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Draft Paper – Not to be cited without author’s permission

multifunctionality, it is based on the special nature of agriculture (as compared to industry, for example). Food Sovereignty proponents argue that food and farming are about more than trade, and that production for local and national markets is more important than production for export from the perspectives of: broad-based and inclusive local and national economic development, and for addressing poverty and hunger, preserving rural life, economies and environments, and managing natural resources in a sustainable fashion. They argue that every country and people must have the right and the ability to define their own food, farming, and agricultural policies, that they need to have the right to protect domestic markets, and to have public sector budgets for agriculture that may include subsidies which do not lead to greater production, exports, dumping and

damage to other countries. They believe low prices are the worst farmers face everywhere in the world, and therefore that we need to ban dumping, to apply anti-monopoly rules nationally and globally, to

force that effectively effectively

regulate over-production in the large agroexport countries, and to eliminate kinds of direct and indirect, open and hidden subsidies that enforce low prices overproduction. In other words, that we need to move from mechanisms enforce low prices to those that would promote fair prices for farmers

the and that and

consumers alike. local control over patenting seeds.

This alternative model also includes resources like seeds, land, water and The food sovereignty approach is

agrarian reform, equitable forests, and is opposed to being taken increasingly

seriously

by

between

the

researchers and other experts,34 and forms the basis Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the

for collaboration UN and farmer

groups Jacques

and other civil society Diouf at the 2002 World

actors, announced Food Summit. 35

by

FAO

Secretary

General

6

Policy Alternatives for a Different Agriculture

If we read the trend lines correctly, trade liberalization in general appears to be part of a larger process that is taking us farther away from the kind of food and agriculture system most people might wish, one which:

Provides every one of us with adequate, affordable, healthy, tasty and culturally appropriate food. Offers rural peoples in each of our countries the opportunity for a life with dignity, in which they earn a living wage for their labor and have the opportunity to remain in rural areas if they prefer not to migrate to cities. Contributes to broad-based, inclusive economic development at the local, regional

and national level. Conserves rural environments culinary traditions, based on the

and landscapes, and sustainable long-term

rural-based cultural and management of productive

natural resources (soils, peoples themselves.

water,

genetic

resources

and

other

biodiversity)

by

rural

17

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