Publications and positions

Publications

Securing future food: towards ecological food provision   Securing future food: towards ecological food provision
This briefing shows why it is necessary to make the radical shift towards ecological food provision in order to secure future food for the world’s predicted 9 billion people.
Read more and download the paper
     
  Hidden Threats
An analysis of intellectual property rights in EU-ACP EPAs: unveiling the hidden threats to securing food supplies and conserving agricultural biodiversity.
Read more and download the report
     
Agriculture at a crossroads   Agriculture at a crossroads: Implementing the findings of the international agriculture assessment.
Read more and download the conference presentations and links to reports and papers 
     
More Aid for African Agriculture: policy implications for small-scale farmers   More Aid for African Agriculture: policy implications for small-scale farmers
Members of the UK Food Group are calling on governments to increase Aid for small-scale African farmers in ways that will help them to feed their people, improve their livelihoods and sustain the environment.
Read more and download the report

  Food inc: corporate concentration from farm to consumer
Supply chains are developing in such a way that a large number of competitive and relatively powerless suppliers face a few large buyers. Farmers are playing to the rules of perfect competition while their customers are part of a complex monopoly. The savings that food processors and retailers accrue from paying suppliers below competitive levels are often passed on to consumers to gain market share. Growth of supermarkets and the ‘modernisation’ of the retail sector can have profound impacts on the structure of domestic agriculture and food processing, and these patterns are moving into mid- and low income countries.
Download the report (PDF)

     

Positions

IDC inquiry on 'global food security' (Dec 2012)
UK Food Group submission to the International Development Committee of parliament on 'global food security'.
  Read the submission

BIS inquiry on 'shaping a UK strategy for agri-tech' (Nov 2012)
UK Food Group submission to the UK Dept of Innovation, Business & Skills on 'shaping a UK strategy for agri-tech'.
  Read the submission

Other publications and documents

For other publications and documents please look at the online archive below

 

Publications Archive
Submission to the APPG on Agriculture and Food for Development Inquiry on Meeting the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)   more...
Contact: UK Food Group Date: 16/12/10

The UK Food Group is making this brief submission to inform the current Inquiry of the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Agriculture and Food for Development. It is especially relevant to four of the eight questions posed in the call for evidence. This submission summarises many of the views expressed in recent papers, processes and conferences of the UK Food Group but may not represent all the views of each member of the network, several of whom have submitted their own contributions. The evidence for and references to many of the statements in this submission can be found the UK Food Group Briefing “Securing Future Food”, copies of which will be made available to the committee. Additional sources include the recent publication “Africa’s smallholder farmers: approaches that work for viable livelihoods” of the African Smallholder Farmers Group, most of whom are members of the UK Food Group. Other sources from UK Food Group members are listed at the end of this paper. In addition further evidence is cited in footnotes.


Summary:


This submission provides some of the evidence that we believe will help the APPG Inquiry in its deliberations. We anticipate that the Inquiry may wish to consider the points raised and in its conclusions urge relevant government ministries to:



  • Respond positively to the call of the organisations of small-scale food providers (smallholder farmers, herders, artisanal fishers and others), especially women, for realising food sovereignty and for the necessary radical changes in the policy measures, research and extension systems and practices that drive environmentally, and animal welfare, damaging industrial food systems; develop democratic and inclusive research systems and collaborative and community-based extension; and implement the findings of IAASTD. This will necessitate, inter alia, ‘changing the rules’ on intellectual property and monopoly control of the food system.

  • Ensure UK policy, in line with the new EU policy on food security, is driven by the need to fulfil the Right to Food; and that it should support and promote food sovereignty; increase democratic control over localised food systems, and reduce the vulnerability of small-scale food providers and consumers to speculative activity on global financial markets.

  • Promote a shift to localised, climate-resilient, biodiverse and ecological food production in the framework of food sovereignty, that is more productive, and will both mitigate climate change and help small-scale food providers better adapt to more extreme weather events; and reject large-scale ‘false solutions’, especially those driven by the carbon market.

  • Give priority in global governance to the role of the multilateral and inclusive Committee on World Food Security, monitoring impacts especially in terms of: achieving more sustainable and ecologically-based food provision; and the extent of inclusion in food and agricultural development processes of the representatives of small-scale food providers and their proposals for realising food sovereignty.

