An international movement of grassroots groups of small food producers and food sovereignty advocates urged the Group of 20 (G20) major economies to implement “radical” food policy reforms in its joint G20 Action Plan in Response to COVID-19.
According to the People’s Coalition on Food Sovereignty (PCFS), an action plan that ensures people’s right to food will prevent the eruption of a hunger crisis from the current global health crisis. G20’s action plan is being discussed in its 2nd Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors virtual meeting today, April 15, 2020. The meeting aims to roll out a roadmap.
The Coalition issued the following recommendations:
- Guarantee the right to food amid lockdown;
- Prioritize local food production;
- Recognize and extend support to farmers as essential workers;
- Set up and support local people’s markets;
- Strengthen strategic national food reserves;
- Review and revise national land use policies to reflect the increased need for domestic food production;
- Depoliticize and decouple food aid, lift sanctions, and cease all military aggressions; and
- Increase transparency and accountability.
“These demands represent the aspirations of rural food producers to feed the world and pave the way for a just, equitable, and sustainable food system that guarantees the peoples’ right to food,” said the PCFS.
PCFS raised its concern over the vulnerable state of rural food producers especially in the Global South, who are essential workers in food production. “They are disproportionately at risk of contracting the disease without adequate support and social safety nets,” the Coalition said. “Failure to address this may lead to the skyrocket of rural hunger and extreme poverty.”
The Coalition also warned the G20 of its ‘usual’ cooperation with international financial institutions including the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank Group (WBG). “It’s clear that the policies espoused by these institutions were instrumental in the financialization of food and agriculture that resulted in massive landgrabs and extreme rural poverty.”
“Food security amid the global pandemic is a ticking time bomb if not addressed with a strong resolve to uphold the right to food and peoples’ welfare,” PCFS concluded.
The G20’s members are Australia, Canada, Saudi Arabia, the United States, India, Russia, South Africa, Turkey, Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, France, Germany, Italy, Britain, the European Union, China, Indonesia, Japan and South Korea. ###
References: Sylvia Mallari and Razan Zuayter, firstname.lastname@example.org
(Photo by Gary Ramage)