Food crisis: we cannot gamble with food!

PRESS RELEASE – European Farmers Coordination – Coordinadora de Organizaciones de Agricultores y Ganaderos                               

If hunger riots in 40 countries have drawn the attention of the public opinion, the food crisis is not a new phenomenon. After decades of deregulation of the European and international market, under the very ideological auspices of the WTO and the EU, the result is severe and dramatic. The current crisis shows that we cannot play with food, that market regulation at the international level as well as at the European level is indispensable for population’s food security. In that context, with a strong fall in food stocks, industrial agrofuels developed worldwide in the last 2 years, increasing pressure on the markets. The very interventionist decision of the EU to finance their development and to force the market to incorporate them, has increased the perspectives of competition with food production. After repeated droughts in Australia which weighed on prices, the international financial speculation, as off the summer 2007, led to a new and brutal increase of certain agricultural prices. In many countries, the privatization of food stocks promotes local speculation.
The planet, which according to the FAO can feed 12 billion people, is not short on food globally; indeed the wheat harvest has never been as good as in 2007 and that of rice was very good. The problem is poor people's access to this food and the dependence of many countries on imports, promoted by international institutions.
Let us remind that food prices have increased much more than that is justified by the increase of some agricultural prices. Agro-industry and large retailers bear a heavy responsibility.

How to respond to the current situation?

  • We need public policy in agriculture, to manage markets and stocks, necessary for food security. Market regulation is probably more ahead than behind us, and the European Commission, narrow and focused on a health check without check, should look further.
  • Only sustainable, social, food-producing family farming will guarantee people’s food security. It can feed the entire world population.
  • This sustainable family farming, coupled with a political will to relocate production and give priority to local and regional trade, can also help to cool down the planet, protect soil fertility and biodiversity. 
  • Food sovereignty is an inescapable issue in both North and South.

René Louail (CPE): +33672848792
Rafael Hernández (COAG): +34616436556

Brussels, May 7th, 2008