Decades of neglect in small-holder agriculture support and investment, unilateral trade liberalization in the South and increasing financialization of the food an commodity markets are the major root causes to the present food crisis.

Prince Charles of England once said that « Small holder agriculture is the backbone of any country ».

Nowadays, 1 billion of people suffer from chronical or permanent malnutrition. Dozens of millions litterally starve to death every year.

Is there any shortage of food resources in the world ?

No, there is a surplus of about 10-12% per capita ( we don’t even need genetically modified organisms).

Food does not reach people because people do not have money to pay for food. We live in a world where the market forces decide who will eat and live, and who will not eat and die.

Though the right to food is fully part of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

The problem lies with the « food and commodity markets » and their « increasing financialization ».

The 2008 food crisis has shown how peaks in food prices were fueled by financial speculation. It combined with bad harvests and low security inventories and deliberate political will to maintain the market prices at all costs to result in severe shortages of food in a number of developing countries, where national financial resources were missing to buy the so much needed food and crops stocks on the ‘international market’.

This triggered the hunger revolts in several countries.

The most urgent plan of action, therefore, is to withdraw food from the commodity market and to take appropriate measures to ensure a long term food security in the world.

This means a series of plans which will entail :

An Emergency Food Relief Program : the immediate task ahead is to create an emergency food relief program, get the food to the people who are starving to death.

Nowadays, the UN organisations and many NGOs intervene in regions where food crisis is accute (in case of civil wars for example). There are huge amounts of food which are stored in wharehouses of the world. There should be a program extended to all nations in need to release food stocks and have them transported and dispatched to nations and regions, villages….

This plan should go on for a couple of years, as much time as is necessary.

Meanwhile, nations should negotiate a joint food security plan : create global security stocks of basic food such as rice, wheat and others, which would create a permanent facility into which nations in need would tap in, in case that climate and natural disasters and any other significant occurrences would result in the disruption in the national food supply chain.

A global plan to re-develop national small holder farms and biological and organic agriculture.

In addition, the severe ‘conditionalities’ imposed by the IMF and within the Structural Adjustment Programs, have opened up fragile agricultural sectors in the South to the competition of huge, powerful and well organised private agro-industrial corporations of the North. This has devastated entire rural areas in the developing world, wiped away millions of small farmers who have migrated to big cities of those countries, thus adding to the millions already crammed in the slums of these big cities where there is no job available for these destitute people.

Self sufficiency should become a priority target in international commitments. As nations once committed to dedicate 0,7% of their GDP to development aid, and though few there are indeed who actually do so, this money could be devoted to the redevelopment of national agricultural capacities. This goes along with national programs of land redistribution and other measures. This is why this must be accompanied by a Commitment Agreement negotiated between the recipient country and the United Nations acting as a « proxy » for the donor nations.

Accountability and transparency will be key for the success of such arrangement.

The food and commodity market : today prices are fixed by the ‘market’, that is by a bulk of private actors, among which big financial institutions now play a key role.

The future belongs to a system of prices negotiated and fixed directly by the stakeholder nations of the United Nations, without any intervention at all of the food and commodity market, for all staple food which are basic to sustain life.