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Reclaming Food Systems: Agroecology and Trade

Hoffmann, Ulrich (2015) Reclaming Food Systems: Agroecology and Trade. In: Hilbeck, Angelika and Oehen, Bernadette (Eds.) Feeding the People: Agroecology for Nourishing the World and Transforming the Agri-Food System. IFOAM EU Group, Brussels, Belgium, chapter 4, pp. 22-25.

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Document available online at: http://www.ifoam-eu.org/en/library/dossiers


In the light of climate-change-induced volatility of production volumes and declining growth dynamics of agricultural productivity, the international agro-food trade is likely to increase in importance in the future, especially in developing countries with a high rate of population growth. The rules governing international trade (WTO disciplines and the WTO+ rules enshrined in bilateral, regional and mega trade liberalization agreements) have a critical influence on – and impinge upon – national sovereignty over agricultural policies Even so, the existing flexibility mechanisms in the WTO Agreement on Agriculture and those currently being negotiated in the WTO Doha Round could enable interested and determined governments to pursue policies that create the conditions for, or strengthen, food security and sustainable rural development, and to promote the truly sustainable transformation of agriculture, including agroecological production. The main precondition in this regard is that the clear political will exists to move in this direction, and that this is translated into a realistic strategy that incorporates appropriate flanking and supportive trade measures. It is therefore pertinent to conduct a detailed review of the existing WTO rules, and of those trade and agriculture policy measures introduced after the 2008 food price crisis which aim to use agro ecological/eco-functional intensification (i.e. more quality than volume) to foster food security, sovereignty and sustainable rural development, as well as the concomitant enhanced resilience. Such an analysis would also scrutinize the problematic general incentives in the trade rules which foster excessive specialization, factory-like mass production and the enormous cost-related pressures.

EPrint Type:Report chapter
Keywords:Department of International Cooperation, market analyses, climate, food security
Subjects: Food systems > Markets and trade
Food systems > Policy environments and social economy
Environmental aspects
Research affiliation: Switzerland > FiBL - Research Institute of Organic Agriculture Switzerland > International
Deposited By: Forschungsinstitut für biologischen Landbau, FiBL
ID Code:29950
Deposited On:22 Mar 2016 10:38
Last Modified:22 Mar 2016 10:38
Document Language:English
Refereed:Not peer-reviewed

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