Does Covid-19 threaten our food security? For Pablo Servigne, who has worked for many years with the scenarios of collapse in our communities, it is time to learn all the lessons learned from the health and economic crisis caused by the pandemic. For starters, economic globalization is challenging while avoiding a return to state selfishness.
Pablo Servigne is an agronomist and biologist, author of many bestsellers in agroecology, collapse, resilience, mutual assistance and renewal of our civilizations. He is also co-editor of the magazine Yggdrasil, whose latest issue is devoted to food safety. In this interview with France 24, he calls on the states to develop new agricultural strategies to ensure food security for their population based on local realities. It advocates increased solidarity between nations for the dangers of climate change.
France 24: Should a strategy be implemented so that each country regains food autonomy?
Pablo Servigne: The food issue requires local, regional, national and global strategies. And even individually! The ideal would be to coordinate all this, but it is extremely complicated, hence the proposal of Alexandre Boisson and Stéphane Linou to start with what we know: the local, the territories and then move on to the other levels of coordination. If other countries do, that’s fine, and we need to start coordinating our efforts. Since strengthening the local area should not be seen as a withdrawal, especially in terms of resilience. On the contrary, you also need to know how to count on others in the event of errors. The key is that we have to eat first to help others …
How, then, can nations avoid withdrawing and continue to be united, for example, countries such as Algeria, Morocco or Egypt … that count on French wheat?
The decline of identity has been accelerated with Covid-19, and this is a major risk for the coming years. I do not lie in the diplomats’ secrets or in trade with other countries, and I believe that solidarity ties will be made on a case-by-case basis. Staying in solidarity means, firstly, helping others no longer be dependent on us, but all this goes against 50 years of neoliberal ideology and globalization! In general, in order to avoid withdrawal, it is imperative to avoid feelings of injustice, insecurity and mistrust … among the population, but also between the countries between them. In other words, it requires capital, security and trust. Everywhere. I let you extrapolate it to international relations …
>>> Read about the same topic : Collapsologists recommend breaking with agricultural globalization
The financial crisis in 2008 resulted in famines in some developing countries. Are you afraid of similar phenomena following the global economic crisis triggered by the Covid-19 pandemic?
Yes, but it will not be due to the high fuel prices nor the cereal products, which were excellent during this year 2020, it seems. Other signals are red: many economies and agricultural systems are destabilized by family incomes that have fallen, by farmwork that has been missing, by closed borders, by the catering sector that has closed, as some countries stop exporting, etc.
And other natural disasters are expected for this year, many of which will be climatic. Not to mention political and social conflicts, which will also destabilize supply chains. I think this year will be a good return to the local supply. In any case, I hope so, because we have no choice. Let us not forget that transport and trade are major greenhouse gas emissions and destroyers of biodiversity.
Does the Covid-19 crisis confirm what you wrote about the food system in the north that creates uncertainty in the south?
We do not have enough perspective on the effects of this pandemic yet. What we said, but we are not the only ones, is that the food systems in the Nordic countries, and in particular in Europe and the US, are highly subsidized, highly mechanized and industrialized, and therefore they export food in the south at very low prices, which destroys food crops in poorer countries.
It is deeply unfair! These countries then become dependent on our products and world trade, they go into debt and their farmers fill the slum. And we, here in France, do not even know how to feed, we have to import our vegetables from Spain! This globalization was really nonsense.
Find other parts of this series on food safety:
Collapseologists recommend breaking with agricultural globalization (1/3)