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Oxfam’s Global Food Campaign

“Increasing hunger is just the tip of the iceberg,” said Oxfam Canada Executive Director Robert Fox recently. “Corporations and climate change are forcing small farmers, especially women, off their lands. Food prices are rising but farm incomes are falling. As much as a third of the world’s food is wasted or lost. These are symptoms of a food system in chaos.”

farmerFood price increases are a consequence of a vicious spiral of high oil prices; poor harvests in different parts of the world; diversion of food and land to biofuels; export bans reducing global supply; hoarding of food stocks; and speculation on global food markets.

So Oxfam has launched a global food campaign designed to create a functional food system. In order to fix the global food system, Oxfam’s GROW campaign is calling for:

• a new global system that regulates trade and financial markets and that increases funding for food aid and climate change adaptation;
• investment in a new food future, where small-scale farmers are supported and women’s critical role in food production is recognized;
• serious commitments to cutting greenhouse gas emissions and channelling adaptation funding to women farmers hit hardest by rising temperatures and changing rainfall patterns.

The program has wide support. An Oxfam Canada poll recently found that two-thirds of Canadians are extremely concerned about rising food prices and human rights abuses. And nearly all Canadians (97 per cent) expressed concern about a potential increase in the frequency and severity of hunger and food shortages.

The global food crisis and suggested solutions are outlined in a new Oxfam report called Growing a Better Future. The program was launched in early June with live events starring volunteers dressed as vegetables!

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Alison Wheatley

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