Hunger is not a natural disaster – it’s a political problem. And G20 leaders can and must act to end this scandal
In the fight to address global food crises, will the French presidency at theG20 summit succeed where others have failed? On the eve of the G20 agriculture summit on 22-23 June, we urgently need to adopt an ambitious action plan. G20 leaders have a decisive role to play in Paris: they must tackle the problems in the food system.
We are at an impasse. Starting from the misdiagnosis of attributing global hunger to a simple lack of food, governments have for years focused their efforts solely on increasing agricultural production by industrial methods alone, as a means to feeding their growing cities and supplying international markets. This has become a quick fix to the “failure” of national production – increasing food supply has become a substitute for a real food securitypolicy.
The failure of these long advocated “solutions” can be seen everywhere. Price spikes occur repeatedly. Environmental degradation accelerates. Rural poverty and malnutrition persist.
Let’s recognise where we have been wrong: hunger is neither the result of demographic problems nor just the result of a mismatch between supply and demand. It is primarily the result of political factors that condemn small farmers, the main victims of hunger, to poverty. These factors include insufficient access to land, water and credit; poor organisation of local markets; lack of infrastructure; and lack of bargaining power against an increasingly concentrated agro-industrial sector.