Food Sovereignty, Policy and Regulation

Food sovereignty describes the right of communities to control their own food system, including modes and means of production, distribution, and consumption. The concept was originated by members of the international agrarian organization La Vía Campesina during its Second International Conference held in 1996 in Tlaxcala, Mexico. This new approach, linking farmers’ rights to the rights of consumers, developed in response to changes in international agricultural policy brought about via the inclusion of agriculture in the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trades and its successor the World Trade Organization (WTO). These policies liberalized trade in agricultural commodities and facilitated the corporate concentration of production, especially for staple crops such as maize, rice, wheat, and soybeans. They also encouraged the practice of “dumping,” whereby highly subsidized ...

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