Tag Archives: government

Food Security for All; high level meeting held in Madrid


On 26-27 January 2009 a forum on the food crisis was held in Madrid. World Bank, IMF and WTO debated on how to intervene to stop the crisis and give farmers the means to control their agriculture.  However, some questions were asked about the validity of such an event – can one talk about farmers without them being in the debate? Grain.org was vocal in this questioning. See their write up on the event:  GRAIN talked about how representatives of small farmers, who they say produce 80% of the world’s food, did not seem to have been given much space, only a few minutes on the floor to give their position.

(Thanks to Francesca Re Manning from CAS-IP for the posting.)

As a summary of the discussion you can view the final statement of the event by clicking here.  Among the 12 point summary they talk about next steps after this meeing and they do clearly specify:

“The consultations should be open to the full range of stakeholdersinvolved in agriculture, food security and nutrition (including farmers’ organizations, civil society organizations, women’s organizations, private sector, developing country governments,and both regional and international organisations)”

This was a high level meeting.  Presumably it would be tough deciding to which small farmers one would give space in a such an agenda.  Is it naive to hope that the government ministers are there to represent their own country’s interests?

Of course, the devil is in the detail, and exactly how these high-brow commitments will roll out and translate into meaningful impact will be of more interest to us, as well as the small farmers in the 126 nations represented.  For more information on the wider initiative of this meeting visit  http://www.un.org/issues/food/taskforce/

Food for thought? What about thought for food?


This NYTimes article talks about the way the US government is currently organised with regards to agriculture.  The writer suggests given that only 2% of the U.S population are farmers yet 100% are “eaters”, that the Agriculture Secretary postition should be renamed the  Secretary of Food.  He goes on to suggest this might help created a more balanced, and healthy farming industry arguing that the strength of farm lobby means industrial farming receives too much support.  His hope is that Mr. Obama may take this into consideration as arguably a reform of the agricultural sector could assist the achievement of his other campaign issues of health care, climate change and energy independence.

This subject reminded me of an awarding winning short film clip I spotted a while back about the changing face of farming from the family farm to the factory farm.  Click HERE to view – its a play on the film the Matrix and is called ‘the Meatrix’.