Globalised Food or Food Sovereignty?

tracy 1Tracy Worcester, who spent two years researching, making and screening the film Pig Business, about intensive pig farming, has now set up a new website, exposing “a global web of power, financing and trading that links factory farming to many different struggles for the control of food”.

She voices the hopes of many for resilient food systems and an ecologically sound future – sharing the alarm expressed on this site about our government ministers’ ardent campaigns to extend industrial agriculture – not for the purposes of national food security, but for those of the speculation/export/import business.

Large agribusiness and biotech corporations, whose methods and intentions are profoundly worrying, already enjoy significant control of global food markets. The site explains:

“Designed only to provide maximum returns to shareholders, they aggressively pursue market dominance both domestically and abroad. By fostering dependence on patented chemical inputs and hybrid and GM seeds they exercise terrible power over farmers, who are often locked into cycles of debt.

“In India tens of thousands of farmers have committed suicide after falling into debt farming GM cotton. Over 17,000 killed themselves in 2009 alone.

“By lobbying governments to extend free trade treaties into the Global South, they secure access to resources and land in order to reap more profits on the global markets. Democratic, localised control of food is being eroded by an intentional economic stranglehold”.

The high environmental costs are deplored:

  • Fertiliser and pesticide use kills soil, eradicating its natural fertility and ensuring an addiction to further chemical inputs.
  • In the long term yields reduce as natural adaptation ensures pests return.
  • Enormous monocultural plantations of a small number of cash crops erode soils, emit carbon and destroy natural biodiversity and local expertise.

A blinkered focus on profit does not and will not produce outcomes truly designed to feed the growing global population into long term. Instead, fewer and fewer actors seek to maximise the control and sale of higher value products to burgeoning markets, damaging access to nutrition for the most vulnerable.

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