Foodtank explores the recent outburst by Kip Tom, the Trump appointed Ambassador to the Food and Agriculture Organisation.
In a recent and fiery attack on UN Food and Agriculture Organisation policy, Tom expressed his concern that a growing number of the 193 UN member countries did “not share the basic values and core assumptions on which we operate here in the United States.”
Addressing the US Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) 2020 Agricultural Outlook Forum, Ambassador Tom pulled out all the stops to discredit the democratic and scientifically informed work of the UN body, going so far as to say that agroecology, which is on the rise within FAO policy is “an explicit rejection of the very idea of progress.”
Ambassador Tom invoked the spectre of famine and ongoing locust plagues in East Africa, in order to argue that farmers need to embrace innovation and make sure that their businesses have the ability to scale in order to stay competitive.
This aggressive lobbying pushes the American agribusiness agenda by deflecting attention from the facts: that myopic visions of progress have ensured the majority of proud American family farmers have been pushed off their land over the past 60 years to make way for ever larger farms, growing ever fewer products, mostly corn and soya. The tragic irony being that in today’s world, we grow too much food already. One in every three people is overweight, while half this many, one in six, goes hungry.
In the USA and abroad, dietary related diseases – such as diabetes and chronic heart disease – which are associated with the oversupply of highly processed derivatives of this model of monocrop farming constitute a global health crisis.
In 2017 the costs of diabetes treatment in the USA alone amounted to a staggering USD$327 billion – almost four times the total profits made by all American farmers that year.