Why are the FAO and the EBRD promoting the destruction of peasant and family farming?
Friends of the Earth International and several other civil society organisations* representing millions of people, including small farm holders, are shocked and offended by an article co-signed by Jose Graziano da Silva, Director General of the UN's Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), and Suma Chakrabarti, President of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) published in the Wall Street Journal on September 6.
In the article, the heads of these two influential international agencies call on governments and NGOs to embrace the private sector as the main engine for global food production, calling clearly for a world wide increase in private sector investment and land grabbing. Referring specifically to Eastern Europe and North Africa, they say that the private sector is efficient and dynamic and call on companies to "double investment in the land itself". Meanwhile, they dismiss peasants and those few remaining policies that protect them as burdens "holding back" agricultural development that should be eliminated. To do so, they urge governments to facilitate the growth of big agribusiness.
The article was published in the context of a joint FAO and EBRD conference in Istanbul on September 13th, which they describe as the largest and most important gathering of companies and decision- makers in agribusiness.
Read our full statement here (pdf)
* LVC – La Via Campesina
ETC – group
MMM - World March of Women
CLOC - Latin American Coordination of Countryside Organizations
FoEI- Friends of the Earth InternationalLatin American Articulation of Movements Toward ALBA