Official Dialogue Feedback to the United Nations 2021 Food Systems Summit
Type of Dialogue
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With the introduction of corporations into agriculture, small farmers have faced many barriers to make ends meet. Monsanto’s reported objective is ‘No Food Shall Be Grown That We Don’t Own’. Right from the seeds to the crop, agribusiness have a monopoly. They own the seed, so they own the produce. Where does the farmer fit in? How are their expenses covered and their livelihoods maintained?
Economic instability in the agricultural business has forced our youth out of farming as a way of life. What once used to be family owned farms have now become corporate enterprises often operated via machines. Pesticide and fertiliser use has contaminated the environment and unfair prices have created unending cycles of debt. Additionally the supply and demand chains are unregulated, preventing crop diversification and creating soil anaemia.
Food is a basic human right. As is access to food. Each nation has the right to produce its own food while maintaining its cultural and productive diversity. A direct democratic intervention is needed, but it must understand the issues at hand; especially those of the small farmers. It is of utmost importance that we put those who produce, distribute and consume food at the heart of food systems and policies rather than agribusinesses.
It is an oversimplification to wish agribusiness to simply ‘play nice’. More needs to be thought about. How can States play a role? What type of regulations can State Governments put into place? How can farming be made more sustainable? How can farming be made more eco-friendly? Brainstorming plausible solutions to the aforementioned issues and then pushing for their implementation will help lift the burden on small farmers in the long run and ensure their survival.