Urgent Evoke

A crash course in changing the world.

COMMITMENT FOUR: The Long Term Solution to Food Security


We will strive to ensure that food, agricultural trade and overall trade policies are conducive to fostering food security for all through a fair and market-oriented world trade

The Basis for Action

37. Trade is a key element in achieving world food security. Trade generates effective utilization of resources and stimulates economic growth which is critical to improving food security. Trade allows
food consumption to exceed food production, helps to reduce production and consumption
fluctuations and relieves part of the burden of stock holding. It has a major bearing on access to
food through its positive effect on economic growth, income and employment. Appropriate
domestic economic and social policies will better ensure that all, including the poor, will benefit
from economic growth. Appropriate trade policies promote the objectives of sustainable growth
and food security. It is essential that all members of the World Trade Organization (WTO) respect
and fulfil the totality of the undertakings of the Uruguay Round. For this purpose it will be necessary
to refrain from unilateral measures not in accordance with WTO obligations.

I watched a doc**entary the other day with my Dutch partner. It was about North American and European Agricultural subsides and the effect they have in Africa.

I knew what the doc**entary would be saying because I follow that sort of thing but my partner didn't. By the end of the doc**entary she was in tears. She couldn't believe that the country she held so much allegiance to could be so callous and uncaring in their trade policies. She has voted in her country and I pointed out that effectively that put blood on her hands.

I live in New Zealand. By comparison we lifted virtually all tariffs and subsides in the '80s, we are one of the least capable countries of living under an unprotected trade regime and yet we do.

This is not to say it was done without pain, nor without pressure. International pressure was brought to bear to free up our markets when our country almost went broke as a result of highly protectionist measures in the '70s. Our pain was felt across the board but most acutely in manufacturing. Car assembly died virtually overnight with the loss of many jobs. Textile manufacturing disappeared, as did a bunch of other industries we were basically no good at. What emerged was a vibrant tourism industry and a much stronger agricultural sector. We found ways to vertically integrate manufacturing into the areas we were good at to produce better added value products with higher margins. The result being we can land most of our agriculturally based products into our overseas markets at lower prices and with lower carbon footprints than they can produce locally.

It would be hard to find a country with freer trade policies than New Zealand and hence an ex-prime minister of ours being selected to head the WTO for a number of years.

I personally am proud of my country's stance in this regard, and happy to stand slightly less guilty of the poverty produced by protectionist trade policies of our democratically elected governments.

What I know is this is a somewhat controversial stance. I know every round of the WTO is met with more and more violent protest, typically from left leaning, passionate, save the world, individuals, firmly commited to their fight in this regard.

I invite you all to comment on this score in support or rejection of Commitment 4 of the

Rome Declaration
on World Food

as I think it is getting at the root of the cause rather than the other commitments which patch symptoms.

Go to town, tell me how wrong I am!!!!

Views: 19

Comment by John D. Boyden on March 19, 2010 at 6:41pm
+1 vision. all choices come with prices *nods* It is social innovation to look at what we have, what we can offer. How is New Zealand looking at What we don't have and what we can do?
Comment by Greg Stevenson on March 19, 2010 at 9:51pm
@John We don't yet have 100% renewable electricity generation. We have just commissioned an additional geothermal project with others on the way.Tide power project is in evaluation stages which is fortuitously close to our largest city and largest power consumer. I am happy about this as I really don't link wind generation systems, they are noisy and an eye sore on out lovely landscape. 20m onder the sea an out of sight has a greater appeal to me personally.


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