Industrialised nations spend billions to subsidise their high-tech farming industries. Surplus crops often end up being sold at rock-bottom prices in the markets of developing countries, making it impossible for local farmers to sell their products. Even the American food aid being sent to famine-plagued regions creates more suffering than it alleviates, because many governments prefer to wait for handouts than buy up their farmers' harvests. The lack of options is forcing thousands of Africans to risk the life-threatening journey to Europe.
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Seen from a satellite, an industrial feedlot has a sort of abstract beauty. The washes of colors, the juxtaposition of organic and rigid geometries, initially obscure the subject. Then comes the realization: That’s where our food comes from.
Africa’s diversity and knowledge systems are being threatened by corporate and genetically modified (GM) seeds, agro-chemicals, resource grabs and laws that prevent farmers from freely using, sharing or selling their seed.
Seed and the control of seed lies at the heart of agriculture. In Africa around 80% of seed comes from local and community saved seed resources. This seed is adapted to local conditions. It forms an integral part of community food security and agricultural integrity. This entire traditional system is now under threat.
Youth and student group Academic Action for the Development of Rural Communities (ADECRU) call G8's New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition in Africa an attack against Africa's food sovereignty, cultural diversity and biodiversity.
The latest edition of the Nyéléni newsletter is dedicated to the struggles for food sovereignty that help us to hope for a better world, including this story of how peasants in Colombia are fending off the advance of supermarkets and managing to build up their own markets in Bogotá.
In the last 15 years only two GM crops have been authorized for cultivation in Europe. This was a result of public rejection and successful opposition by the environmental, social and farmers movements. However, we are still faced with around 25 GM crops in the pipeline that are close to getting approved, many of them resistant to (multiple) herbicides, and Bt-crops. Therefore, we are launching a new campaign on Monday 18 March to stop new GMO approvals for cultivation in the EU: Stop the Crop!
Nearly a quarter of the world’s fresh food is supplied by approximately one billion people who produce fruits and vegetables on urban and peri-urban farms and gardens. While most of this food is consumed by the producers themselves, a substantial part goes directly into urban markets at affordable prices. Given that over half of the world’s economically poor population now live in cities, and given the dangerous volatility of global food markets, this locally-produced food is becoming increasingly important to urban food security.
Dairy farmers and pastoralists struggle as Mauritanian market is flooded with cheap milk products imported from Europe.