Sunday, September 26, 2010


The incredible irony that pervades the bureaucratic world has been brought out recently by no less a person than one of the glorified international servants working with Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO). That the "lethal" combination of politicians and bureaucrats can stifle any initiative in favor of the helpless denizens through lobbying, prevarication, delays and lack of follow up action is brought out by the latest revelation from one of the responsible officials of FAO.

Maybe now, that the accusations come from the director of the FAO Animal Production and Health Division FAO, Dr Samuel C. Jutzi, more people will start to open their eyes to this problem. The official explained recently in London, UK, that the agricultural industry and the food production industry are the largest consumers of fresh water, some of the world's most important polluters, the largest threat to biodiversity, and the main reason why obesity exists today as an epidemic. Regardless of these negative effects they have on the world, corporations in these fields are allowed to get away with what they do simply because they have enough money to stifle the legislative and decision-making processes. The main mechanism of action that lobby groups use is the delay. Some norms have been jammed in various institution for years, while companies that would have been affected by them continue to thrive. They also prefer to "water down" proposed decisions, which means that they eliminate the points that would do most good to the world, and most harm to their quarterly profits. These groups are also successful because FAO's decision-making process is based on consensus. If two or three governments are persuaded not to vote for a measure, the decision is abandoned. "I have now been 20 years in a multilateral organization which tries to develop guidance and codes for good agricultural practice, but the real, true issues are not being addressed by the political process because of the influence of lobbyists, of the true powerful entities," Jutzi said.

The tortuous progress of the Food Safety Bill through the legislative arms in the US, in spite of the latest recall of half a billion Salmonella tainted eggs from the market, brings out more graphically the strangle-hold of vested interests on the policy makers in that country. The widespread use of genetically modified foods in the US is also a standing testimony to the economic clout of the powerful industry lobby which further illustrates the helplessness of common man in deciding his own destiny. While it is understandable that a country like the US can decide for itself what it wants, it is unfortunate that the influence of money is spreading on the international arena also affecting the fate of billions of people due to wrong and inappropriate decisions.

No comments: