Dear Mr Carmichael,
You will be aware that on Saturday June 8th David Cameron hosted a hunger summit in London. Most press coverage of this event portrayed him as a champion for the global poor as he pledged £375 million of the UK aid budget to the G8’s “New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition”. However, we believe there is another side to this story and the clue lies in the venue for the summit - not Downing Street or the Department for International Development but the London offices of agribusiness giant , Unilever.
The “New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition” is a public-private partnership promising to “accelerate responsible investment in African agriculture and lift 50 million people out of poverty by 2022”. There is plenty in it to benefit Unilever and the other multinationals including Monsanto, Cargill and Syngenta who have all signed up, but it’s extremely unlikely to translate into poverty reduction.
The World Development Movement believes that the alliance will sow the seeds for a large agribusiness expansion in the African continent and that participating countries are being forced to sign up to agreements that facilitate land grabs and pave the way for the spread of GM seeds, further impoverishing African farmers.
Almost 200 African farming and campaign groups have rejected the G8’s “New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition” calling it a “new wave of colonialism” in a statement sent to G8 leaders prior to the summit. Their analysis is clear - ”Private ownership of knowledge and material resources means the flow of royalties out of Africa into the hands of multinational corporations”
Whilst the summit was taking place, local food activists and gardeners in Stroud were creating a vibrant Pop-Up garden on the High Street to oppose this corporate-led approach and to highlight the fact small-scale producers feed half of the world’s population. Similar actions were taking places in London, Edinburgh, Manchester and Bristol. Members of the public were encourage to join the Food Sovereignty movement - a campaign for sustainable and just food systems which places the people who produce, distribute and consume food at the centre for decisions rather than the demands of markets and corporations.
We are asking you to reject the aims of the New Alliance and show solidarity with small-scale producers by supporting the demands of the food sovereignty movement. You can find out more on the Food Sovereignty Now website: www.foodsovereigntynow.org.uk
Dr. Nicholas James- Stroud food Strategy Group
Phillip Booth- District Councillor
Martin Whiteside- District Councillor
Nick Weir- Director of Stroudco Food Hub