Pulse Media


In Rome a summit on food where farmers are unwelcome is under way

Farmers bringing message to the Food Crisis Summit in Rome
"Stop corporate control over food!"
Rome, Italy, 3 June 2008
videos on
Farmer and civil society leaders carrying out a peaceful action today in
Rome, Italy at the FAO Summit on the Food Crisis were forcefully removed from
the premises. At around 1:30pm farmers and representatives of civil society
organisations staged an action at the press room to deliver a message that
millions of additional people are joining the ranks of the hungry as the
corporations that control the global food system are making record profits.
The issues of corporate control and speculation, which are leading causes of
recent spikes in food prices, are not being discussed by the government
delegations and the international agencies meeting in Rome to debate solutions
to the crisis.
"We are outraged that such fundamental aspects of the food
crisis were nowhere on the agenda for the Summit," says Paul Nicholson, member
of the International Coordinating Committee of Via Campesina and one of the
farmer leaders who was expelled from the Summit.
The 10 people involved in
the action carried posters contrasting the record profits of agribusiness
corporations during the lastest reporting financial quarter of 2008 with the
estimated 100 million people in the world who now, alongside 800 million or so
others, are hungry because they cannot afford to eat. Profits for Monsanto, the
world's largest seed company, were up 108 per cent, while Cargill and Archer
Daniel Midlands, the world's largest food traders, registered profit increases
of 86 and 42 per cent respectively. Profits for Mosaic, one of the world's
largest fertiliser companies, rose 1,134 per cent.
The action was necessary
to bring to the world's attention that the main causes of the world food crisis
are not being dealt with and that the world's food producers-- the farmers,
fisherfolk, agricultural workers and indigenous people-- have been shut out of
the discussion. In previous high-level FAO events, civil society was given more
space to express its views and to have a dialogue with the delegates. For this
Summit, civil society was blocked from meaningful participation in the
preparation and in the event itself.
"We are concerned that this Summit will
only reinforce corporate control of the food system and lead to a further
destruction of the way of life of indigenous peoples and their survival,"
says Saul Vicente Vasquez of the International Indian Treaty Council and
one of the supporters of the action. "It is time for indigenous people and other
food producers to take charge of food policy."
Those involved in the action
have been meeting with other civil society organisations at the Terra Preta*
civil society forum, parallel to the FAO Summit.
A video of the action and
the suppression of the action will soon be available on During
the action, the security guards seized a banner reading: "Stop corporate control
over food!".
For further information about the action, please
Isabelle Delforge: +39 349 161 0296
Henk Hobbelink: +34 639
*Information about Terra Preta and a statement from the forum can be
found at