OTTAWA, May 31, 2011 /CNW/ - Rapidly rising food prices and the effects
of climate change are pushing more of the world's poor into hunger,
Oxfam said while launching its biggest and most ambitious global
campaign to date, calling for a dramatic turnaround in the way we
produce and share food.
"Increasing hunger is just the tip of the iceberg," said Oxfam Canada
Executive Director Robert Fox. "Corporations and climate change are
forcing small farmers, especially women, off their lands. Food prices
are rising but farm incomes are falling. As much as a third of the
world's food is wasted or lost. These are symptoms of a food system in
Women bear the brunt of the food system's dysfunction, according to
Growing a Better Future, a new Oxfam report.
"Even before the food price crisis hit in 2008, women and girls
represented more than 60 per cent of those going hungry throughout the
world. In times of food shortages, we see a pattern of women eating
last, least and lesser quality food - or even skipping meals entirely,"
New polling commissioned by Oxfam Canada shows two-thirds of Canadians
are extremely concerned about rising food prices and human rights
abuses. Nearly all Canadians (97 per cent) expressed concern about a
potential increase in the frequency and severity of hunger and food
In order to fix the global food system, Oxfam's GROW campaign is calling
a new global system that regulates trade and financial markets and that
increases funding for food aid and climate change adaptation;
investment in a new food future, where small-scale farmers are supported
and women's critical role in food production is recognized;
serious commitments to cutting greenhouse gas emissions and channelling
adaptation funding to women farmers hit hardest by rising temperatures
and changing rainfall patterns.
If nothing is done, international prices for staple foods will rise in
the range of 120 to 180 per cent within 20 years, according to new
research commissioned by Oxfam for Growing a Better Future. Half of the
price increase will be attributable to climate change. This will come
on top of the price spikes that have already pushed some 144 million
people into poverty since 2008.
Food price increases are a consequence of a vicious spiral of high oil
prices; poor harvests in different parts of the world; diversion of
food and land to biofuels; export bans reducing global supply; hoarding
of food stocks; and speculation on global food markets.
"Feeding the world isn't only about producing more food. It's about
putting food into bellies instead of cars, curbing excessive
speculation in food commodities that pushes the cost of food out of
reach, and ensuring women are at the heart of the solution to the
global food crisis," Fox said.
The world's 500 million small-scale farmers have the greatest potential
to increase food production. If poor women farmers had the same access
to resources enjoyed by their male counterparts, food production would
rise by 20 to 30 per cent, providing basic nutrition for 150 million
"The food system can and must be transformed," Fox said. Canadians can
help build pressure for change by choosing fairly and sustainably
produced food and reducing our own carbon footprint.
To mark the launch of the GROW campaign, outreach events will take place
across the country, including:
Toronto: Volunteers dressed as vegetables will converge at Trinity Square
(Dundas St. & Bay St.) at 11:00 a.m. EDT on June 1, with an enormous
living sculpture designed to spell out the GROW logo.
Contact: Victoria Harnett, cell: 647-237-7513; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Saskatoon: Volunteers dressed as vegetables will walk along 21st Street from Midtown Plaza to the Delta Bessborough for a photo
opportunity from noon to 1:00 p.m. CST on June 1.
Contact: Danielle Paydli, cell: (306) 241-4350; e-mail: email@example.com
Halifax: Volunteers dressed as vegetables will walk through the downtown at
5:30 p.m. on June 1, ending at 6:00 p.m. ADT at Citadel Hill for a
Contact: Jennifer Brammer, cell: (902) 483-8584; email firstname.lastname@example.org
St. John's: Volunteers dressed as vegetables will greet commuters on the Prince
Philip Parkway beside the Arts and Culture Centre between 8:00 and 8:30
a.m. NDT on June 1.
Contact: Bill Hynd, cell: (709) 691 4045; e-mail: email@example.com
Vancouver: Volunteers dressed as vegetables will illustrate the rising cost of
food with a photo opportunity at noon PDT on June 4 at the western-most
side of Kitsilano Beach.
Contact: Miriam Palacios, cell: 604- 657-5785; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
SOURCE Oxfam Canada
For further information:
Mark Fried, 613-668-4801 or email@example.com
GROW media materials can be downloaded at: http://www.oxfam.org/en/policy/growing-better-future