feed the world?

digon o fwyd

…..everyone followed Nicaragua’s example?

The IF Campaign is preparing for the G8 Summit during the summer. Make Poverty History, during the G8 jamboree in 2005, is still fresh in the memory. Not everyone was happy with that campaign, or the results.

Again some have broken ranks, and refused to take part in the new IF coalition. Most prominent is War on Want. Here are their reasons (see here) for taking a step back from the present campaign. They have produced an excellent report on food sovereignty (see here) which underlines the reasons for lack of food for the poorest (because, of course, there is already enough food to feed everyone).

In the meeting in Bangor, David McKnight and Ben Gregory spoke about what Nicaragua has done to ensure enough food for everyone. Here’s an example from the meeting:

In food sovereignty, Nicaragua is not only a regional leader but a world leader. Again, last month, the country received praise. Nicaragua is the first country in Latin America to achieve Objective 1 of the Millenium Goals, to halve hunger.

UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) representative in Nicaragua, Fernando Soto said, “Nicaragua has fulfilled, before the deadline, Objective Number 1 of the Millennium Objectives which is to reduce by half the proportion of the population suffering from hunger.”

The FAO will recognize the efforts the Sandinista government which has reduced hunger from 55% in 1990 to 20% today at its world conference in June.

Soto said, “In Latin America and the Caribbean, Nicaragua is the country that in terms of proportion has reduced malnutrition and hunger the most.” He added that Nicaragua is on a positive trajectory to eradicate hunger. He said that is especially impressive considering that Nicaragua is one of the poorest countries in Latin America.”

It has done this through the various social programmes, through developing exports to Venezuela through the ALBA, but also through seeking to re-start the rural economy after it was left to rot by successive neo-liberal governments. Though it has worked with large producers, its main focus has been on small producers, particularly co-operatives, and what they call the ‘associative economy.’ The number of co-ops have increased from 1,700 to 4,500 in the past five years.

They have a vision of creating a rural economy based on co-operation, with the traditional co-operatives that take part in the fair trade system, but also in the producers in ALBA, with the women who take part in Zero Hunger, wth the programme for basic grains. They have also been giving advice to Venezuela and Cuba about setting up second level co-operatives, which in Nicaragua’s coffee and sesame sectors have increased the quality of the product, and negotiated with international organisations like the FairTrade movement.


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