UN blasts Mexican ag policy
Policy helps large agribusiness at expense of small farmers
The United Nations is criticizing Mexico for its food policy, six weeks after Mexican President Felipe Calderon launched an alliance to promote sustainable development. The UN is asserting that the Mexican program is harmful to small farmers and promotes genetically modified crops.
The UN alleges Mexican agricultural policy is unfairly helping large farms at the expense of the small.
His report criticized Mexico's approach because it does not target the poor for help, but instead favors large corporations. "The objectives of the agriculture policy don't look at the small producers as competitive and as a solution for the growing dependency on food imports."
An estimated 52 million Mexican citizens live in poverty in the country of 112 million. At least 25 percent of the population does not have enough to eat according to Mexican government reports. However, the government is working to address the crisis by increasing its agricultural budget.
Adding to the problem of feeding the people is a persistent drought that is destroying crops, livestock, and depressing the wages of workers. Activists are telling the government as well as Non-Government Agencies (NGOs) that small farmers need help. Current programs provide millions in assistance to large corporate farmers, but does little-to-nothing for the small farmers.
De Schutter also elaborated on a number of infrastructure projects, such as the construction of dams that are threatening to consume farmland.
Unfortunately, with elections coming this June, the Mexican government has come to a standstill, stalling efforts to provide help for the people who need it most.
The use of genetically modified crops is also a point of concern for De Schutter. He said, "We know from studies from 2001 that GM maize can fly to native maize areas and that the contamination is difficult to avoid. It might or might not lead to the gradual disappearance of native varieties. My main concern is the huge concentration of biotech companies, such as Monsanto."
De Schutter called for Mexico to open debates on whether GM crops are safe for development and growth based on sound scientific evidence.
For now, very little change appears imminent, despite De Schutters scathing report. This is bad news for small farmers and the people who Mexico who remain hungry as large agribusinesses profit and drought persists, pushing small farmers out of business and workers out of jobs.
© 2012, Catholic Online. Distributed by NEWS CONSORTIUM.
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General Intention: The Faith of Christians. That in this Year of Faith Christians may deepen their knowledge of the mystery of Christ and witness joyfully to the gift of faith in him.
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Keywords: Mexico, agribusiness, food, De Schutter
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