Food system broken, Oxfam warns

By Mario Balzan - 31 May 2011 11:19:0 GMT
Food system broken, Oxfam warns

''The food system is pretty well bust in the world'', says Oxfam Chief Executive Barbara Stocking. A broken food system, together with environmental crises, are creating millions more hungry people. At the start of 2011, there were 925 million hungry people worldwide, but this number could peak to one billion by the end of this year.

On June 1, Oxfam is launching the new global campaign GROW to tackle some of the big problems at the heart of our food system. This campaign is accompanied by a report, entitled ''Growing a Better Future: Food justice in a resource-constrained world'', which will be published on the same date.

This publication catalogues the symptoms of a broken system and identifies measures necessary for a better future, based on more effective management of agriculture, ecological actions and food crises.

The food system is currently being placed by intense pressure from climate change, ecological degradation, population growth, rising energy prices, and rising demand for meat and dairy products, competition for land from biofuels, industry and urbanisation. These pressures are responsible for surging and unstable food prices. The report predicts that the average price of staple foods will more than double in the next 20 years.

Oxfam warns that we currently face an unprecedented challenge in guaranteeing human development whilst ensuring food for all. With a current food system constructed by and on-behalf of a tiny minority and characterised by the inability of governments to regulate and to invest, the way forward to avert food crises is cooperation, sharing of resources, building of resilience, and tacking climate change, rather than competition.

The economic crisis means that we have moved decisively beyond the era of the G8, when a few rich country governments tried to craft global solutions by and for themselves. The governments of poorer nations must also have a seat at the table, for they are on the front lines of climate change, where many of the battles - over land, water, and food - are being fought, said the report.