A top U.N. human rights expert got into a heated disagreement with the leader of the World Trade Organization on Friday, calling WTO-backed food policies “outdated” and a “lose-lose” for the world’s poor, the Associated Press reports.
Olivier De Schutter, the U.N.’s expert on the right to food, has just said that the WTO and its chief, Pascal Lamy, push for policies that screw over the world’s poor.
De Schutter says that the WTO advocates “trade-centric” policies that prevent the world’s impoverished from getting inexpensive, fresh food.
De Schutter says that these market-based approaches help agribusinesses profit in rich countries — and inflate the price of food for the world’s least-developed nations.
Between 1992 and 2008, De Schutter says, grocery bills in these countries ballooned 500 or 600 percent.
“This may look like food security on paper, but it is an approach that has failed spectacularly,” he writes in an open letter.
“The reality on the ground is that vulnerable populations are consigned to endemic hunger and poverty.”
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on December 16, 2011