Address the root causes of famine and war!

October 18, 2017

The People’s Coalition on Food Sovereignty (PCFS) unites with the farmers, farm workers, fisherfolks and peoples of the world in marking World Food Day 2017 with protests and various forms of collective action.

PCFS, an alliance of grassroots organizations of farmers, farm workers, fisherfolks and small-scale food producers and their support NGOs, is deeply concerned with the increase in global hunger in 2016 as reported by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. It is alarmed by the worsening famine in sub-Saharan Africa, South-Eastern Asia, and Western Asia as a result of wars and the combination of wars and natural disasters. It is also calling attention to poverty, hunger and conflict in many countries in the world.

We unite with all sectors of global civil society who are calling for addressing the social and economic structural root causes of famine and wars. We support humanitarian assistance for countries facing famine and wars, as well as calls to reduce military assistance, which has grown bigger than humanitarian assistance to these countries. More importantly, we assert the importance of measures that will bring about long-term development and lasting peace and end famine and wars, poverty, hunger and conflict.

What we see in countries facing famine and war, poverty, hunger and conflict are socio-economic structures and state policies that marginalize local food systems, farmers, fisherfolks and small-scale food producers that concentrate wealth and power in the hands of corporate and landed elites. We see foreign and elite control over land, food and agricultural systems, and the entire economy. The global humanitarian infrastructure is sorely limited and incapable of resolving these problems, especially because assistance is politicized and always not enough to cover the needs of farmers, fisherfolks and peoples affected.

The solution lies in achieving food sovereignty and land reform. We need food sovereignty – people’s control over their agriculture and food systems, not the control of big capitalists, landlords, the latter’s instrumentalities and governments subservient to them. We need genuine land reform – land to the tillers, with the full support of the government, directed at food sovereignty and meeting the needs of farmers, fisherfolks and peoples. We stand for enhancing local food systems, promoting transformative approaches to agriculture, strengthening local organizations and supporting country-owned plans.

The solution lies in the movements of farmers, farm workers, fisherfolks and peoples of the world, and in various sectors of society supportive of them. The voices, rights and needs of communities living in areas most affected – including indigenous communities, pastoralists, small-scale food producers, landless, women, children, orphans, and peoples with disabilities as well as refugees, internally displaced peoples – must be at the forefront. We are calling on them to continue to resist actions, policies and schemes that attack food sovereignty and genuine land reform. We are calling on them to continue to expand and strengthen their ranks, and advance the struggle for genuine socio-economic changes.

Amidst intensifying disasters brought about by environmental destruction, global warming and climate change, the need to build alternative socio-economic systems that will end famine and war, and poverty, hunger and conflict and at the same time are caring to the environment and are resilient to disasters becomes ever more pressing.###