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13 February 2013

Food Sovereignty and Alternative Paradigms to Confront Land Grabbing and the Food and Climate Crises

Peter M. Rosset

KEYWORDS La Via Campesina; food sovereignty; food crisis; agrarian


In the contemporary world we face a systemic crisis
where multiple dimensions converge, including an economic crisis,
a financial crisis, a climate crisis, an energy crisis, a food crisis, and
runaway land grabbing. Peter Rosset argues for a paradigm shift
toward food sovereignty based on genuine agrarian reform and
sustainable peasant agriculture, which he sees as the only way to
address the multiple crises.

Introduction: A world facing multiple crises

In the contemporary world we are facing a systemic crisis where multiple dimensions converge. There is a convergence of an economic, a financial, a climate, an energy and a food crisis, and all are manifestations of medium- to long-term trends in global capitalism. Underlying this is a long-term crisis of access to land by food producing rural people (Rosset, 2006a, b; De Schutter, 2010), and the recent surge in land grabbing by foreign
capital (Zoomers, 2010). In the past few years, we have witnessed the explosion of mining concessions, petroleum exploration, bioprospecting, large-scale logging, eco- and adventure-tourism investment, large infrastructure projects (dams, ports, airports, economic development
zones, highways, etc.), agrofuel plantations, carbon-credit plantations, paper-pulp plantations, food plantations for export to wealthy food deficit countries, and other old and modern forms of land grabbing through concessions, rentals, forced sales, and outright theft (Rosset, 2009c; Zoomers, 2010).

Almost all of this has come at the expense of local communities of peasants, indigenous people, pastoralists, potential agrarian reform beneficiaries, artisanal fisherfolk, etc., who have progressively lost their land and territories or at least become engaged in protracted struggles to defend them, typically becoming the victims of the criminalization of social protest and rampant militarization of rural areas (Rosset, 2009c)


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