Mobilization Food Sovereignty, Democracy & Justice
World's Eyes Turn to California as Mass Protest against Genetically Engineered Food and the World Trade Organization Builds
June 20-25 Mobilization Unites 130 Diverse Organizations to Denounce U.S.Government Sponsored Ministerial as a Corporate Attack on Food Sovereignty, Democracy and Environment
Sacramento, CA As ministers from over 100 countries gather for a U.S. government sponsored 4 day "Ministerial Conference and Expo on Agricultural Science and Technology", concerned citizen groups from around the world are uniting to challenge the Bush administration's policy of promoting increased corporate control over global food systems. Protests will highlight the dangers of many of the controversial technologies being promoted within the Ministerial such as genetic engineering, food irradiation and pesticide intensive farming which have been linked to public health risks, environmental destruction, increased poverty and threats to small farmers. The ministerial is one of the key international meetings in the lead-up to September's World Trade Organization (WTO) meeting in Cancun where the Bush administration will be pushing its agenda of promoting corporate globalization through the expansion of sweeping "free trade" agreements.
Among the most controversial issues at stake is the U.S. government's efforts to push genetically engineered (GE) food on the world - a long running global controversy that has isolated US policy makers from international public opinion. The recent U.S. WTO challenge to the European Union's restrictions on genetically engineered food and the Bush Administration's linking of AIDS relief for African nations to their acceptance of genetically engineered food, has raised concerns that the Bush administration is using the Ministerial to promote an agenda favoring U.S. biotech and agribusiness corporations.
"This ministerial is about U.S. arm twisting to force feed the world corporate controlled "free trade" and genetically engineered food. Countries around the world are rejecting genetically engineered food because it is an unnecessary, dangerous technology which has been disastrous for small farmers, consumers and the environment," said Doyle Canning of the Institute for Social Ecology's Biotechnology Project.
The mobilization will highlight the negative impacts of "free trade" and corporate globalization on consumers, small farmers and agriculture workers both in the U.S. and abroad. Russ van Loben Sels, a fourth generation Sacramento Valley farmer explained, "So-called "free trade" means big profits for giant agribusiness corporations while family farmers and small business are driven out of business. By letting corporations write the rules in their interests, we're sacrificing jobs, the environment and consumer safety."
Policy experts are challenging the US government's claim that the Ministerial will address the problems of poverty and hunger around the world. "U.S. foreign policy is currently treating food as a commodity or worse yet a weapon, to pressure poorer countries into accepting U.S. corporate control of their food supply. Food is a basic human right and we need policies that address the underlying cause of hunger, which is the unfair distribution of food. " said Dr. Raj Patel an economist and policy analyst with the Institute for Food and Development Policy.
The week long
mobilization from June 20-25th will bring together local
grassroots activists, policy experts, small farmers,
democracy advocates and representatives of farmer and social
justice movements from around the world. The mobilization
will feature educational events, rallies, marches,
non-violent direct action and an alternative Expo of
sustainable, organic food production. Background info and
details of media events at :