Food prices and shortages are rising around the world and this trend is expected to continue. A broken and defective food system that is wasteful and out of reach for many, will be further stressed by the impact of climate change and rising population. How can we deal with this crisis? As an earlier post pointed out, the world can choose between consensus or conflict to resolve this issue.
It would seem that some countries have already made their choice: China and Saudi Arabia among others are investing in farmland in Africa and now Brazil in order to secure food security for their citizens. This will only serve to enhance conflict. Starving people cannot be expected to respect borders, wherever there is plenty , conflict will follow. It would be in the interest of all to approach this in a way that is thoughtful and just. This problem can be interpreted as an opportunity to fix the broken food system at home and also at the global level. The 2012 farm Bill needs to ensure that citizens at home are not deprived of access to food produces in their own country by others who seek to bypass the market system here. Lester Brown’s article explains how South Korean buyers are establishing direct contacts with farmers and buying up grain before it even reaches the market. Globally, countries and their governments must come together to respond to this challenge in a timely and effective way. The political will to make big changes and go in a different direction is always. We can support positive measures by keeping ourselves informed, making our voice heard by approaching our representatives and making good choices in our daily lives.