The recent food crisis exacerbated the frailty of the world's food
system. Nations were unable to respond to their internal market demands
as national reserves were exhausted. A reduction in the grain supply
forced a sharp increase in the food prices that prevented families from
buying basic provisions. The rising food prices did not result in profit to
farmers, but instead to a few companies that are currently in command of
key areas of our food system, such as distribution, processing, and trade.
In fact, the food crisis came as result of three decades of redefinition of
our food systems that favored market speculation by these powerful
players, instead of development. In Latin America, structural adjustments
for "fiscal responsibility and government efficiency" played a key role in
dismantling sovereign nations' control over food and resources. Dictated as
policy recommendations and/or mandates by international banks and
donors, these policies forced nations to change their constitutions to favor
privatizing natural resources and deregulating food markets. Through
deregulation, structural adjustment policies promoted profound changes
not only in the regional food economy, but also in the governance of food
itself, as they allowed large agribusinesses and fishing operations to
control the production, processing, and distribution of food staples. And,
most importantly, these policies generated an imbalance between
producers by dismantling programs that benefitted small-scale farmers.
"The Promise and Challenges of Food Sovereignty Policies in Latin America,"
Yale Human Rights and Development Journal:
2, Article 6.
Available at: http://digitalcommons.law.yale.edu/yhrdlj/vol13/iss2/6