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Authors

Saulo Araújo

Abstract

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.

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