A new vision for agriculture
momagri, movement for a world agricultural organization, is a think tank chaired by Christian Pèes.
It brings together, managers from the agricultural world and important people from external perspectives,
such as health, development, strategy and defense. Its objective is to promote regulation
of agricultural markets by creating new evaluation tools, such as economic models and indicators,
and by drawing up proposals for an agricultural and international food policy.
A look at the news

“Trade is not a panacea to solve world hunger”

15 December 2008



At a December 17, 2008 press conference held in Geneva, Oliver De Schutter, Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food, presented conclusions of a report to the World Trade Organization (WTO). The document, which will be officially presented at the March 2009 session of the Human Rights Council of the United Nations in Geneva, examines the impact of trade liberalization on world hunger on one hand, and on national policies on the other.

Whereas the WTO estimates that that the negative consequences of liberalization––in particular for small farmers and the needy––will be offset by an export surge, Olivier De Schutter points out that such an approach in terms of gains and losses is flawed. In fact, Professor De Schutter states that the liberalization of agricultural markets:

> will generate “hidden costs”, in particular in the societal, environmental and healthcare fields;
> will contribute to lengthen distribution channels, leading to the enrichment of an even larger number of middlemen to the detriment of consumers still paying high prices and of producers receiving increasingly low prices;
> will subject States to hyper-volatility of agricultural commodities while raising their food dependency due to strategies of farming specializations benefiting from competitive gains.

Consequently, Olivier De Schutter encourages States not to accept any agreement under the WTO negotiations that would not acknowledge the “specificity” of agricultural products in relation to other goods, as well as the right of people to feed themselves.

Prepared at a time when national governments multiply statements outlining their will to conclude the Doha Round 1, the report sets the cat among the pigeons. Let us hope that this document will enable States to think twice before committing to an irreversible course with unclear consequences for food security worldwide.

1 Please visit www.momagri.org for our December 1, 2008 article “Wrapping up the Doha Round Will not Solve the Current Crisis

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Paris, 24 April 2019