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3 March 2011

Food Sovereignty and Alternative Paradigms to Confront Land Grabbing and the Food and Climate Crises

ABSTRACT In the contemporary world we face a systemic crisis where multiple dimensions converge, including an economic crisis, a financial crisis, a climate crisis, an energy crisis, a food crisis, and runaway land grabbing. Peter Rosset argues for a paradigm shift toward food sovereignty based on genuine agrarian reform and sustainable peasant agriculture, which he sees as the only way to
address the multiple crises.

KEYWORDS La Via Campesina; food sovereignty; food crisis; agrarian reform

Introduction: A world facing multiple crises
In the contemporary world we are facing a systemic crisis where multiple dimensions
converge. There is a convergence of an economic, a financial, a climate, an energy and
a food crisis, and all are manifestations of medium- to long-term trends in global capital-
ism. Underlying this is a long-term crisis of access to land by food producing rural people
(Rosset, 2006a, b; De Schutter, 2010), and the recent surge in land grabbing by foreign
capital (Zoomers, 2010).

In the past few years, we have witnessed the explosion of mining concessions, petro-
leum exploration, bioprospecting, large-scale logging, eco- and adventure-tourism
investment, large infrastructure projects (dams, ports, airports, economic development
zones, highways, etc.), agrofuel plantations, carbon-credit plantations, paper-pulp plan-
tations, food plantations for export to wealthy food deficit countries, and other old and
modern forms of land grabbing through concessions, rentals, forced sales, and outright
theft (Rosset, 2009c; Zoomers, 2010).

Almost all of this has come at the expense of local communities of peasants, indigenous people, pastoralists, potential agrarian reform
beneficiaries, artisanal fisherfolk, etc., who have progressively lost their land and terri-
tories or at least become engaged in protracted struggles to defend them, typically
becoming the victims of the criminalization of social protest and rampant militariza-
tion of rural areas (Rosset, 2009c).


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