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13 December 2011 | | |

FAO and the challenges ahead

Horacio Martins (MST) talks about incoming FAO’s director, Graziano Da Silva

Download: MP3 (2.2 Mb)

A few weeks before taking office as Director General of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), Graziano Da Silva criticized the stance of the movements that advocate for peasant agriculture as an environmentally and socially sustainable alternative to agribusiness.

In interview with Real World Radio Horacio Martins Carvalho, a member of La Via Campesina Brazil, challenges Da Silva’s claims.

In an interview with the Inter Press Service (IPS), Da Silva, who will take office as FAO’s Director-General next January 1st, described the attitude of the global peasant movement La Via Campesina as “paralyzing”.

“Unfortunately, some social movements have a point of view that is negative to themselves, and to a certain degree it paralyzes them to defend the idea that family farming and agribusiness are incompatible, that they are competing systems”, said Da Silva.

Based on the “Hunger Zero” Program implemented by him under Lula’s government, the future Director-General of the FAO says the hunger problem worldwide should be based on corporate agribusiness since “investing in fighting hunger is a good business with great profits”.

Martins said in response to this that Da Silva’s declarations “are consistent with the defense of the international capitalist interests. He doesn’t see the class struggle as a principle in society, but he is for the conciliation of classes where governments implement policies to support transnational capitals and poverty reduction policies, but always keeping the dominance of capital”, explained Martins Carvalho in Curitiba, Brazil.

He said food is currently a system dominated by the big corporations, since there are 500 companies that control food and agriculture globally. In spite of this, a billion people suffer hunger.

From Da Silva’s perspective, in order to help reduce poverty we will buy good from transnational corporations who have control of the global food market, said Martins.

This reproduces “the big contradiction that in order to get out of povety we need to subordinate to transnational corporations”.

In the interview with IPS, Da Silva said “a great part of family farming is now related with the agribusiness supply chain. So the idea of fighting this model has a paralyzing effect. For family farmers it would make much more sense to fight for the development of local markets where they demand fresh food that cannot be traded in the international market”.

Da Silva’s perspective will further land concentration and land grabbing, which is exactly the opposite to family, small-scale agriculture defended by peasants which, they claim, is the only alternative to create jobs and to cool down the planet.

Da Silva will be sworn in as FAO Director-General on January 1st, although his presentation in society will take place at a conference on agrarian reform and rural development in Mar del Plata, Argentina, in March.

Photo: imersaolatina.blogspot.com

(CC) 2011 Real World Radio


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