News Release

Rome Food Conference

As government leaders from around the world meet at the U.N. food conference in Rome, nonprofit organizations have also been meeting there. The following analysts are available for a limited number of interviews and are in contact with others in Rome from around the world:

FLAVIO VALENTE
Secretary general of FIAN [Food First Information and Action Network], an international food rights group, Valente said: “I see very little good coming from the governmental meeting in Rome. The World Bank and International Monetary Fund are being turned to as if they will help solve the problem, but it was largely their policies of structural adjustment that made poor countries lose their capacity to control their food policies and helped bring on the current crisis. The U.S. government — and to some extent the European Union — are blocking desperately needed advances; for example any reference in the final documents to people having a right to food.”
More Information

RACHEL SMOLKER
Research biologist at the Global Justice Ecology Project, Smolker said today: “Unfortunately this crisis is being used as an opportunity to advance GMOs [genetically modified organisms]. The question of land is emerging as a central issue and business interests are grabbing it up for biofuels and other purposes. Millions of people were added to the ranks of the hungry in the last quarter. Meanwhile, the big agribusiness companies are making huge profits.”

Smolker recently wrote the piece “Agrofuels in the belly of the hungry beast.” She also wrote “Go Ahead, Blame Biofuels: A switch from fossil fuels to ethanol and its kin diverts resources from food production, leading to hunger and destabilization of farming” published in Business Week.

For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini,(202) 347-0020; or David Zupan,(541) 484-9167