Statement of the ILPS on October 16 World Hunger Day
In commemoration of World Hunger Day, the International League of Peoples’ Struggle stands in solidarity with the world’s peasantry, Indigenous communities, fisherfolk, agricultural workers, and land rights movements in their fight for food, land, and justice.
October 16 ‘World Food Day’ marks the founding of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) in 1945. It is celebrated annually to supposedly promote ‘awareness of hunger and action for the future of food, people, and the planet’. This 2023, the FAO has launched its theme “Water is life, water is food. Leave no one behind”.
“Leave no one behind” is a bogus promise aimed at desperately concealing the brutal adversities brought by neoliberal policies that continuously bring about the most severe food crisis since World War II. These policies have driven domestic agricultural sectors of poor countries in the global South to further impoverishment, leaving vulnerable populations without adequate support. Countries that are already food-insecure and suffering from hunger for the longest time have continued to bear the brunt of this acute global food crisis. In various communities in Asia, Africa, West Asia, North Africa, and Latin America, control over their own food systems has been eroded by the combined net profit of the top four grain TNCs (US and EU) which has soared to USD 14 billion in the last two years.
Imperialism starves the world’s food producers
Represented by the UN leadership in the global governance of food, US imperialism has tightly controlled the food supply and generated the current worldwide food crisis.
In this neoliberal era, the primary sector that has been mainly ignored by policy makers, especially in the developing world, is agriculture. The capitalist world economy is facing major challenges today, with the current food crisis that is rooted in neoliberal policies in agriculture, severely starving the marginalized and vulnerable peasant and Indigenous Peoples’ communities who are also the backbone of food production.
The number of people unable to afford quality and accessible food around the world rose by 112 million to almost 3.1 billion. The ongoing war in Ukraine is disrupting supply chains and further affecting prices of grain, fertilizer, and energy; and in the first half of 2022, this resulted in further increase of food prices.
While there is an evident intensification of the major drivers of food insecurity such as conflict, famine, and economic shocks – it is not just all about that. The growing inequality persists because there is a longtime neglect by States to prioritize support for the peasants and rural working peoples. For the longest time, these sectors have been steeped in hunger and poverty, have been targets of feudal land-grabbing and land conversions, of forced displacement from their communities which make them even more vulnerable to health, climate, and disaster-related catastrophes.
Governments around the world are imposing food-export restrictions, driving food prices up, killing local food production, and squeezing food supplies. The advent of neoliberal policies over the last four decades have abandoned the basic forms of welfare measures in low-income countries such as providing accessible food, primary care facilities, clean and safe water supply, among others. Over the last two decades, the total budgetary support to the agricultural sector as a share of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in the emerging economies declined from 1.25% to 0.81 %.2 So-called “investments” in food and agriculture in the last 50 years have only benefited capitalist countries like the US, EU, China, and Japan, their TNCs, and local elites of the Global South.
The corporate food agenda, proactively shaped by US imperialism, continues to capture natural resources and human potential in the name of greater profit and power. The chronic food crisis today is a systemic problem borne out of the capitalist countries’ push for corporate-driven policies that have permitted large corporations and foreign investors to dominate local food-producing industries.
The current global food system is not catered to address the roots of hunger and poverty. At the expense of the toiling peasants, it is driven to serve the imperialists’ agenda. The US, for the longest time has painted itself as an impetus of global food security, sustainability, and peace, when in reality it has masterminded illegal occupation of territories, plunder of ancestral lands, and wars of aggression which have killed and starved millions.
Reject corporate control of food systems, resist imperialism
World Hunger Day is a protest and a declaration of the global peoples’ unity to highlight the root causes of persistent and worsening hunger, especially in the global South.
The US imperialist agenda of clinching corporate control over land and other natural resources has continued to threaten peoples’ rights including the right to food. Our local farmers, fisherfolk, Indigenous Peoples, women, workers – and all those who produce most of the world’s food needs – are the ones left behind.
The fight for control of the food systems is a fight against imperialism.The International League of Peoples’ Struggle is one with the fight in pushing for the radical transformation of food systems towards a just, equitable, healthy, and sustainable future.#
16 October 2023