Amongst the enduring international topics is the enormous scourge of hunger and malnutrition, two complementary humanitarian tragedies that terminate millions of human lives each year or blight them forever. This reality is totally contrary to the legal conquest of the right to food, which is universally recognized, although only in theory.
By making effective the right to food, it is possible to bring to an end the hunger suffered by more than 820 million human beings with hundreds of millions more afflicted by malnutrition. This means that food must be locally available, abundant, and accessible to all of each country’s inhabitants. However, such availability does not to exist in many parts of the world despite the presence of millions of active farmers, both women and men, and extensive tracts of cultivable arable land.
International trade rules, the policies of the World Trade Organization (WTO), and the policies of the World Bank promote so-called ‘free trade’ that in fact reinforces the dominance and interests of food exporting nations while blocking progress in the development of the agricultural sectors of the great majority of developing nations.
These rules prevent the application of efficient support policies for family farming in the most vulnerable nations; in many cases, it is just abandoned. In addition, the World Bank offers major multinational investors all the information necessary for them to take advantage of developing nations with legislation favorable to their interests. These investors control major tracts of land, which are mainly destined to grow speculative crops such as biofuels.
The United States and the European Union maintain enormous budgets for agricultural subsidies, duly ‘camouflaged’ as green boxes, while the WTO punishes any attempt at development of agriculture in the South.
During the global meeting of farming organizations from five continents during the International Year of Family Farming (IYFF), held in Abu Dhabi on January 21 to 22, 2014, a document was adopted whose first demand insisted on the right of peoples to produce a substantial part of their food as an indispensable requisite for attaining genuine food security and sovereignty in order to eliminate hunger and malnutrition throughout the world.
A cause of such greatness and urgency will be achieved with the effort and constancy of organizations, institutions, and individuals who are committed to the welfare of humanity as a whole.