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As FAO and alternative summits held in Rome world leaders attempt to deflect attention from causes of hunger

Democracy Now!

Activists, Farmers Hold Parallel Food Summit in Rome

In Italy, a coalition of activists and small farmers have launched a parallel summit to a meeting of world leaders on the global food crisis. The five-day alternative is called “Rethinking the Food System.” Paul Nicholson of Via Campesina said the food crisis cannot be addressed without evaluating neoliberal policies.

Paul Nicholson: “We are stating that this model of free trade has caused hunger and has caused poverty in the rural world and now also in the cities. The food crisis, the spiraling crisis of food, is a consequence of leaving all food in the hands of the transnationalists.”

The forum will continue over the next five days.


Smith told reporters it was not right for Mugabe to be at the summit.

"Frankly, I regard that as obscene," he said. "This is the person who has presided over the starvation of his people. This is the person who has used food aid in a politically motivated way.


Rahmanian, who is on the forum's steering committee, told AFP earlier: "It's obscene that the food crisis is being used to push stronger on policies" promoting large-scale agriculture, biofuels and the use of genetically modified organisms and pesticides.
Meanwhile Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, in Rome for the FAO summit, on Sunday rejected claims that biofuels made from sugar cane are contributing to the global food crisis.

Some relevant links:

Cenesta (Iran)

Via Campesina
Jean Ziegler (on biofuel)