the Rapporteur and the definition of the negotiation schedule, while continuing to express its disagreement, therefore eliciting serious concerns on the non-constructive attitude that it may feature in the actual negotiations. </span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span>This approach is utterly unacceptable. Firstly, the CFS is not the space where countries play out their political tensions. While the UN Security Council is the assigned place to do that, the CFS is the multilateral, multi-actor and democratic space to deal with food security and nutrition. But it is also not acceptable that an extremely relevant topic such as agroecology can be temporarily blocked by just one country’s unwillingness to discuss it. </span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span>Against these political plays, today not only do 820 million people go hungry, over two billion people do not have regular access to safe, nutritious and sufficient food, including 8 percent of the population in Northern America and Europe (<a href="">SOFI 2019</a>). In addition to conflicts, climate disasters, and economic downturns, increased inequality is exacerbating food insecurity with the most vulnerable suffering the most. </span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span>Agriculture represents the primary source of livelihoods for millions in the world, especially for the most vulnerable. Although small scale farmers produce much of the world’s food, they are the most food insecure due to poverty and insecure access to land, water and seed — resources increasingly captured by corporate actors and wealthy elites. Amidst these challenges, rural communities face the additional threat of severe environmental stresses associated with climate change and biodiversity loss. Industrial agriculture is one of the main emitters of GHG, and it’s largely to blame for these impacts due to large-scale land degradation and deforestation associated with mass production, widespread use of synthetic fertilizers and pesticides that also harm human health and the environment.</span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span>Globally, we are exploiting natural resources well beyond the capacity of our planet to regenerate, while those who mobilize to defend their land, water and rights, are persecuted and even killed. Many more people are dying from lack of food or exposure to chemicals, as more and more land and other resources are taken from communities by industrial agri-corporations to grow animal feed and biofuels to meet the demands of industrial meat and dairy sectors as well as that of affluent societies, especially in developed countries.</span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span>Against this alarming trend, small scale food producers have been practicing agroecology for centuries, building on millennia of local and Indigenous knowledge, while continually adapting and evolving practices to meet the challenges of today. Agroecology allows peasants, indigenous peoples and family farmers to produce healthy, nutritious food while respecting and sustaining the ecosystem; regenerating the natural resource base; protecting biodiversity; mitigating agriculture’s contribution to climate change by progressively phasing out chemical fertilizers and pesticides while also  sequestering carbon in the soil through diversified, ecological farming practices that simultaneously increase farmers’ resilience and adaptiveness; and finally and critically, building a more equal and fair society through promoting social, economic and environmental justice.  </span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span>From being practiced at the local level for decades, agroecology is now getting attention in the international community because of the urgent need to shift the way we produce, trade and consume our food. UN Agencies call for moving away from industrial agriculture towards more sustainable, equitable, nutritious and climate-resilient food systems. FAO itself has recently convened two international and several regional symposia to start collecting and building a solid evidence base on agroecology to assist countries in their transition to it. In October last year, <span><span>FAO’s Committee on Agriculture decided to </span></span>support agroecology as a key approach for sustainable agriculture and food systems (FAO <a href=""><span>2018 COAG/2018/5</span></a>). </span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span>With the availability now of this new and extensive report from the UN High Level Panel of Experts on Agroecology the international community must move decisively to bring the report’s findings forward and expedite a timely policy convergence process. </span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span>The undersigned cannot accept that the obstruction of a single country can again block the overall CFS process. We most strongly condemn this disruptive attitude that undermines a political discussion so urgently needed now, thereby posing a serious risk to multilateralism in the UN and the inclusive global governance structure of the CFS. </span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span>We endorse this letter to publicly denounce such attacks on Agroecology and the CFS, and we call on all Governments to ensure that the policy convergence process on agroecology within the CFS moves forward without further delay or impediment. </span></span></span></p> <p>Download a PDF of <a href="">this letter</a>.</p> <p>Download a PDF of a Spanish translation of <a href="">this letter</a>. Descargue un PDF de una traducción al español de <a href="">esta carta</a>.</p> <p>Download a PDF of a French translation of <a href="">this letter</a>. Téléchargez un PDF de la traduction français de<a href=""> cette lettre</a>. </p></div> <div class="field field--name-field-primary-category field--type-entity-reference field--label-above"> <div class="field--label">Primary category</div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/agriculture2" hreflang="en">Agriculture</a></div> </div> </div> Mon, 14 Oct 2019 18:02:11 +0000 Cecelia Heffron 44079 at Digging into the Farm Debate: Reviving New Deal Supply Management for the 21st Century <span>Digging into the Farm Debate: Reviving New Deal Supply Management for the 21st Century</span> <span><span lang="" about="/about/staff/account/colleen-borgendale" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Colleen Borgendale</span></span> <span>Thu, 10/10/2019 - 14:05</span> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p>This blog was originally <a href="" target="_blank">posted</a> by <a href="" target="_blank">Roosevelt Forward</a> on October 9, 2019.</p></div> Thu, 10 Oct 2019 19:05:24 +0000 Colleen Borgendale 44075 at Green New Deal for Europe: Building to a Just Transition <span>Green New Deal for Europe: Building to a Just Transition</span> <span><span lang="" about="/about/staff/account/colleen-borgendale" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Colleen Borgendale</span></span> <span>Tue, 10/08/2019 - 09:42</span> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p>This article was <a href="" target="_blank">originally posted</a> on the <a href="">ARC 2020</a> blog on October 2, 2019</p></div> Tue, 08 Oct 2019 14:42:48 +0000 Colleen Borgendale 44074 at Late USDA data, no data, no problem? <span>Late USDA data, no data, no problem?</span> <span><span lang="" about="/about/staff/account/colleen-borgendale" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Colleen Borgendale</span></span> <span>Mon, 10/07/2019 - 11:44</span> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p>President Trump has signed a Continuing Resolution to keep the government operating through November 21. That budgetary lifeline will enable mostly <a href="">delayed and truncated publication</a> of 38 U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) reports, some of them required by law.</div> Mon, 07 Oct 2019 16:44:48 +0000 Colleen Borgendale 44073 at Trump’s Japan Deal Another Win for Global Meat Companies <span>Trump’s Japan Deal Another Win for Global Meat Companies</span> <span><span lang="" about="/about/staff/account/colleen-borgendale" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Colleen Borgendale</span></span> <span>Tue, 10/01/2019 - 09:42</span> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p>If the world can be seen as a <a href="">game of Risk</a>, the global meat industry—with the help of the Trump administration—just got Japan. While the President touted last week’s deal as aiding struggling U.S. farmers hurt by trade fights, the real winners are global players like the Chinese-owned Smithfield, Brazil-based JBS and Cargill, who <a href="">have lobbied together</a> for years to further pry open Japan’s market for their beef and pork.</p></div> Tue, 01 Oct 2019 14:42:25 +0000 Colleen Borgendale 44072 at USDA wants (again) to cut food assistance <span>USDA wants (again) to cut food assistance</span> <span><span lang="" about="/about/staff/account/colleen-borgendale" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Colleen Borgendale</span></span> <span>Thu, 09/26/2019 - 13:40</span> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p>On September 23, IATP submitted a <a href="">comment</a> to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) about its latest <a href="">proposed rule</a> to change eligibility criteria for the Supplementary Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP). These funds are spent in supermarkets and farmers markets to purchase approved classes of food and beverages.</p></div> Thu, 26 Sep 2019 18:40:35 +0000 Colleen Borgendale 44062 at