May 18, 2017
The independent family farming, ranching and fishing members of the National Family Farm Coalition have watched their incomes drop, their markets close and their communities deteriorate since the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) passed in 1993. It is time for a new and fair trade agreement that supports independent farmers and fishermen and does not exploit workers or the environment for the unwarranted profits of multinational agribusinesses.
The three countries engaged in NAFTA have an opportunity to set down new rules that allow communities – not international corporations and transnational agribusinesses – to determine how to protect and promote local food systems. These rules would enable the restoration of Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) and strategic food reserves while preventing countries from dumping excess crops on other countries. In addition, countries would have the ability to reject intellectual property rights or other provisions that preclude farmers from saving and sharing seeds as well as any that expedite the approval of genetically modified organisms without assessing their safety and environmental impacts.
There is too much at stake for the US government to renegotiate NAFTA. The dedicated family farmers, fishermen and workers in all three countries deserve fair prices, living wages and the opportunities to help their families and communities thrive, not merely survive on the leftovers discarded by multinational agribusiness corporations.
Contact: Lisa Griffith, National Family Farm Coalition; 202/543-5675, firstname.lastname@example.org