Just, Equitable, Healthy, and Sustainable Food Systems urgently needed to end hunger —CPDG

July 25, 2021

JULY 25, 2021

Just, Equitable, Healthy, and Sustainable Food Systems urgently needed to end hunger —CPDG

The Council for People’s Development and Governance (CPDG) joins the Global People’s Summit (GPS) on Food Systems and people’s organizations across the world in calling for food sovereignty amid widespread hunger exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Last July 6, 2021, CPDG members and allied organizations held a forum themed “People’s Review of SDG 2: Binhian, Bungkalan, Bahaginan: Tugon sa Panawagang Tapusin ang Kagutuman!” which aimed to assess how the Philippine government does its part in ending hunger with its commitments to the United Nations’ 17 sustainable development goals (SDGs) towards Agenda 2030. The organizations decried neoliberal policies like rice liberalization and pork tariff reduction that, especially amid widespread landlessness and crop and land use conversions, worsen hunger and poverty..

“The implementation of overly market-oriented and profit-biased neoliberal policies in the agriculture sector especially with the Agreement on Agriculture under the World Trade Organization or AoA-WTO exacerbated hunger among the population, particularly the poor and marginalized sectors. Neoliberal policies should be stopped and instead government should implement genuine people centered policies aimed at eliminating hunger, poverty and inequality” said Prof. Reggie Vallejos of Samahan at Ugnayan ng mga Konsumer para sa Ikauunlad ng Bayan (SUKI) in his presentation at the forum.

Farmer rights and agricultural development advocates have long-condemned such policies which Philippine governments past and present continue to implement. They denounced government “profit-oriented” and “corporate-led” policies following United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization’s thrusts of food security through privatization, liberalization, and deregulation..

“Since there is no reprieve from government’s promotion of Green Revolution and Gene Revolution technologies, Filipino farmers should chart its own direction in agriculture by asserting a people-led food and agriculture system, at the core of which is the conservation and improvement of our traditional, indigenous and farmer-bred seeds including domestic animals and their production through sustainable use of local resources controlled and managed by farmers themselves” Cristino Panerio, National Coordinator of MASIPAG stated in the forum.

The Department of Agriculture recently approved the use of widely contested genetically-modified (GM) Golden Rice. The Stop Golden Rice Network (SGRN) lambasted the commercialization of Golden Rice which enriches agrochemical corporations that developed this at the expense of locally-grown and native rice varieties..

The SGRN contends there is no need for Golden Rice. “The billions spent on the Golden Rice project would have been put into better use if it was utilized for genuine support to diverse local production of food,” says Panerio in a separate statement.

The current food systems enforced by the global economic elites, for the longest time, deprived peoples of poor, underdeveloped countries their right to self-determination in economy and territory and that includes their food sovereignty. The UN Food Systems Summit which will hold its pre-summit from July 26 to 28, 2021 only serves as a mechanism to maintain this status quo.

CPDG stands in solidarity with the peoples of the world plagued by chronic hunger and malnutrition due to economic underdevelopment and its underlying crises. We must all unite and push for genuine, people-centered, and rights-based reforms towards achieving just, equitable, healthy, and sustainable food systems for a society with zero hunger in the future. #