World Food Summit Roundup

to solve hunger food sovereignty

So, the FAO Summit is over. I didn’t think to write in advance that it’d be a whitewash because, well, it was so very obviously going to be.

The US went in with three big ideas – food aid, vague promises of investment in agriculture, and biotechnology.

They came out with a declaration that endorses all three of those positions.

Farmers movements are digusted with the outcome.

And that hurts the US government a great deal. Really. Are the feds not also made of flesh and blood? Can no one appreciate that the US is the world’s largest donor of food aid? US Agriculture Secretary Ed Schafer wasn’t feeling the love, and clearly needed to. Someone give him a hug.

Meanwhile, back in the real world, the biggest single substantive donation to the UN World Food Programme came from, er, Saudi Arabia.

And not one word was heard about how food aid needs to come not from the United States, but to be bought locally, from farmers struggling within hunger-affected regions.

And only a few countries raised the more systemic aspects of the current crisis, wonderfully covered here by Laura Carlsen.

Missing was any sort of analysis at all. Indeed, around biofuels, there was a rather straightforward attempt to prevent analysis, with the US pushing the line that biofuels were responsible for only 2% of food price increases (IFPRI says 30%), and with Brazil saying that they weren’t responsible at all.

I’m particularly sickened by Lula’s conversion to the cause of biofuels. When he was in opposition, he was very clear that the biofuels farmers were ‘criminals’ — no understatement, given that most of Brazil’s 40,000 agricultural slaves live on biofuels plantations. But, now that he’s at the helm, Lula sees the same farmers as ‘national heroes’. At least the US government has been consistent in its being puppetted by corporate interests.

So, yep, another summit over. Score another one for the disaster capitalists. How many does that make now?