It\’s the usual hogwash.
But Europe\’s focus must be on encouraging the development of local agriculture. Doing so is the only way to achieve greater global food security and reduce poverty. It will also make it possible to ensure that today\’s high prices for agricultural products are transformed into opportunity for poor farmers. This is vital because, according to the World Bank, growth in farming eliminates poverty twice as much as growth in any other economic sector. Indeed, agriculture remains the primary productive sector in the world\’s poorest countries, employing 65% of the working population and, on average, contributing more than 25% to GDP.
Twat. If agriculture is such an important part of poor country economies then the one thing we don\’t want to do is encourage localism. We want to encourage trade, so as to grow the value added in that important part of the economy.
Further liberalisation of farm trade will not ensure food security.
Cretin. Of course more trade will increase food security. By sourcing food from multiple sources, from different parts of the world, we\’ll be free of the effects of purely local phenomena like drought, floods and so on that destroy crops.
But, in a world where productivity differentials can be as great as one to 1,000, it would be unwise to rely on markets alone to enable the poorest countries to expand their economies.
Moron. It is precisely because there are such variations in productivity that we want to have trade. If, to use entirely made up numbers, one hour of human labour will produce 1 kg of rice in one place and 1 tonne of rice in another then of course we want to grow the rice in the latter place and trade it for whatever can be done with that 999 hours of net labour saved. That\’s what trade is for, it\’s the very definition of wealth creation to do such things.
Nor is it likely that much economic expansion will result from competition between multinational food distributors and producers in countries where famine still stalks the land.
Idiot. Food will be in greater supply and cheaper if the more productive producers and distributors get involved. Isn\’t that actually what we want?
Instead, bringing together outside expertise and local knowledge of the geography and environmental and economic constraints in order to spread risks and share the management of resources and projects is far more likely to help poor countries achieve food independence.
Flaphead. We don\’t want countries to achieve "food independence". Just as we don\’t want cities, towns, villages, families or individuals to do so. We want people to trade with each other for it is this division of labour and specialisation which makes us all so stinking rich. Even a Frog might have noticed the connection between not being crouched over a hoe in the fields and being wealthy.
It was such an approach that, in less than 20 years, helped postwar Europe achieve food sovereignty.
Twit. As above, we don\’t actually want food sovereignty, just as we don\’t want car sovereignty, wine sovereignty or iPod sovereignty.
Countries that have protected their agricultural development from the threats posed by international markets – such as India or Vietnam – have achieved substantial reductions in agricultural poverty.
Blatherer. Countries which have not so protected their agricultural development, like, say, Canada and Australia, have abolished agricultural poverty.
The time has also come to prioritise agriculture in order to ensure growth with a more human face. At the heart of the EU, France wants to play its part in a collective effort that is fast becoming a major issue for us all.
And that\’s a Frenchman talking to you. Give us your money so that we can pay off our tiresome peasantry.
No. Michel, please do just fuck off.