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The UK Food Campaign 2013

At least 65 NGOs are now signed up to the ‘Enough food IF’ campaign campaign that will be launched on 23rd January. The campaign aims to ensure everyone has a fair share of all the goods in the world, inform people about poverty and help them understand its real causes.

Some food facts

  • Around 70% of world’s food is consumed by the 23% in the rich world, leaving only 30% for the 77% who live in the poor world.
  • 1 in 8 people (870 million) don’t ever have enough food.
  • In developing countries people spend up to 70% of income on food compared to 10-20% in UK.
  • Between 1983 and 2006 agricultural aid to poor world reduced by 77% – now improved slightly but to not to previous level.
  • Agricultural subsidies in the rich world distort the food market and destroy local agriculture.
  • Small scale farmers grow 80% Africa’s food but account for half of world’s hungry people unable to grow/buy enough to satisfy their needs.
  • Over 1 million Africans earn their living by growing food for UK.
  • In the UK 76% of groceries are sold by 4 major supermarkets.
  • Fewer than 100 companies control 70% of world food supply.
  • Across the world 1/3 of food is wasted, mainly through storage problems.  In UK we throw away 3.6 million tons of food a year – because cheap food is unvalued. In the industrialised countries we waste more food than is produced in the whole of sub-Saharan Africa.
  • Climate change will affect poor world food production more than the rich world, as more marginal land is used in poor world.

Some food myths

We have myths about food to avoid facing up to our greed and selfishness.

  • Disasters like War or droughts are the reason for people being hungry; but over 90% of hungry people cannot obtain enough ever.
  • We don’t have enough food so we need to increase production, often used as justification for GM food. The truth is there is enough food for everyone but it is not shared fairly.
  • Global hunger has always existed and there is nothing we can do about it. Not true, and the number of hungry is growing; but some countries eg Bangladesh and Brazil have been successful and shown that progress can be made.

A coordinated campaign

So in 2013 there will be a coordinated campaign including most of UK’s NGOs, not on starvation, but on how the world food market is distorted by governments and big business. It will focus on: –

  • Investment – keeping pressure on government to maintain the promised 0.7% GDP for aid by 2014.
  • Land usage – small farmers being pushed off their land by big agricultural businesses and land being used for fuel crops instead of food.
  • Tax – if big companies stopped dodging their taxes in poor countries there would be more money to keep people from being hungry.
  • Transparency – highlighting the lobbying by big corporations that influences government food policy.

Can the campaign work?

Public pressure can achieve results – if we all work at it during 2013. As result of last year’s Water Campaign our Government doubled allocation of aid to get clean water and sanitation to 60 million people over the next three years.

Activity and events

Sutton for Peace and Justice will be supporting the campaign and joining with other groups and individuals in activities and events based around the following dates:

  • 20 March Budget – Constituency Lobbies across UK.
  • 17-18 June – G8 meeting in N. Ireland near Enniskillen
  • Around the same time as the G8 – Hunger Summit chaired by D Cameron
  • Demonstration in London likely to be 15 June
  • Sept/Oct – activity around the UN Assembly in September discussing the Millennium Goals – one of which was to halve hunger by 2015.

To be kept informed, sign up for email notifications (on the left) or email sutton4peace@yahoo.co.uk to be put on our mailing list.

By Mike McLoughlin for Sutton for Peace and Justice

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