APWLD - 30 May 2023
Unravel neoliberal trade: a failed solution to food sovereignty
The food sovereignty movement has its roots in the anti-neoliberal globalisation movement in the 1990s which exposed the effects of the Green Revolution and campaigned against the deregulation and liberalisation of food markets through structural adjustment programs (SAPs) and trade agreements. Together, these programs and policies reshaped local food systems and allowed large agri-businesses and fishing companies to control the global production, processing, and distribution of food staples.
The ongoing economic, environmental, and security crises during the COVID-19 pandemic expose the weaknesses and exacerbate the negative impacts of highly globalised and corporate-controlled food systems on people’s access to food, health, as well as livelihoods of food producers. Even before COVID-19, multiple crises are further being taken advantage of by corporations to solidify their control over food systems. The ongoing climate crisis is being used by agri-corporations to further justify industrial chemical agriculture. Under the banners of ‘climate smart agriculture’ and ‘nature-based solutions’, agri-corporations push for increased use of GM seeds and new technologies such as remote controlling of farming processes; precision application of pesticides, fertilisers, and water; and the use of monitoring technologies that gather real-time data on crops for machine learning.
Corporate power and neoliberal rules that govern the global food system must be dismantled. The compounding global crises and democratic decline necessitate that movements, including feminist movements, not only take advantage of formal spaces in advocating for food sovereignty. Communities must also be strengthened to resist corporate control and build just, equitable, and sustainable food systems that protect both the people and the place. With the ongoing climate crises, oncoming massive food catastrophes, and a further increase in political turmoil, it is time to act now.
APWLD produces the briefing paper, namely “Unravel neoliberal trade: A failed solution to food sovereignty” to unpack the understanding of CSOs and movements on how neoliberal trade and investment agreements, and how the current system are undermining food sovereignty and women’s human rights while cementing corporate power. More details can be found in this full paper.