Oxfam: CFS needs to ‘fix the broken global food system’

The Committee on World Food Security will have its 39th annual meet from October 15 to 20 in Rome, Italy. Photo by: Alessandra Benedetti / ©FAO

On Friday, Oxfam set out recommendations for the 39th session of the weeklong Committee on World Food Security, which kicks off today, Oct. 15, in Rome.

Coming on the heels of last week’s release of the State of the Food Insecurity in the World — which pegged the global undernourished population at 870 million — Oxfam proposed the following actions to create a more equitable, sustainable and resilient food system.

  • Address climate change properly and highlight the government’s role in hunger reduction through relevant policies; local, national, and regional food system and reserves; and public finance.

  • Promote agroecological farming practices that are highly sustainable, can reduce the use of fertilizers and have proved to increase resilience and production of small-scale food producers.

  • Respond to the root causes of poverty and adopt a “human rights approach” in designing social protection programs.

  • Improve accountability across all levels and adopt the Global Strategic Framework the CFS drafted early this year. The framework contains a clear set of policies and actions suggested and deliberated by CFS members to eradicate world hunger.

In a press release, Oxfam spokesman Luca Chinotti said, “Poor people cannot afford for governments to squander another chance to fix the broken food system.”

While a global food crisis has been “narrowly averted” in 2012, the United Nations has warned of a possible major hunger crisis next year. Reports have shown world grain reserves are at their lowest since 1974.

“We’ve not been producing as much as we are consuming. Stocks are now very tight across the world and reserves are at a very low level, leaving no room for unexpected events next year,” Abdolreza Abbassian, a senior economist with the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization said in an article.

Lester Brown, an environmental analyst and president of the Earth Policy Institute in Washington, describes the situation as a period where “Food is the new oil and land is the new gold.”

Brown also said, “An unprecedented period of world food security has come to an end. The world has lost its safety cushions and is living from year to year. This is the new politics of food scarcity. We are moving into a new food era, one in which it is every country for itself.”

In addition to the CFS plenary session, this week marks the release of the first Feed the Future Progress Report which will outline the progress of the initiative from 2009 to 2012.

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About the author

  • Adrienne Valdez

    Adrienne Valdez is a former staff writer for Devex, covering breaking international development news. Before joining Devex, Adrienne worked as a news correspondent for a public-sector modernization publication.