“…food production must once again be an issue of sustainability, taking care of the earth and the human right to food must be an inalienable right.” – Dr. Vandana Shiva
Trained as a physicist, Vandana Shiva is an organic farmer, social activist and renowned environmentalist. She warns that global hunger is a product of “intensive chemical farming” which turns biodiverse land into monocultures that are too costly for farmers to sustain and produces too little nutritional crops for local consumption.
In this 2009 interview, Dr. Shiva talks about third world countries like her native India where agricultural communities are surrounded by fertile farmland and highly favorable growing conditions yet struggle with high rates of childhood hunger. Much of the food grown by indigenous farmers are exported to richer countries.
I think the first thing to recognize about hunger, is that today, it’s a rural phenomena, it’s mainly in third world countries it’s mainly among communities that are actually agricultural communities. So why are people who are growing food going hungry themselves, they’re going hungry, because everything they have grown has to be sold in order to pay for the costly seeds and the costly chemicals.
So a high cost chemical intensive agriculture is a recipe for hunger. Secondly, the models of agriculture that chemical farming has promoted a monocultures. monocultures are nutritionally impoverished, the same acre of land. Using biodiversity using organic and ecological methods could produce five to 10 times more nutrition than a monoculture can so maximizing the production of commodities for international trade is directly proportionate to the decrease in nutrition availability to local communities which is why hunger grows.
If the world has to be fed, it has to be fed by growing food locally, to be used locally as the biggest proportion of the food basket. Some elements will be traded internationally. But what is traded internationally should not be staple foods. What is traded internationally shouldn’t be that extra flavor of spices from India, and coffee from Guatemala. That’s all right. But to turn the world into a dependency on staples, has nothing to do with feeding the world, it has a lot to do with controlling the food supply.
The United States evolved phrase during the Vietnam War and the war phrase was food as a weapon. The use of food as the ultimate weapon of control, and the tragedy is the growth of Agribusiness in the US has gone hand in hand with the US foreign policy to deliberately create hunger locally in order to make the world dependent on food supplies, through which you can then control countries and their decision making ability.
So hunger has become an instrument of war and food, responding to that artificially created hunger is an instrument for peace means you grow food locally you grow foods, the peace. You grow food non-violently, and the countries that are today was victims of hunger could be the highest produce of food.
Africa has the largest land per eight by human being, per capita Africa is an abundant continent. And yet because of the deliberate policies it has today been turned into a continent of under, India, which has the best source, the best monsoons, the highest biodiversity, – should not have any problem with growing in our food, and yet 70% of our children are going hungry, because the economic system is robbing them of their right to food.
So, food production must once again be an issue of sustainability, taking care of the earth and the human right to food must be an inalienable right. These rights cannot be ensured through a marketplace where food has become a commodity and then a subject of speculation. We saw what speculation did in 2008 food prices doubled, and the companies that control the food system, double their profits, while riots took place in 40 countries.