12 Jun 2012

Debating the food security question

Panellists emphasized the difficult issue of rich countries’ export subsidies on agricultural goods. The discussion followed a special screening of the film “Hunger in a World of Plenty”, which examines the factors and instruments which influence world food security. A video podcast is now available (in German).

What is the connection between the development of the world’s poorest nations and volatile food prices? How can the Swiss, acting both as citizen and as consumer, help in this respect? What other remedies should political actors offer?

The film “Hunger in a World of Plenty” sparked a debate among the participants of the event, organized in Berne on 9 May by the World Trade Institute and NCCR Trade Regulation. The representatives of these institutions, Christian Häberli and Elisabeth Bürgi Bonanomi classified the export subsidies of the developed countries as impediments to the further growth of a competitive agriculture sector in the South. Markus Giger, Centre for Development and Environment, explained that such distorted market mechanisms only keep the dependencies in place, which prevents the necessary economic development of the South. The inhabitants of the developing countries need to be able to leave poverty behind and gain access to a sustainable income. Markus Bürli, Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, considers the empowerment of small farmers in these countries crucial. They often lack even rudimentary knowledge on how to improve their production capacities.

Knowledgeable and succinct, the experts offered basic knowledge of processes which run counter to the ideal situation in which every human being could be adequately fed.

Follow the debate on a 12–minute podcast or download the full discussion (in German)!