Growing Forward 2 will Accelerate Globalization, Stall Food Sovereignty, says NFU

(Saskatoon)– The National Farmers Union has studied GF2 and published a new brief, Growing Forward 2 – Accelerating Globalization, Stalling Food Sovereignty: Implications of the GF2 Strategic Initiatives Suite. “Our study shows that Growing Forward 2’s five-year “Strategic Initiatives” policy framework will intensify globalization and increase corporate control of agriculture while leaving the interests of farmers and consumers – and health of the land itself – on the sidelines,” said Colleen Ross, NFU Vice President (Policy). “It takes Canada further down the same road we’ve travelled for decades, and further away from achieving food sovereignty.”

“The themes of GF2 – Competitiveness and Market Development, Innovation and Adaptability and Industry Capacity – might sound helpful, but the way they are being put into action will increase the imbalance in market power between farmers and agri-business,” Ross continued. “Only private-public partnerships will be eligible for research funds. This means that research will be controlled by private interests and conducted only if there is opportunity for private gain. At the same time, planned changes to trade-related regulations will make it easier and cheaper for global corporations to source their agricultural products anywhere in the world and simply download costs and responsibilities onto farmers’ backs.”

“GF2 needs to be understood in the context of existing and planned trade agreements such as NAFTA, CETA and the TPP,” said Ann Slater, NFU Ontario Coordinator. “GF2 both responds to the conditions created by these trade deals, and implements measures agreed to in secretive negotiating sessions with trade representatives from other countries.”

But many people do not want what trade deals offer. Slater noted, “During GF2 public consultations, we heard many people asking for significant changes to the food system. They raised concerns about health, economic justice and our need to take care of the ecosystem. Rather than deal with the public’s concerns, however, GF2 simply reframes them as niche market opportunities for the food processing industry.”

“The NFU says that the GF2 is inadequate and wrong-headed. We call for a fundamental re-orientation of the federal-provincial-territorial agricultural strategy,” declared Ross. “Canada needs to commit to policy that will bring about food sovereignty and fair trade. Our agriculture and food system must respect farmers and consumers, and acknowledge inherent interdependence of people, food and the land. Moreover, a biodiverse Canadian food system must be governed democratically by the citizens who live and work here.”

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For more information:

Colleen Ross, NFU Vice President (Policy):  (613) 213-1522
Ann Slater, NFU Ontario Coordinator:  (519) 349-2448

Growing Forward 2 – Accelerating Globalization, Stalling Food Sovereignty:  Implications of the GF2 Strategic Initiatives Suite