     


Securing our Future Food: towards ecological food provision   more...
Contact: UK Food Group Date: 30/04/10
This Briefing Paper was prepared for the UK Food Group by Kevan Bundell, based on research and other contributions by Aaron de Grassi and Nicholas Parrott, with further inputs by many members of the UK Food Group and our EC consortium partners.

This timely Briefing shows why it is necessary to make the radical shift towards ecological food provision in order to secure future food for the world’s predicted 9 billion people. The systems that currently feed most people in the world are smaller-scale and locally-sourced. They can be enhanced through practices based on agroecology to meet current and future global demands for food. Research and trade policies and agricultural support measures urgently need to be reoriented in this direction.

The Briefing is the result of a process organised by the UK Food Group, as part of the EC public advocacy project, to gather information about the current challenges resulting from the industrial agriculture model of production and the opportunities resulting from more ecological approaches. In addition to the material summarised from a fully referenced, longer online document, boxed quotes from other processes are included, notably the outcome of the Forum for People’s Food Sovereignty now! and its preparatory process, which published the working document ‘Policies and Actions to Eradicate Hunger and Malnutrition’, and Nyéléni 2007: Forum for Food Sovereignty.
CAP's impact on productive structures and family-based agriculture in Europe   more...
Contact: UK Food Group Date: 08/04/10
EuropAfrica Project
CAP's impact on productive structures
and family-based agriculture in Europe
UK CASE STUDY
UK Food Group

EFSG Joint Contribution to EU Consultation    more...
Contact: UKFG Date: 13/01/10
EFSG Joint Contribution to the EU Consultation on the Issues Paper "Towards an EU policy framework to assist developing countries addressing agriculture and food security challenges"
European NGO members of CONCORD common position on the reform of the FAO Committee on Food Security (CFS)   more...
Contact: UKFG Date: 20/10/09
The European NGO members of Concord have been heartened by the steps towards more effective cooperation and coordination that have been taken by international institutions over the past months. Now the reform of the Committee on World Food Security (CFS) provides a decisive opportunity to set the global governance of food, agriculture and nutrition on a firm basis. As we move toward the final negotiations of the reform in the coming session of the CFS in Rome on 14-17 October the position of the European Union is crucial since its stance thus far has been generally supportive of the effort to transform the CFS into a strong and authoritative global policy forum.
Hidden Threats: an analysis of intellectual property rights in EU-ACP economic partnership agreements: unveiling the hidden thr   more...
Contact: UKFG Date: 08/10/09
This briefing, written by Andrew Mushita of the Community Technology Development Trust for the public advocacy project "African smallholders in focus - a voice in EU trade policy", provides an overview of how international rules on IPRs, as proposed to be included in the EPA texts, add significant challenges and threats to securing food supplies, food sovereignty and the sustainable use and conservation of agricultural biodiversity, especially in African, Caribbean and Pacific countries.
European NGO members of CONCORD common position on the reform of the FAO Committee on Food Security (CFS)   more...
Contact: UKFG Date: 07/10/09
The European NGO members of Concord have been heartened by the steps towards more effective cooperation and coordination that have been taken by international institutions over the past months. Now the reform of the Committee on World Food Security (CFS) provides a decisive opportunity to set the global governance of food, agriculture and nutrition on a firm basis. As we move toward the final negotiations of the reform in the coming session of the CFS in Rome on 14-17 October the position of the European Union is crucial since its stance thus far has been generally supportive of the effort to transform the CFS into a strong and authoritative global policy forum.
UK Food Group contribution to the international development White Paper    more...
Contact: UKFG Date: 03/06/09
The UK Food Group (UKFG)1 2is making this submission to inform the preparation of the
White Paper. These comments refer to four of the five questions posed in the White Paper
consultation.

