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Pour la sécurité alimentaire : restaurer la responsabilité d'État. Les besoins de la société civile : la souveraineté alimentaire au service de la sécurité alimentaire

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  • Frédéric Paré
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    We do not ask carpenter to cure persons, or to a dentist to build homes. What do we ask for states to do that we don’t for business ? We should read Jean-Jacques Rousseau for the answer, as he should have 300 years old this year. See what he wrote (in french) : « La volonté générale peut seule diriger les forces de l’État selon la fin de son institution (création), qui est le bien commun ; car, si l’opposition des intérêts particuliers a rendu nécessaire l’établissement des sociétés, c’est l’accord de ces mêmes intérêts qui l’a rendu possible. C’est ce qu’il y a de commun dans ces différents intérêts qui forme le lien social... Or c’est uniquement sur cet intérêt commun que la société doit être gouvernée. » It’s uncontestable, food is mostly produced, processed, packed, transported or sold by business, that are furthermore being placed in competition, more and more world widely. But isn’t in economical and physical access to adequate food, at any time, coming from local producers, something normal, justifiable, ensuing from a social contract ? Food security, self sufficiency and food sovereignty are often mixed up. Coalition then connected it together. Food self sufficiency (the collective one) is the food domestically consumed coming from the domestic producers. This not mean commercial balance which is the ratio, in dollars, of food domestically produced, on food domestically consumed. If we do accept that food security is part of common good, and thus it’s calling for public interest, Coalition believe that a legitimate state should not be satisfied with this only indicator of commercial balance to rate its performance. It should also take into an account and pursuit an ambitious objective of collective self sufficiency. But to reach this goal, states need no protect this normal link between food produced and food consumed, on a country basis. Do they still have enough strength to do so ? Do they still have enough sovereignty on their food policies, as they let it go to WTO or other multilateral trade agreement forum ? Why and for who get all the food produced being treated on world trade basis (price), while, from 2006 to 2008, only 18 % of wheat, 7 % of rice, 12 % of maize, 5 % of pork, 10 % of poultry and 12 % of beef had being trade internationally ? Retail food prices don’t include environmental or social problems, no more than the important incontrollable physical differences between territories, such as climate, temperature, rain, soil qualities, etc. Countries that decided rightly to implement minimum wage face their farms or processors to costs that other food operators, from other countries that don’t get that kind of social security net, don’t have to face to. When a small African farmer work for one hour, he produced 2000 times less food then the Bresilian one, who works with tractors on large scale farms. Food production is a non equal economic activity. States are then placed in front of a choice to make. They could let the market go, or regulate it to keep their national means of production and assure an adequate control on their food security. This become a social contract where prices, quantities and quality of food are monitored and controlled for the citizen’s benefit.

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    Article provided by De Boeck Université in its journal Revue internationale de droit économique.

    Volume (Year): t. XXVI (2012)
    Issue (Month): 4 ()
    Pages: 87-97

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    Handle: RePEc:cai:riddbu:ride_258_0087
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