Thursday, June 16, 2011

Hunger Is Not A NATURAL Disaster!

In the fight to address global food crises, will the French presidency at the G20 summit succeed where others have failed? On the eve of the G20 agriculture summit on 22-23 June, we urgently need to adopt an ambitious action plan. G20 leaders have a decisive role to play in Paris: they must tackle the problems in the food system.

Let's recognise where we have been wrong: hunger is neither the result of demographic problems nor just the result of a mismatch between supply and demand. It is primarily the result of political factors that condemn small farmers, the main victims of hunger, to poverty. These factors include insufficient access to land, water and credit; poor organisation of local markets; lack of infrastructure; and lack of bargaining power against an increasingly concentrated agro-industrial sector.

The failure of these long advocated "solutions" can be seen everywhere. Price spikes occur repeatedly. Environmental degradation accelerates. Rural poverty and malnutrition persist.

Hunger is not a natural disaster – it's a political problem. And that is precisely why this scandal can and must be stopped. Today France, with its G20 partners, has a unique opportunity to contribute decisively to this end, and I am confident it will do so.

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