We argue that the UK government should include food and farming as an essential part of
this White Paper, but that is not enough. It is essential that the government is both bold and
radical in suggesting real and meaningful changes to the sustainable production and
distribution of food. We argue that it should facilitate the implementation, without delay, of
changes in its international development programme that will assist countries and
communities to realise food sovereignty. For example, the IAASTD report, which the
government approved, offers the way forward – sustainable agricultural production based on
the wise and prudent and sustainable use of our environment.
2008 monitoring report of the European Commission's proposal for Advancing African Agriculture (AAA)   more...
Contact: UKFG Date: 09/12/08
This report is drawn from research carried out by a number of European CSOs and published in a longer background document (see below).
Advancing African Agriculture - The Impact of European policies and practices on African Agriculture (background document)   more...
Contact: UKFG Date: 23/10/08
Monitoring Exercise by European Civil Society Organisations of the EC's "Advancing African Agriculture" (AAA): proposal for continental and regional level cooperation on agricultural development in Africa (COM(2007)440 final. AAA aims at providing strategic guidance for allocating European Development Fund (EDF) and other EC resources and for overall coordination of European support to African agriculture by all Member States.

Despite expressed concerns about the food crisis in Africa, European policies and practices are still negatively affecting African Agriculture - radical changes, in the direction of policy coherence above all; are needed urgently to support Africa's small-scale farmers so that Africa Can Feed Itself.

The overall conclusions and recommendations of this exercise are that:

Whatever positive steps have been taken by DG Development in implementing AAA (e.g. support for African farmer networks currently under negotiation) have been more than overshadowed by the negative impact of European policies in other areas (trade, investment, agriculture, agribusiness).Effective mechanisms for enhancing coherence of bilateral and multilateral European support have not been put in place. A clear framework for involving European CSOs and African farmers' organizations has not be developed despite recommendations in this regard by the General Council and the European Parliament, The November 2008 review by these bodies needs to address these deficiencies.

The current food crisis offers an opportunity for promoting AAA and rethinking paradigms for agricultural development, the architecture for the global governance of food and agriculture issues, and modalities of North/South partnerships in order to realize food sovereignty and secure local food supplies. EU has an extremely significant role to play in this context. to play this role authoritatively will require a far higher degree of coherence than presently obtains.

European civil society - working with African farmers' organizations and other African civil society sectors - has an important role to play in proposing alternative approaches, such as food sovereignty, monitoring implementation (at both global and country levels) and pointing to coherence issues that governments and intergovernmental institutions have difficulty in acknowledging.

It is important in coming years to involve sectors of European civil society not normally concerned about African agriculture, including family farmers, consumers, environmentalists, trade unions, and to win their support for coherent European policies that promote sustainable, equitable development for both European and African society.

The 2009 European Parliamentary elections offer an opportunity to bring these issues to the attention of a wider public.
Food Price Crisis : What needs to be done?   more...
Contact: UKFG Date: 22/10/08
The food prices crisis requires policy change, especially in the field of agriculture, based on the human right to food as well as short term and long term efforts in terms of aid governance.

Besides providing a short analysis of the causes of the current food price crisis and the impact they are having on the lives of the poorest, this document provides a critical outlook on the international responses already underway and sets out the main short, medium and long term policy responses necessary to tackle the crisis. The final part of the document details the calls to action by the EFSG regarding this crisis.
More Aid for African Agriculture: policy implications for small-scale farmers   more...
Contact: UKFG Date: 28/08/08
This report is a call to governments to increase Aid for small-scale African farmers in ways that will help them to feed their people, improve their livelihoods and sustain the environment.

Aid to improve local food production and consumption does not, however, appear to be the priority, despite the urgency of the food crisis.

The evidence presented in a report published today “More Aid for African Agriculture: policy implications for small-scale farmers” is that there is an apparent consensus among major donors to focus aid rather on five main issues that support economic growth and the liberalisation agenda: aid effectiveness; market- and private sector-led agricultural growth; exiting agriculture; improved governance; and African ownership of problems and solutions.
UK Food Group submission to IDC enquiry World Food Programme and Global Food    more...
Contact: UKFG Date: 14/05/08
UK Food Group submission to the International Development Committee - published July 2008.

