German NGO says TTIP will undermine global food security

The German aid organisation Brot für die Welt warns that a planned EU-US free trade agreement known as TTIP will undermine local support for smallholders in developing countries and exacerbate the global food crisis. EurActiv Germany reports.

The planned Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) between the EU and the US threatens the concept of sustainable food security, the development NGO Brot für die Welt announced at a presentation of its annual report, in Berlin.

Development politicians agree: The key to fighting world hunger is strengthening smallholders in developing and newly industrialised countries.

"With the planned TTIP agreement, the EU and US are not only defining rules on trade between each other, but indirectly also respective trade with third states," said Cornelia Füllkrug-Weitzel, President of Brot für die Welt.

The two large trade powers "could intensify pressure on states outside the agreement to give up protection and support for their own markets," the aid worker said.

Support for regional food products under question

Füllkrug-Weitzel indicated Brazil’s national local procurement programme as an example, which supplies preschools and schools with regional food products for their meals.

If TTIP comes into force, international food corporations could sue such a cafeteria programme due to "illegal, trade distorting measures" that contradict the interests of free trade, Füllkrug-Weitzel explained. Local farmers would lose purchases guaranteed through such programmes and, in the worst case, even be left with no land in the end.

As of now, Füllkrug-Weitzel said there is no precedent case. But TTIP is not yet in force, she stated. "Adding one and one together" is enough to predict something like this will occur, said the organisation president. After all, the agreement aims at penetrating local markets, the NGO chief indicated.

"Through the free trade agreement, the EU and the US want to make it possible for large food companies and agribusinesses to penetrate small, local markets that have been protected so far", said Füllkrug-Weitzel, referring to a confidential paper from the US Congress that was leaked to the public recently.

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