Human right to adequate food not guaranteed

The liberalization of trade and agricultural policy in many cases violates the human right to adequate food enshrined in international law. This is the conclusion of a study on the impact of rice market liberalization on small farmers in three countries. In association with partners in the Global Ecumenical Action Alliance and FIAN, "Brot fur die Welt" presented this study on the occasion of World Food Day in Berlin.

More than half of the 854 million undernourished people worldwide are smallholders, the study said. "This is a scandal," stressed Kottnik, who opened the "Worldwide Table Fellowship" campaign of "Bread for the World" in Berlin. The signature campaign aims to urge the federal government to work to strengthen rural development and protect smallholder farmers. Kottnik appealed to German consumers to buy more fair trade products.

Small farmers are not up to modern economic principles

According to the study, cheap imports and price dumping lead to decreasing incomes and increasing hunger. The income of local producers would be driven down to such an extent that they would no longer be able to provide for themselves. "It is paradoxical that those who produce the staple foods are the most affected by malnutrition," Hirsch said.The sales markets have "collapsed" for small farmers in their own country, explains Carolin Callenius of "Brot fur die Welt" in an interview on this site. "They are now among the poorest of the poor."Support from the side of development aid has been "cut back". "Everything is ultimately pushing for global market integration," observes Callenius. The result for the many small farmers worldwide, he said, is poor soil, few plots of land and barely accessible resources.According to another study by the Church Development Service (EED) and Oxfam, the growing influence of large supermarket chains worldwide also threatens the livelihoods of small farmers: "Only those who can continuously supply large quantities of goods at low prices are in business," explained Rudolf Buntzel of the EED. The majority of the world's 388 million small farmers are no match for this system, he said.

Putting human rights first

The chairman of the Bundestag Committee on Economic Cooperation and Development, Thilo Hoppe (Greens), called for a change in strategy "from an economic perspective to a human rights one". Developing countries must be given more leeway under agricultural trade agreements, he said. He also called on developing country governments to conduct comprehensive assessments of the food situation and develop national strategic plans to combat hunger.

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