International food summit in Madrid: Time to change European Agricultural Policy

Press Release, European Coordination Via Campesina

The crisis in world agriculture also a serious issue in Europe – it is time to change European Agricultural policy in favour of a sustainable family farming and a living rural environment.

While the food price crisis affects people internationally, in Europe three family  farms disappear every minute.

Proposals by the World Bank, G8, international corporations such as Monsanto and international foundations the High Level Conference on Food Security in Madrid last week focused  on profiting from a desperate crisis which affects more than 1 billion people internationally. 

The content of their proposals – a “green revolution” for Africa – is simply an attempt by transnational corporations to do business selling more fertilisers and seeds, companies which clearly indicated in the Madrid meeting that their responsibility is to provide profit for their shareholders – none of which are small farmers in the global south.

Lidia Senra, representative of Sindicato Labrego Galicia and member of the ECVC pointed out – “The “green revolution” has failed in Europe, with the disappearance of small farms and the rural environment – the solution proposed by the European Commission for peasant farmers in the south is comparable with the liberalisation of markets upon which European agricultural policy is based.” She added “the decision to re-establish the export refund system for milk in Europe is a clear example of the intentions of the European Commission which goes completely against supporting the peasants of the south. Export refunds principally benefit  the milk industry, worsen European dumping in countries of the south and oblige small-scale producers of milk in Europe to sell at lower and lower prices, including at times below production costs”.

Decades of market deregulation worldwide have led to the current crisis. Similarly in Europe,  the CAP has consistently promoted industrialised agriculture and has upheld the dumping of food in other countries at prices  below production costs, forcing countries to become net importers of staple foods and driving their farmers from the fields to the slums of big cities.

We need public agriculture policy based on controls over production, the regulation of markets and stocks, necessary for food security and stable farmer’s income. States are now recognising the need to regulate their banks – agricultural markets need the same.
Only sustainable, social, food-producing family farming will guarantee the world’s food security.
Sustainable family farming, coupled with a political will to relocate production and give priority to local and regional trade will  reduce the effects of Global warming, helping to cool the planet and to protect soil fertility and biodiversity.
Food sovereignty is an unavoidable topic in both the North and South.

Lidia Senra (ES):  +34609845861
Rene Louail (FR) : +33 672848792
Marit Jordal (EN): +4738341080