Oxfam: Fixing the broken food system

Press Release – Oxfam NZOxfam: Fixing the broken food system

GROW – Oxfam’s campaign for a future where everyone on the planet has enough to eat, always

WHAT: Witness the global food struggle played out in central Auckland, as a profit-hungry commodities trader gambles with the life of a struggling small farmer from our Pacific neighbourhood.

Under a giant commodities exchange board – the symbol of imbalanced global wealth – a futures trader will be buying and selling contracts, which worsens rising and volatile food prices. As the trader’s profits tick over, a small-scale farmer will be planting her seeds, desperately trying to produce enough to feed her family.

We are at a turning point. Today Oxfam launches a new global campaign called GROW, calling for a radically new approach to the way we grow, share and manage food and other natural resources.

WHEN: Wednesday, June 1, 10-11am

WHERE: Auckland – Freyberg Square, between High St and Chancery Precinct

WHY: Profiteering must not come before basic human needs. Nearly one billion people are chronically hungry – that’s one in seven. International prices of some basic foods are set to more than double by 2030 because of speculation, climate change and the concentration of control by a few food giants. In New Zealand we are feeling the pinch of rising food costs. According to Statistics NZ, 16% of household income in 2007 was spent on food. The situation is much worse in developing countries, where many people already spend more than 50% of their income on food.

People aren’t hungry because of a global food shortage – they’re hungry because of injustice. The system is broken and it needs to be fixed.

Since the subprime mortgage crisis, money has been diverted to food commodities – now considered a safe investment. But New Zealand investors may be unaware that they are inadvertently driving up world food prices. Oxfam is calling for transparency and regulation of commodities markets.

Oxfam is also calling on the New Zealand Government to prioritise small-scale agriculture, particularly for women, and promote an ecological approach to farming through its aid programme, as well as supporting research into appropriate and sustainable farming, and agreeing to a global deal on climate change that stops greenhouse gas pollution from devastating food production.

INTERVIEWS: An Oxfam spokesperson will be available for interview.

ENDS

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