Food takes to the streets with G20 message

Wednesday, June 22, 2011 - 15:28

This morning I joined a demonstration in Paris where farmers organizations and NGOs were defending food sovereignty and governments concrete  actions to prevent a new food crisis.  Activists were dressed as food and farm animals and marched to join a peasants demonstration that denounced the commodification of food.

The peasants organization’s brought few sheep into the stocks market making it clear that food should not be treated as commodity, as it is rather a fundamental human right.

This symbolic action is very timely as the world is on the verge of another food crisis, and speculation on commodities future markets is one the reasons of the current high food prices.

I was invited to address the demonstration on behalf of ActionAid and emphasized that we are just one bad harvest away from a new food crisis that could force more than 100 million people into extreme poverty. I also said that G20 does not have the legitimacy to rule the world food system, but does have the responsibility to claim its own mess.

File 1647After all, it was the very G8 and G20 countries policies that dismantled agriculture support systems on the years before the food crisis, allowed speculation, promoted biofuels expansion and land grabbing. We expressed our solidarity with poor farmers worldwide and expressed our view that mobilizing together we will achieve commitments of governments across the globe to implement robust public policies to support smallholder farmers and sustainable agriculture.

I am now waiting to see what will be the text that Ministers will negotiate tonight.

We know that Sherpa’s meeting finished one hour ago and they probably concluded a text that ministers will negotiate tonight and tomorrow.

G20 should  open its eyes and get away from selfish business interests and take concrete action to prevent a new food crisis.