Summary:
• This submission focuses on the need for improved cooperation, refocusing of goals and reorganisation of tasks between UN and other international agencies concerned with the governance of the global food system, including the Food and Agriculture Organisation, at a time of not only a food crisis, but also institutional crises in the agencies.
• It provides an historical overview through a selected overview of the, still relevant, outcomes of the 1974 World Food Conference and a review of the current context including the impacts of increased concentration of economic power in the food system; trade rules; climate change; food and health; water and waste; and agrofuels.
• It argues that a new approach to secure future food supplies is needed, one that is based on local control of food systems, securing locally-procured and accessible grain stores and building on the knowledge of the world’s main food providers – small-scale producers – that defends their production systems, which work with nature. The multilateral agencies will need to work more effectively together and with States and meso-level institutions to implement such approaches.
• It supports the idea of a meta-evaluation of the key global food agencies, subsequent consultation at national and regional levels on the results of such an evaluation and the formulation in a global meeting of proposals for an inclusive body, comprising both State and Civil Society actors, that could provide oversight, coherence and accountability of the different agencies.
• It also suggests that the IDC may wish to follow carefully the processes on Aid Effectiveness and the review of DFID’s 2005 agriculture policy that need to consider institutional coherence and cooperation.
Food crisis update   more...
Contact: UKFG Date: 14/05/08
Highlights about the global food crisis and some actions and events with which we are involved.
UK Food Group Annual Report 2007   more...
Contact: UKFG Date: 31/01/08
UK Food Group activities for the past year.
Food sovereignty principles   more...
Contact: UKFG Date: 03/01/08
The six principles of food sovereignty derived from Nyéléni 2007: forum for food sovereignty, and an article written for the Food Ethics Council Bulletin about this forum are in this document.
New Year 2008 message from UKFG Chair   more...
Contact: Patrick Mulvany Date: 03/01/08
Message highlighting events and challenges in 2008
Report UK World Food Day 2007    more...
Contact: UK Food Group Date: 06/11/07
“Defending Farmers and the Right to Food”
UK World Food Day 2007

FULL REPORT - 16pp PDF (550 kb)

The UK Food Group marked World Food Day on 16th October with a series of member-led seminars, briefings, publication launches and debates. The seminars and debates described how food providers should be integrated into decision making processes and could be better supported in order to realise the Right to Food and food sovereignty.
World Development Report 2008: Agriculture for Development   more...
Contact: UKFG Date: 29/10/07
The World bank has published its World Development Report 2008 "Agriculture an Development". The attached PDF file contains and links to comments by NGOs (Oxfam, Action Aid, IATP) as well as links to the contents of the full report.
Comments on DFID draft White Paper “Eliminating World Poverty”   more...
Contact: UKFG Date: 03/04/06
We welcome the opportunity to participate in the process to deliver a new White Paper this year to the extent that it will build upon and strengthen the initiatives and policies proposed in the previous two White Papers. Our support is also qualified by the extent to which the new White Paper will signal a decisive shift in the manner of
development assistance towards an inclusive, deliberative process of inclusion of poor women and men and their representative organisations in decision making about, and actions resulting from, aid policies and programmes.
Achieving fairness in trading between supermarkets and their agrifood supply chains   more...
Contact: UK Food Group Briefing Paper Date: 30/10/05
Authored by Anne Tallontire and Bill Vorley.
What are the prospects for fair trade to become the norm rather than exception for trading between supermarkets, their suppliers, and farmers at home and around the world?
That is the question asked in this paper, which comes at a time of widespread scrutiny of UK supermarkets and their influence on the livelihoods of food producers and suppliers. The paper reviews the opportunities and risks in incorporating fairness into supermarkets' trading practices. It concludes with a series of public policies, especially competition policy, that would be required to underpin fairness and equity in companies’ mainstream trading practices.
UKFG response to DFID consultation on “Productivity growth for poverty reduction: an approach to agriculture”   more...
Contact: UK Food Group Date: 12/10/05
The UKFG engaged with DFID in its consultation process on developing its new long-term agriculture and poverty reduction guidelines for its programmes and country offices, in particular facilitating responses from CSOs to its 14 working papers. The UK Food Group submitted it's response in September 2005.
FOOD SOVEREIGNTY: towards democracy in localized food systems   more...
Contact: Practical Action Publishing Date: 22/05/05
This paper was launched by the author, Michael Windfuhr, at a UK Food Group Seminar in June 2005.

"FOOD SOVEREIGNTY: towards democracy in localized food systems" by Michael Windfuhr and Jennie Jonsén, FIAN. ITDG Publishing - working paper. 64pp. 2005. Also available in Spanish.

