Tag Archives: Food chain

The World Must Detoxify Its Toxic Farmlands: Devinder Sharma

Plenary address at the 19th Organic World Congress, New Delhi, Nov 19-11, 2017

“Any harm we inflict on nature will eventually return to haunt us… this is a reality we have to face.”  Xi Jinping, President of China

The evidence is all there. With soil fertility declining to almost zero in intensively farmed regions; excessive mining of groundwater sucking aquifers dry; and chemical inputs, including pesticides, becoming extremely pervasive in environment, the entire food chain has been contaminated. Further, as soils become sick, forests are logged for expanding industrial farming, erosion takes a heavy toll[1] leading to more desertification. With crop productivity stagnating thereby resulting in more chemicals being pumped to produce the same harvest, the farmlands have turned toxic. Modern agriculture has become a major contributor to Greenhouse Gas Emissions (GHGs) leading to climate aberrations.

Read on here: https://foodvitalpublicservice.wordpress.com/world-must-detoxify-its-toxic-farmlands-devinder-sharma/






Saluting the French President – the first head of state to seek fair food legislation?

Macron: “We should allow farmers not to rely on subsidies anymore and therefore ensure than they be paid a fair amount for their work.”

Reuters reports that President Emmanuel Macron – during a meeting at Rungis international food market in Rungis, near Paris – has called for changes to France’s food chain on Wednesday to ensure that farmers, who have been hit by squeezed margins and a retail price war, are paid fairly.

Macron said that he supported a new type of contract, based on farmers’ production costs

In common with Farmers for Action (NI) which has joined a producer organization (Farm Groups) he is proposing a change in legislation – ‘a new type of contract, based on farmers’ production costs, which would require stronger producer organizations and a change in legislation’.

Prices are currently defined by buyers tempted to pressure prices, leaving many farmers unable to cover their costs.

The changes are part of a wide field-to-fork review promised by Macron during his presidential campaign as a third of farmers, an important constituency in French politics, earned a third of the net minimum wage.

Macron endorsed a proposal from the workshops to create a reversed contract starting from farmers, to food processors and to retailers. This would ensure a better spread of added value along the chain.

Just Food adds: “He promised to shake up the current “balance of power” between producers, food processing firms and retailers. A tougher line would be taken on low prices and discounting and a higher loss-leader threshold for retailers established, Macron underlined . . .

“Legislation will be prepared early next year reversing the current system of food pricing. In future, prices will be calculated on the basis of production costs instead of being imposed by retailers”.

First published here: https://politicalcleanup.wordpress.com/2017/10/19/saluting-the-french-president-the-first-head-of-state-to-seek-fair-food-legislation/




Transatlantic trade and investment partnership trade talks (TTIP) ‘hit trouble’


In May, Dr Gabriel Siles-Brügge, based in Manchester, wrote: “The TTIP being currently negotiated between the EU and the US reflects:

  • the increasing intrusiveness of the trade regime,
  • a desire to bypass the increasing power of the emerging powers in the global trading system by negotiating bilaterally,
  • and the increasing prominence of civil society groups in trade discussions.

wyn grantWyn Grant, a political scientist in ‘good standing’ – an expert on the CAP and the political economy of the food chain, wrote earlier this year:

“The US-EU trade talks are running into trouble on a number of fronts, but predictably agriculture is proving to be a particularly difficult issue.

“The farm lobbies on both sides of the Atlantic are active and influential and the EU feels a need to respond to the concerns of its citizens on such subjects as GM crops and hormone-raised beef. For its part, the US sees this as protectionism under another guise.

“Food safety is an area where there is a particular gap with the EU sticking to the ‘precautionary principle’ which can justify intervention in the absence of much in the way of hard scientific evidence while the US has a more lenient ‘risk assessment model’ which only bans products if there is a known risk.

“The EU is about to approve a GM strain of corn/maize, but that is after a decade of debate and six scientific studies. It remains to be seen how much is actually planted.

“The fundamental problem is that the public in the two entities have different attitudes on issues of this kind and these are difficult to overcome, particularly when the EU is engaged in a constant search for democratic legitimacy and popular support.

“Standing up to big US corporations marketing allegedly dangerous products and processes is one way of doing that”.

Gabriel siles brugge coverHowever, as Siles-Brügge points out, such trade policy negotiations are conducted in secret, ‘dominated by experts and other insiders’.

He concludes: “The increasing constraints that global trade negotiations place on the economic sovereignty of states suggest the need for the public and civil society to be part and parcel of trade negotiations”.


Trade policy should no longer be ‘a closed policy domain’.