"The banks are ours!" Public money was used to bail out the banks, and now they are lending back to the public at interest, while governments ignore the social and environmental crises that confront society. It is time to demand real solutions that will work not only for the sake of the economy but for the lives and conditions of people on whom it depends.
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.
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.
Harold Liversage, the Land Tenure Adviser for the International Fund for Agricultural Development argues that responsible investment in agriculture is possible if voluntary guidelines are backed up by an empowered civil society.
In 2004 the EU Commission published EU Land Policy Guide-lines: Guidelines for Support to Land Policy Design and Land Policy Reform Process in Developing Countries. It proposes that steps be taken to allow the legal recognition of customary rights and to strengthen the institutional capacities of customary structures that enforce them.
Brazil has not experienced any sort of major agrarian reform since then, but dozens of rural movements have been organised and hundreds of thousands of landless peasants have acquired the right of access to land (especially through settlement projects) as a result of these social movements’ struggles. After so many years of fighting and popular mobilisation, what are these movements’ contributions to building rural democracy? This study seeks to understand this process by evaluating social movements’ alliances (both rural and urban alliances) and evaluating their relationships with political parties, especially with the Workers Party (Partido dos Trabalhadores – PT) and with the Brazilian Federal Government.
In 2006–08, food shortages became a global reality, with the prices of commodities spiraling beyond the reach of vast numbers of people. International agencies were caught flatfooted, with the World Food Program warning that its rapidly diminishing food stocks might not be able to deal with the emergency.
Myriam vander Stichele, Thijs Kerckhoffs, Roos van Os
27 April 2010
Financing Food focuses on how derivative markets work and on speculation in food and agricultural products. This study demonstrates how the futures market for agricultural products, in particular, has changed and is being disrupted by new speculators, growing index funds and commodities funds.