The paper provides a comprehensive history, overview and analysis of the Food Sovereignty Policy Framework. Links to many key statements and documents produced over the past decade.

EU Competition Rules and Future Developments from the Perspective of Farmers and Small Suppliers   more...
Contact: UKFG Date: 31/03/05
This briefing by the British Institute for International and Comparative Law outlines the EU legal framework on competition policy. It specifies the opportunities for action that CSO’s can take at the national and European level, in order to curb the harmful impact of supermarket power on small farmers.
DFID’s Agriculture Review: UK Food Group seminar report   more...
Contact: UKFG Date: 10/12/04
Report on the UKFG seminar on 30th of November "DFID’s Agriculture Review" including the DFID and IIED presentations and our follow up letter to Hilary Benn.
Dialogue on Agricultural Trade Reform, Subsidies and the Future of Small and Family Farms   more...
Contact: UKFG Date: 01/04/04
This paper by Tom Lines is intended to serve as the main input to a conference on Agricultural Trade Reform, Subsidies and the Future of Small and Family Farms and Farmers, to be held in June 2004. It reports on a survey conducted for the U.K. Food Group (UKFG) / Sustain Working Group on Trade and Agriculture. An invitation to participate in the survey and associated dialogue was extended to numerous non-governmental organisations in October 2003.

Also see the list of submissions to the paper with links to the submission papers.
Food, Inc.
Corporate concentration from farm to consumer  
more...
Contact: Bill Vorley, UK Food Group Date: 30/10/03
This new report details the impact of buyer power on the food chain, notably detailing its impact on farmers and farm workers, both in the North and the South. It examines the impact of the growing concentration of those companies who trade, process, manufacture and sell agricultural goods and the impact on a range of commodities. The report also points to policies that can ensure more equitable trading relationships and provides options for re-balancing the markets.

Summary version of same document (text only) click here (35k)

For hard copies of the report, contact the UK Food Group
GM Crops and Developing Countries   more...
Contact: UKFG Date: 11/07/03
This 2-page briefing presents the UK Food Group's rebuttal of the biotech lobby's claims that GM crops are "necessary to eradicate hunger".

High res graphics version of same document click here (780k)
The UK Food Group   more...
Contact: UK Food Group Date: 20/01/03
Brochure about The UK Food Group. Explains the objectives, working methods and acheivements of the UK Food Group. Contains directory of contact details for member organisations.
Farmgate: the developmental impact of agricultural subsidies   more...
Contact: ActionAid Date: 31/08/02
Governments in rich countries are paying over $300 billion each year to subsidise their agricultural sectors. That's enough to to feed, clothe, educate and provide healthcare for every child on the planet.

In this report ActionAid uses examples from the wheat and sugar sectors to expose the double standards and damaging effects of subsidies.
The CAP doesn't fit   more...
Contact: UK Food Group / Sustain Date: 08/07/02
The European Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) must be transformed to embrace new social, environmental, animal welfare, rural and international development, and health objectives.
Common Agricultural Policy Briefing 2   more...
Contact: UK Food Group / Sustain Date: 01/07/02
Options for reform and their potential impact.
Common Agricultural Policy Briefing 1   more...
Contact: UK Food Group / Sustain Date: 01/02/02
How the CAP operates, the key commodities, competitors and markets for the EU.
Selling out: the cost of free trade for India’s food security   more...
Contact: UKFG Date: 01/12/99
An essay by Devinder Sharma: As the world’s leaders gather in Seattle to negotiate the World Trade Organisation’s (WTO) Agreement on Agriculture (AoA), this essay considers how free trade threatens the very foundations of India’s hard-won food security.
Hungry For Power   more...
Contact: UK Food Group Date: 31/03/99
Hungry for Power details the impact of food and agriculture transnationals on food security. Between then, the food and agribusiness corporations have huge control over every part of the food chain, from land to seeds, crops to chemicals, processing to marketing.

Hungry for power spotlights the activities of Nestle, Cargill, Monsanto, Chiquita, Zeneca and British American Tobacco - all are charged with undermining global food security.

address: UKFG, c/o Sustain, Development House, 56-64 Leonard Street, EC2A 4LT, UK
telephone: 0207 065 0879 email: ukfg@ukfg.org.uk

Last updated: 28/04/2011