More than 65 United States-based growers and food and trade justice advocates have delivered a letter to the Biden administration urging the U.S. government to fundamentally reorient its approach to global policy development on food and agriculture issues.
The letter addressed an urgently needed reform to agriculture and grow policy which must prioritize the rights and livelihoods of workers, food producers, and frontline communities; ensure food security through food sovereignty in the U.S. and abroad; mitigate climate change and restore biodiversity; and address corporate power throughout global food systems. A reoriented approach would better align with the administration’s commitments to human and worker rights, racial and gender justice, trade reform, and addressing climate change.
The letter encourages a new direction for U.S. government engagement with the CFS and the three Rome-based food and agriculture agencies. These U.N. agencies and policy fora are critical spaces for technical, logistical, and financial support to small-scale food producers worldwide, as well as political dialogue for inclusive policy development. Yet, in these spaces, the U.S. government has continued to promote a policy agenda that supports the narrow interests of corporate agribusiness, and recently, the U.S. delegation to the U.N food and agriculture agencies has been defiant and obstructionist of CFS policy processes.
“The U.S. food and agriculture sector has long had an excessive focus on productivity, and provision of cheap food at the cost of ecological health, human health, and rural community resilience. And yet, this is considered a successful model and systematically promoted across the world through multilateral and bilateral processes. Secretary Vilsack has yet again suggested this as the path forward, ignoring the fact that the Covid-19 pandemic has revealed the fragility of the vertically integrated food and agricultural sector in the U.S. There must be a deep examination and reform of the U.S. food and agricultural sector and its approach to policy development and multilateralism,” says Shiney Varghese, senior policy analyst at the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy.
The letter identifies five key steps the U.S. government must take to reorient food and agriculture policy. Priority reform areas include human rights; racial justice; trade; addressing the climate, biodiversity, food and water crisis through agroecology; and strengthening participatory, multilateral policymaking.
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Institute for Agriculture & Trade Policy