Research on food sovereignty, international trade and public policy
How we grow our food is a global issue. According to a report by the French Economic and Social Council (1):
- In 2006, 854 million people were in a state of chronic undernutrition: 820 million in developing countries, 25 million in countries in transition and 9 million in developed countries.
- Three-quarters of the world's poor (so poor as to be undernourished) are farmers or former farmers.
- The proportion of children living in poverty increased to 21.9% in most developed countries.
In a report published in 2004, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the UN noted that no fewer than "43 developing countries depend on a single commodity for more than 20% of their total revenues from merchandise exports. Most of these countries are in sub-Saharan Africa or Latin America and the Caribbean." (2)
In 2008, a report by the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policies revealed that:
- Prices for maize and vegetable oils increased by 33% and 50% respectively in 2007, while wheat prices increased by 30%.
- The price of food and tropical commodities rose by 24%, on average, the same year (3).
Did these price increases translate into higher incomes for farmers? Quite the opposite, according to a 2008 Oxfam report (4). Higher prices aggravated the ongoing food crisis.
Food sovereignty: More and more relevant every day
Will governments have an important role to play through regulation? Yes, according to peasant movements, NGOs and researchers, who would like to consolidate food sovereignty of nation states to achieve food security. This term was coined by members of Via Campesina, an international peasant movement, at the World Food Summit in 1996. It's an increasingly important issue for NGOs and other civil society organizations (CSOs), in Canada and worldwide.
Partners and donors
- Centre for Trade Policy and Law (CTPL), Carleton University
As our partner, CTPL is involved with information retrieval, drafting and revising documents, developing a methodology and planning.
Chantal Blouin (Main researcher): overall coordination, fundraising, employee management, research
Jane Imai (assistant)
Kausar Ashraf (assistant)
Through its Canadian Partnerships program, IDRC is a financial partner of the project. The Centre is involved in consulting, planning and carrying out the project; it supports training and provides access to its resources. It works to create networks with other Canadian organizations working on similar topics.
(1) Hacquemand, J., Faim dans le monde et politiques agricoles et alimentaires: bilan et perspectives, (World hunger and food and agricultural policies), République française, Conseil économique et social, 2008, 137 p.
(2) FAO, The State of Agricultural Commodity Markets 2004, 2004
(3) Constantin, A. L., Turning High Prices into an Opportunity: What is Needed, IATP, Minnesota, 2008, 17 p.
(4) Oxfam, Double-edge prices, Lessons from the food price crisis: 10 actions developing countries should take, Oxfam International, 2008.