La Via Campesina release regarding the WTO bilateral and mini Ministerial Meeting - Geneva, July 2008

Wrong doctor, wrong remedies. WTO pushes for more trade liberalisation to solve food crisis: more fuel on the fire!

23 July 2008 by La Via Campesina

About 40 hand-selected trade ministers invited to Geneva do not have any mandate to decide on the future of millions of people. La Via Campesina demands an end to the WTO WTO
World Trade Organisation
The WTO, founded on 1st January 1995, replaced the General Agreement on Trade and Tariffs (GATT). The main innovation is that the WTO enjoys the status of an international organization. Its role is to ensure that no member States adopt any kind of protectionism whatsoever, in order to accelerate the liberalization global trading and to facilitate the strategies of the multinationals. It has an international court (the Dispute Settlement Body) which judges any alleged violations of its founding text drawn up in Marrakesh.


The policies of the WTO have de-regulated food and agricultural markets. They have pushed for privatisation of services and natural resources generating a speculative bubble Speculative bubble An economic, financial or speculative bubble is formed when the level of trading-prices on a market (financial assets market, currency-exchange market, property market, raw materials market, etc.) settles well above the intrinsic (or fundamental) financial value of the goods or assets being exchanged. In such a situation, prices diverge from the usual economic valuation under the influence of buyers’ beliefs. out of control of national governments, increasing hunger to up to a billion people. The current world food crisis is a direct consequence of the liberalization of food and agriculture markets and policies. This is not a crisis of production, this is a crisis of policies. There has never been more food on the planet but the inequalities of distribution of food are worsened by price rises favouring Transnational Corporations (TNCs).

Trade liberalisation is the core of the problem. Using the same recipes as remedies will only deepen the food and climate crises. Mr. Sago Indra, a Via Campesina leader from Indonesia said: “Pretending to solve the food crisis with the WTO is like calling the wrong doctor and taking the wrong remedies”.

Meanwhile, transnational corporations have taken over and increased their control over the food market, production and retailing sectors. This crisis is looked upon as an opportunity for further TNC business. Consumers, small scale farmers and farm workers are the losers of today’s policies. Higher prices for consumers and low prices for small scale farmers generate hunger both in rural and urban areas.

A cosmetic agreement will not hide the failure of a so called “development” round that is in fact a “food crisis round”. It will not fool small scale farmers, food producers and agricultural workers of the world. In support to the numerous struggles against the WTO around the world, we demand the abolition of all trade negotiations within the WTO.

Food is not a commodity!

We defend the right to farm, the right to feed, the right to eat!

WTO out of agriculture!

Via Campesina spokespersons available for interviews in Geneva (July 20 - 25)

Sago Indra: Indonesian Farmer producing rice in West Sumatra. He is one of the leaders of the Indonesian Peasant Union (serikat petani Indonesia/ SPI), Via Campesina member.

Jaime Tadeo: Rice farmer, leader of the Philippine farmers’ organisation PARAGOS, Via Campesina member.

Jose Luis Hernandez : Jose Luis Hernandez is the Vice President of the National Union of Workers (UNT) and Secretary of the Union Affairs of the Central Independent of Farm Workers and Peasants, Via Campesina member.

Media Contact in Geneva: Tejo Pramono : + 41 788760163




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