Giant corporations have taken control of our food. In the last two years, these companies have begun the process of merging and re-arranging themselves into just four colossal corporations. The larger these companies grow, the less we can control them. And the less control we have, the harder it is for us to build the kind of food system that more and more of us want: one that recognizes the value of people, respects the planet, and provides decent, dignified work. How did this happen, and what can we do about it?
There are an estimated 500 million smallholder farms in the developing world which provide livelihoods for 2 billion people and produce about 80% of the food consumed in Asia and sub-Saharan Africa. It is these small farmers who truly contribute to global food security.
Global corporations are increasingly influencing development policy, resulting in partnership agreements like the New Alliance for Food and Nutrition Security that grow corporate profits while endangering the livelihoods of small-scale farmers.
The global rise in food prices is not only a consequence of using food crops to produce biofuels, but of the "free trade" policies promoted by international financial institutions. Now peasant organisations are leading the opposition to a capitalist industrial agriculture.
This paper examines the policies and practices on land of the Department for International Development (DFID) of the United Kingdom. After a market-led approach to land distribution in the 1980s, DFID made some changes towards a rights-based land policy, but this has since regressed.
Vía Campesina’s ‘Global Campaign for Agrarian Reform’ has made a significant impact (inter)nationally in reshaping the terms of the land reform debates, but its impact on other land policy dynamics has been marginal.
James Scott, co-director of Yale Agrarian Studies Program, talks of how the secure access to food is a pre-condition to all other human rights. Without secure access to food people will allow encroachment of their rights by the people who do control food.
Published by Biowatch South Africa, this is a book about access to information, the right to know, and action in the public’s interest – a must-read for anyone campaigning for environmental or social justice.