For Immediate Release
World Food Prize Laureates Undermine Hunger Solutions, Food Sovereignty Alliance Says
WASHINGTON - Honoring executives of biotechnology giants Monsanto and Syngenta with this year's World Food Prize “sends precisely the wrong message about sustainable solutions to hunger and poverty,” the U.S. Food Sovereignty Alliance said in a statement today. The Alliance includes faith-based, labor, anti-hunger, and grassroots groups from across the US.
“Proprietary genetically manipulated seeds are the problem, not the answer to world hunger,” the Alliance said. “The proven solutions lie in rebuilding food sovereignty—the ability of farmers and communities to nourish themselves while creating sustainable paths out of poverty and hunger.”
The World Food Prize has disregarded well-documented evidence from the United Nations and other sources that small-scale diversified farming is the most effective way to end hunger, the Alliance argued. Reliance on genetically modified crops and industrial agriculture creates crippling debt for farmers, produces herbicide-resistant ‘superweeds,’ and keeps control of our food system in the hands of large corporations.
In July, the Alliance will announce the winners of the fifth annual Food Sovereignty Prize, highlighting grassroots efforts to build a more democratic and sustainable food system. In honoring communities that are reclaiming their food systems, the prize shows how democratic access to land, water, and fair wages are central to ensuring sustainability and ending world hunger.
Unlike the World Food Prize, which promotes increased industrial food production through technologies such as genetically engineered seeds, the Food Sovereignty Prize champions proven solutions to hunger that empower those most impacted by the injustices of the global food system. While the World Food Prize recognizes individuals, the grassroots organizations honored by the Food Sovereignty Prize are led by their members, and most organizations count over 20,000 families as members and leaders.
The 2013 nominees include grassroots organizations in Haiti, Uruguay, India, Mexico, Mali, the U.S., and elsewhere. “All of these nominees are doing remarkable work against steep odds, creating innovative and courageous solutions to hunger and poverty by taking back control over their food systems,” said Eric Holt-Gimenez, director of Food First, a member of the US Food Sovereignty Alliance.
“Food sovereignty is the right of peoples to healthy and culturally appropriate food produced through ecologically sound and sustainable methods, and their right to define their own food and agriculture systems. It puts the aspirations and needs of those who produce, distribute and consume food at the heart of food systems and policies rather than the demands of markets and corporations.” – Declaration of Nyéléni, the first global forum on food sovereignty, Mali, 2007