If you only read one thing this week…

Food System in Crisis – Hunger and the Pursuit of Profit by ifyouonlyreadonethingthisweek
July 18, 2008, 10:30 pm
Filed under: Development theory, If you have time for longer reading!

The Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace (a member of Caritas) has just published a new report on the effects of the global food system on smallholders, communities and farmers in the global south. The 22-page report, prepared with input and reflections from Development and Peace partners in the countries where it works in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Middle East, provides a Christian reflection on food and hunger, highlighting catholic social teaching on the issue. The report calls for a serious overhaul of the system that has led to the current global food crisis.

You can download the English version here, and read the synopsis here.

Our increasingly fragile global food system is in major trouble. Decades of inappropriate economic and agricultural policies have finally become too much for farmers and people around the world to withstand. Decision-making power over one of the most primary elements of life – food – has been wrenched from the people who produce and need food, and placed in the hands of people who profit from its trade. The policies of the international financial institutions, and the World Trade Organization (WTO), shaped by the governments of the North, have systematically undermined the capacity of individuals and communities to access food, and the resources to grow their own.

This report explores the long-term causes of the global food emergency, as well as the specific current day factors that are converging to increase global hunger. It is based on the experience of Development and Peace’s partners in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Middle East.  As Milo Tanchuling, of the Freedom from Debt Coalition in the Philippines notes, ‘[t]oday’s problems come from yesterday’s solutions’”.

It is imperative to bring agriculture back to its primary and basic function: to nourish local and national communities.
– The Assembly of Quebec Catholic Bishops  May 1, 2008


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