- Published on Tuesday, 31 May 2016 12:57
Since the early days of the WTO, farming has been one of the hottest potatoes in trade talks. The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) could have major impacts on farming and food production in the European Union, increasing risks of harmful effects to public health.
Corporate lobby groups on both sides of the Atlantic are pushing for more market access. This could have challenging effects on our food and farmers, as European and American food is produced to different standards of food safety, animal welfare and environmental protection. Civil society groups and farming organisations have expressed concern that the TTIP will lead to the further intensification and corporate concentration of agriculture on both sides of the Atlantic, threatening family farms’ survival and citizen’s health.
Joint Statement: 3rd OEIWG session on UN declaration on rights of peasants and other people working in rural areas
- Published on Monday, 30 May 2016 15:46
La Via Campesina, The International Union of Food, Agricultural, Hotel, Restaurant, Catering, Tobacco and Allied Wokers’ Association (IUF), World Forum of Fisher Peoples (WFPP), The World Alliance of Mobile Indigenous Peoples (WAMIP), Federation of Rural Adult Catholic Movement (FIMARC), Association Centre Europe-Tiers Monde (CETIM), FIAN International, Centro de Estudios Legales y Sociales (CELS), CSRC Nepal, PWESCR (Programme on Women’s Economic, Social and Cultural Rights) as well as SAFA (South Asian Feminist Alliance for ESCR) and other organisations that we will add afterwards in annex list
To the third session of the open-ended intergovernmental working group (OEIWG) on a United Nations declaration on the rights of peasants and other people working in rural areas
Geneva, Palais des Nations, Room XX
17-20 May 2016
We are representatives of peasants, indigenous peoples, pastoralists, fishers and rural workers from around the globe, between us representing many millions of rural people, from La Via Campesina along with CETIM, FIAN International and other human rights organizations. We have been constructively engaging this process of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Peasants and Other People Working in Rural Areas, from the field of pasture, our workplaces around the world and here in Geneva for many years. We strongly welcome the level of constructive support from cross-regions, from Latin America, Africa, Asia, Europe. We especially welcome the warm and effective leadership of Chair-rapporteur. It is worth taking note that delegates of UN member states extends their very strong contribution to the process.
- Published on Thursday, 26 May 2016 16:18
(Harare, May 10, 2016) Over the years, Zimbabwe Small Holder Organic Farmers' Forum (ZIMSOFF) has been campaigning against proposed seed laws that are designed to criminalise farmer-saved seed production and exchange. These laws are pushed through economic and political blocs. Blocs initially designed with good intent but are being used to push through unbeneficial schemes by a few but powerful member countries to as many countries as possible, bypassing individual nation legal processes.
Recently such is the case with the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) and the Southern African Development Community (SADC) in relation to seeds. The Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) seek to ease the distribution of commercial registered seeds among member countries, and the Southern African Development Community (SADC) to enforce the Plant Variety Protection (PVP) under conditions of UPOV1 1991.
Such measures adversely affect the “informal seed systems” – a traditional system where farmers are the keepers and savers of seeds. Over 80% of all seeds in Africa is still produced and exchanged through these “informal” traditional systems.
- Published on Wednesday, 25 May 2016 17:26
At a time where seed markets are dominated by large corporations, it is essential to focus on local peasant seed production. In the seeds sector hybrids are becoming the norm and we face an increased effort to declare genetically modified plants as safe, or to give the impression, with the help of “new breeding techniques”, that we are not talking about genetic engineering at all. Against these developments it is necessary to find possibilities to maintain and increase a peasant seed supply that is locally adapted. Extreme weather due to climate change, such as long lasting droughts, increase the need for locally adapted seeds that can react flexibly in uncertain conditions. Every farmer should have the possibility of a self-determined use of such seeds. Frequently though, the required varieties for the certain location of a farm are not bred, or are not permitted for sale. This is also due to the seeds legislation that contributes to a restriction of available seeds on the market.