The Global Development and Environment Institute (GDAE) and the Triple Crisis Blog continue their analysis of the current G20 Leaders Summit June 18-19 in Los Cabos, Mexico.
Timothy A. Wise attended the pre-G20 conference on “New Paradigms and Public Policies for Agriculture and Global Food Systems.” In a piece titled Mexico’s Surreal Leadership on Food Security, Wise comments on the G20's limited progress on food security in the Triple Crisis Blog’s Spotlight G20 Series:
Leave it to Mexico to put surrealism on the agenda at the G-20 summit that opened yesterday in Los Cabos, Mexico. Actually, the Mexican government seems not to have put much of anything on the agenda, at least when it comes to food security, one of its stated priorities as G-20 president this year. What’s surreal is listening to Mexico’s Agriculture Minister, Francisco Mayorga, speaking last Wednesday to an international conference on “New Paradigms for Agriculture,” describe without a hint of irony or self-reflection his government’s “model program” for sustainable smallholder agriculture.
Let’s be clear: It is not Mexico’s fault that the G-20 will again fail to address any of the causes of the ongoing food crisis. Commodity speculation will continue unchecked, the use of food reserves to buffer price spikes will be ignored despite their widespread and effective use throughout the developing world, biofuels production will expand without a peep from the G-20 or the Mexican government, despite our recent report showing how much U.S. ethanol expansion has driven up the cost of Mexican corn imports.
(PLEASE READ: HOW THE US IS ´BIOFUELING HUNGER´ IN MÉXICO: http://rivieranayaritone.blogspot.mx/2012/05/how-us-is-biofueling-hunger-in-mexico_18.html
And small-scale farmers, despite the G-20’s own expert report that calls for expanded public investment in the sector, will hear from the kings and queens of the G-20: “Let them eat Public-Private Partnerships.”That’s not the Mexican government’s fault.
Mexico’s rural disaster certainly is: More than half of rural Mexicans live in poverty, many are migrating to the cities and to the U.S. despite the dearth of decent jobs in either country. Mexico imports 42% of its food, while its own farmers can’t even get a loan, never mind basic extension services. Fewer than 5% of Mexican farmers have access to formal credit. 5%! The government crows to the G-20 about its OPORTUNIDADES anti-poverty program, yet no one asks how many people need that safety net because the Mexican model has sent them into freefall.
This from the country that is the world’s poster child for the failures of neoliberal agriculture policy. Surreal. How surreal does Mexico’s free-market fundamentalism get?