Food security will be threatened again next year, in 3 or 5 years, if we do not make food systems more resilient to shocks.
We are not currently facing a food production crisis, and the responses promoted so far almost exclusively address a market and production perspective.
Rome, Italy. July 18, 2022. “The causes of the current global food crisis are structural and go beyond the war in Ukraine. This was one of the main points heard today at a public event co-organized by the Civil Society and Indigenous Peoples Mechanism (CISPM) and IPES-Food. A rich panel of experts, government officials and civil society representatives urged political leaders around the world to step up their efforts to tackle hunger and malnutrition, saying the responses promoted so far by governments , international agencies and financial institutions, such as the most recent statement from Rome-based agencies, international financial institutions and the WTO. are insufficient, as they approach the crisis almost exclusively from the point of view of the market and production.
Entitled “Beyond the war in Ukraine: the new layer of the global food crisis from a human rights approach”, the event served to launch a call to the participants of a high level which took place a few hours later at the UN headquarters in New York.
The current global food crisis is not a production crisis, since the world produces enough food to feed everyone, but an access crisis, a debt crisis and a food price crisis.
As IPES-Food’s Molly Anderson said at the public event: “The world has plunged into its third food price crisis in 15 years, largely because the causes of price and supply crises previous ones have never been processed. These include financialisation and speculation, diversion of food to biofuels and animal feed, over-reliance on food imports and lack of social assistance and support for small farmers. To escape this cycle of crises, we need to build resilient and diverse food systems that respect human rights, food sovereignty and debt reduction for countries currently heavily dependent on food imports.
Even if the war in Ukraine were to end tomorrow, the food price crisis would continue, according to the IPES-Food special report Another Perfect Storm? This crisis, like previous ones before it, has laid bare fundamental flaws in global food systems:
- Dependencies on food imports: global food diversity has been declining for decades (focused on wheat, rice and maize); cash crops were promoted at the expense of a more diverse food supply; some countries are now 100% dependent on basic food imports while being heavily indebted.
- Entrenched production systems: Geographic overspecialization, trader and government preferences for staple crops and biofuels, and reliance on synthetic fertilizers hamper farmers’ ability to diversify food production and change food production practices.
- Market Failure and Excessive Speculation: Global wheat stocks are currently high relative to historical trends; what exacerbates the price spikes and volatility is the lack of equity transparency and what appears to be excessive commodity speculation.
- Vicious circles of conflict, climate change, poverty and food insecurity – leaving hundreds of millions of people without the ability to adapt to sudden shocks.
Patti Naylor, from the CSIPM Coordinating Committee and member of the global movement La Via Campesina, spoke about the historical power imbalances behind the current food crisis: “The current situation clearly shows the fragility and the enormous inequalities of this globalized food system which resulted from decades of neoliberal trade policies. The consequences are tragic for people and for nature. Large-scale commercial farming of export crops takes land and other resources away from traditional and territorial food producers, leaving entire communities and countries dependent on food from elsewhere. Food addiction creates vulnerability and helplessness. We demand a complete transformation of our food system into one based on food sovereignty and human rights.”
At the event, representatives of civil society and indigenous peoples from around the world urged governments to develop policy responses to the crisis that address immediate needs and correct structural flaws in food systems. In particular, they demanded:
- Making food systems resilient to shocks and resilient
- Low-income countries need financial assistance and comprehensive debt relief
- Rich countries must mitigate global food price spikes by clamping down on speculation
The solution is not to intensify large-scale industrial production. Promoting the current model of production and distribution (for example, maintaining reliance on synthetic fertilizers and global trade) will do nothing to address structural flaws in food systems.
Médi Moungui, Deputy Permanent Representative of Cameroon to the United Nations in Rome, intervened with data showing the severe impacts of the global food crisis: malnutrition, while threatening to erase hard-won development gains. Supply chain disruptions and the continued economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic are reversing years of development gains and pushing food prices to unprecedented levels. Rising food prices are having a greater impact on people around the world. »
Victor Suárez Carrera, Deputy Minister of Self-Sufficiency, Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development of Mexico, stressed the importance of “Recognizing that the neoliberal model of the green revolution and food dependence is a factor of food insecurity. Therefore, the policy of food sovereignty must be instituted on the basis of agroecological transition, human rights and the productive development of small farmers and fishermen.
Public event “Beyond the war in Ukraine: the new layer of the world food crisis in a human rights approach”, co-organized by the CSIPM* and IPES-Food*. Link to video
CSIPM:Betsy Diaz email@example.com | Marion Girard Cisneros firstname.lastname@example.org
IPES FOOD: Robbie Blake email@example.com