Global food crisis and the effects of neoliberal trade policies on third world food production

A reflection of the discussion held at the WIDE annual conference from Central American perspective, by Jelena S
antalainen from FinnWID


According to resent FAO estimates, the number of undernourished people in the world has risen to more than a billion. While people in the north are increasingly going obese, population in the Southern hemisphere is struggling to feed themselves as well as their families. Due to neoliberal strategies and transnational food empires invasions, it is getting increasingly difficult for the third world countries to compete in the current global food market. As stated in Swiss sociologist Tina Goethe’s presentation at the WIDE annual conference, many of the former exporters now import. Those very same people that produce food are now among the hungriest ones. The new food importers are often poor countries than have been hit by free trade agreements that were supposed to open them new markets. This is also the case in Nicaragua where food sovereignty has been seriously undermined by the Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA). Despite of great promises and expectations, the agreement has not enabled Nicaragua to access the large US market. This is largely due to lack of resources needed to improve the infrastructure in order to increase country’s competitiveness. As an example, only 10% of roads in Nicaragua are currently paved and the electricity supply suffering from frequent shortages only covers 50% of the country. The already wealthy transnational corporations have been ones benefitting from CAFTA furthering Nicaragua’s dependency on the United States.

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