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Publication

Food Sovereignty and the Contemporary Food Crisis

  • Over the past 30 years, millions of peasant and family farmers around the world have been driven off the land by government policies in support of capitalist industrial agribusinesses engaging in food production for export. At the same time, imports of cheap food has destroyed local and national food markets. As a result, many countries now no longer have the capacity to produce and market their own food and have become dependent on food imports.
     
    The cost of industrial food production is now rising because of the increasing cost of chemical inputs, the rising cost of petroleum, and the adverse effects of drought, floods and other climate events. Also because many food growing lands are being given over to the production of biofuels. Rising food prices are now putting pressure upon capitalist industries to raise wages. This means a lowering of their profits. Western governments are looking to improve the profitability of their capitalist industries by seeking out cheaper sources of food by stimulating the global recovery of peasant and family farming that they previously destroyed.
     
    Meanwhile, organisations of peasants and family farmers, farm workers, indigenous people, landless peasants, and rural women and youth in the South are forming alliances (La Via Campasina) to develop alternative forms of agriculture based on ecological principles and respect for nature, local cultures and traditional farming knowledge. They call this movement “Food Sovereignty”. Some Western governments now see “food sovereignty” as a way out of the food crisis that their own greed and stupidity has created, and they want to support/control the grassroots “food sovereignty” movement.
     

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