Oxfam calls for global food system reforms

Published June 2, 2011

Women, who produce most of the world’s food, must have the same rights to land, resources and opportunities as men, says Oxfam. Photo: ACT/Christoph Pueschner

Nairobi, Kenya
As Global South church leaders heighten demands on governments to lower food and fuel prices, a U.K. charity has called for urgent reforms of the global food system.

"For too long governments have put the interests of big business and powerful elites above the interests of the 7 billion who produce and consume food," said Jeremy Hobbs, Oxfam’s executive director, in a May 30 press statement. "Governments must also ensure that women, who produce much of the world’s food, have the same rights to land, resources and opportunities as men."

Decades of progress against hunger is being reversed by a broken food system and environmental crises, the charity said in its latest report, "Growing a Better Future."

The report supports African church leaders’ demands on governments to safeguard civilians against rises in fuel and food prices.

On May 24, Kenyan Roman Catholic bishops called on their government "to take charge" to lower prices.

Since February, Ugandan faith leaders have issued appeals on high prices amid civilian protests. By mid-May, more than five people had died in clashes between the police and demonstrators in "walk-to-work" protests.

"When food and fuel prices are soaring … we wonder what happened to the solution we had so much hope and faith in to make our world a better place," said Uganda’s Anglican Archbishop Henry Orombi in April.

Oxfam wants world leaders to regulate markets, increase food reserves and stop promoting bio-fuels, among other measures. But retired South African Anglican Archbishop Desmond Tutu warned in Oxfam’s press statement that many governments and companies would resist change through habit, ideology or the pursuit of profit.

Tutu supports Oxfam’s GROW campaign, which will seek to ensure there is enough for everyone to eat.


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