Are we hungry for change for genuinely transforming food systems?
Shobha Shukla – CNS
Contd from previous issue
There are examples where governments of our countries worldwide have adopted policies as part of UN legally binding treaty to kick out industry interference from public policy. For example, the global tobacco treaty (formally called the World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control or WHO FCTC) which has been ratified by over 180 countries, has strong Article 5.3 to stop tobacco industry interference in health policy. WHO FCTC also has Article 19 to hold tobacco industry legally and financially liable. We need stronger binding rules to not let industry water down or derail efforts to keep people before profit.
No wonder, activists call it a toxic alliance, as it facilitates pesticide industry’s influence on global food systems and goes against UN’s mandate for promoting a just and resilient food system. A global campaign called Stop FAO-CropLife #ToxicAlliance, coordinated by Pesticide Action Network Asia Pacific (PANAP or PAN Asia Pacific) and PAN North America, demands that FAO must sever its formal alliance with CropLife International before the UN Food Systems Summit and implement a policy to prevent conflicts of interest. Several organizations and networks representing farmers, fisherfolk, agricultural workers, indigenous peoples, scientists and social justice organisations from many countries, have written to the Director General of FAO to stop this Alliance, shares Simone.
Land grabbing and Gates
Bill Gates has also come in for a lot of flak for its land grabbing and corporate capture activities hidden beneath its philanthropic activities. Although he projects himself as a friend of small farmers, Bill Gates is the largest private farmland owner in the USA and owns 100,000 hectares of land spread across 19 states that were purchased by his Gates Foundation Trust via Cascade Investments. Outside of US also he has been investing indirectly through private equity funds that own farms in East and South Africa. This is very typical of how billionaires function, says Devlin Kuyek, a researcher at GRAIN. They try to separate how they invest their money and how they portray themselves, Kuyek said. Gates' philanthropy runs through his investments. 7000 of his family offices control nearly USD 6 trillion in assets. They have been increasingly acquiring farmlands around the world.
(To be contd)