Monday, July 14, 2008

Food prices crisis: positions of the EU and IAASTD

Source: EU News, nr. 5, June/July 2008

A formal proposal from the European Commission to use € 1 billion in unspent Community funds (Common Agriculture Policy farm subsidies) to help agriculture in developing countries has been delayed due to differences of views both within the Commission and among Member States and European Parliamentarians.

Within civil society, questions have been raised as to what the funds would be used for. Giving priority to fertilizer and seeds seems to signify a narrow focus on short-term productivity and yields. However, the long-term root causes of the current crisis must urgently be addressed.

Developing countries need to consider how to prioritize strategic food production, reducing dependency on external suppliers; hence the need to critically address free trade in agriculture. Increased and strategic EU investment in agriculture in developing countries is welcome; however, the EU cannot and should not continue to use its development policies to compensate for trade policies at the multilateral and bilateral and regional levels.

CIDSE joined its voice to civil society calls for a rejection of attempts to use the current global food price crisis to push through current multilateral and bilateral and regional trade proposals, which will bring neither food security, nor development and justice. See: 'The WTO’s Doha Round Will Not Solve the Global Food Crisis – Time For Real Solutions' signed by over 200 organisations and networks.

As a contribution to the debate, APRODEV organised an expert panel to present the findings of the IAASTD report on agriculture and development. The objective of the assessment was to find out in which way knowledge systems and science have contributed to combat hunger, poverty and ecological destruction in agriculture, and where we should move from here. It claims to represent an international scientific consensus on how to redirect agricultural research for the benefit of the poor. After the presentation, the findings were discussed with EC officials from DG Agriculture and DG Research as well as a few representatives from ACP countries embassies.

View the Euforic interview with Hans Herren, co-chair of IAASTD

Also check Euforic's newsfeeds on agriculture and food security