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Assert People’s Food Sovereignty, End Imperialist Destruction Of Local Food Systems

Friday, 14 October 2022, 5:34 am
Press Release: PAN Asia Pacific

Imperialist plunder and destruction of local food systems
through war and occupation, land and resource grabbing, and
profiteering drive the global food crisis and must be
countered with people’s movements for land reform and food

Representatives of peasant and indigenous
peoples movements and civil society delivered this message
in the online forum “Breaking the Imperialist Food Chains”
last October 10. Organized by the People’s Coalition on Food
Sovereignty (PCFS), PAN Asia Pacific (PANAP), and Indigenous
People’s Movement for Self-Determination and Liberation
(IPMSDL), the forum aimed to build up momentum for actions
across the globe on October 16, World Hunger

“Global food prices have been rising over the
past 20 years. We see the same drivers of the 2008 and 2011
food crises, such as fuel price spikes, financial
speculations, and imperialist wars. But the essential fact
remains that our vulnerability is tied to our enslavement by
the global market system and the destruction of our local
food systems by colonial and neo-colonial forces, including
pressures by powerful actors to marginalize our agricultural
sectors,” said Razan Zuayter, PCFS global co-chair. “We must
protect and enhance local food systems and communities’
rights to own and manage resources such as land, water, and
seeds. We must cultivate food staples such as wheat, which
should be prioritized over crops intended for exports,” she

The US, the world’s largest imperialist power,
continues to assert its prominent role in shaping the global
food agenda. Pushing the narrative that the Russian
government is “squarely
and solely”
responsible for the food crisis due to its
so-called invasion of Ukraine, it gathered heads of state
for a Global
Food Security Summit
to peddle its Roadmap
for Global Food Security
on the sidelines of the UN
General Assembly in September. The US is painting itself as
a catalyst of global food security and peace when it is the
world’s leading warmonger, backing the illegal occupation of
territories and launching wars of aggression that are
starving millions.

“The global response and policy
recommendations to the food crisis led by the US government
is consistent with the outcome of the UN Food Systems
Summit—that is, the promotion and financing of neoliberal
reforms and corporate-driven technologies that only secure
profits at the expense of the people of the Global South,
with countries pushed to rely more on foreign debt for
survival,” said Wali Hader of the Asian Peasant Coalition
(APC). Movements and civil society mobilized against the UN
food summit last year, exposing it as perpetuating the
imperialist agenda in the global food

Meanwhile, the composition of the world’s
agrochemical and seed giants reflects the quest for power
and superprofits in the agri-food sector by the leading
imperialist rivals, according to Ilang-Ilang Quijano of
PANAP. The Big Four—Syngenta (acquired by China’s
ChemChina & SinoChem), Germany’s Bayer and BASF, and
US-based Corteva—controls 62 percent of the global
pesticide market, while only six companies, including the
Big Four, control 58 percent of the global seed market, according
to the latest figures

Quijano also cited a white
released by the Food and Agriculture Organization
(FAO) with the World Economic Forum (WEF) on “innovation”
pathways for transforming food systems. “If you look at the
WEF’s innovations, what you find are corporate techno-fixes
with potential harms to human health and the environment,
such as lab-grown meat, gene-edited crops, and so-called
biological crop protection products that use risky novel RNA
and nanotechnologies. They are utilizing Big Data and
digital technology to further consolidate control over land,
enhance dependence on chemical inputs and proprietary seeds
through ‘precision agriculture,’ and dominate global markets
and ease out small farmers,” she said.

Jiten Yumnam of
IPMSDL highlighted how imperialist food policies impact
indigenous food systems. “The new land use policy pursued
aggressively by the World Bank and other financial
institutions delegitimizes the traditional agricultural
practices of indigenous peoples and promotes market-based
export-oriented crops. This program further undermines the
culture, identity, and self-determination of Indigenous
Peoples with the massive acquisition of land as target areas
of development aggression in the name of false climate

Reactors from rural women, youth, and
other food sovereignty advocates reaffirmed the need for
food production decided by the sovereign will of the people
based on their particular circumstances, priorities, and

“Today, globalization and neoliberalism,
imperialism, as it is better known, extends its claws across
the globe. It is the biggest problem of the world’s peoples,
the whole of humanity, and the entire planet. There is a
need to reclaim our voices. We need to reclaim our role, the
rural peoples, in transforming the food systems and making
them just, equitable, healthy, and sustainable. There is a
need for one system that is rid of corporate interests,
which puts the interests of our rights and our Commons
before profit,” said Sylvia Mallari, PCFS global co-chair,
in her closing

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