Main Issues

The government should design a seed policy specific for smallholder farmers, says the ZIMSOFF farmers

b_350_0_16777215_00___images_zimsoff_seeds_2014071.jpg(Zimbabwe, Harare, July 21, 2014) on the 3rd of June, ZIMSOFF invited various stakeholders working on seeds in Zimbabwe to learn more and share its concerns about the proposed regional seed laws. The stakeholders included the government officials, private seed companies, African Regional Intellectual Property Organisation (ARIPO), Seed Trade Association, Agricultural Research Council, Seed Services Zimbabwe, Civil Society and Ministry of Agriculture. The meeting stimulated an interesting debate among the farmers, presenters and other participants.

The farmers highlighted that the SADC and COMESA processes are closed systems with minimal participation of CSOs and smallholder farmers, and thus, most of their issues such as the protection of indigenous knowledge systems and farmers’ rights, and the adoption of agro-ecology to achieve food sovereignty, have not been included in national and regional policies which affect their livelihoods.

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ZIMSOFF farmers review the implications of the proposed regional seed laws

b_350_0_16777215_00___images_zimsoff_2014061.JPG(Zimbabwe, Harare, July 18, 2014) ZIMSOFF organized a preparatory meeting on the 2nd of June to discuss the implications of the new regional seed policies, the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), Southern African Development Community (SADC) and Africa Regional Intellectual Organisation (ARIPO) namely the seed policy harmonization and Plant Variety Protection (PVP), on the smallholder farmers in Zimbabwe. Sixteen ZIMSOFF Council members (who also are farmers) and representatives from the African Centre for Biosafety (ACB) and Third World network (TWN) participated in the discussions aimed at building the capacity of the smallholder farmers to understand and defend their seed rights nationally.

The proposed regional seed policies, if adopted, will negatively impact on indigenous seeds which ZIMSOFF and La via Campesina promote. The COMESA seed protocol will open national borders through easing market and regulatory requirements on registered commercial seeds; while the SADC and ARIPO will promote the “commercial breeders’ rights” through Plant Variety Protection based on “DUS” (Distinctiveness, Uniformity, Stability). In general, the former, will flood both the regional and local markets with hybrid and genetic modified (GM) seeds and thus push out traditional seeds, the latter, recognizes and promotes commercial breeders and criminalize traditional breeders, who are peasant farmers. The ZIMSOFF Chairperson and La Via Campesina General Coordinator, Elizabeth Mpofu, in her opening remarks, urged the farmers to take these new developments seriously and hold the government accountable.

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Solidarity call with the people of Palestine


La Via Campesina
International Peasant Movement

La Via Campesina International -representing around 200 million farmers from 73 different countries around the world- condemns the Israeli war on Gaza and the crimes against the Palestinians that violate the international and humanitarian laws.

Since July 7th 2014, 214 Palestinians were killed, including at least 164 civilians of whom44 were children and 29 women. 1,585 Palestinians were injured of whom 435 are children and 282 are women. 1,660 homes were destroyed or severely damaged in Gaza directly displacing 9,900 persons.  22,600 were displaced people hosted at UNRWA schools. 900,000 people are without water supply due to inability to repair and operate infrastructure.

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Mozambique: “Agroecological farming came to stay in Marracuene” — say the farmers

b_350_0_16777215_00___images_africa_agroecologia.jpgLVC Africa News 

(Mozambique, Maputo, July 11, 2014) – the adoption of agroecological farming methods are there to stay among the farmers in Marracuene, south Mozambique. The farmers are members of Alfredo Nhamitete’s farming Association, which is part of the National Farmers Union (União Nacional de Camponeses — UNAC). This resolve resulted from a knowledge exchange visit between the local farmers and the visiting members of Zimbabwe’s Smallholder Organic Farmers Forum (ZIMSOFF) and La Via Campesina, on July 9. 

The 280 association members produce different food crops such as yam, carrot, cabbage, onion, kale, beans, lettuce, eggplant, among others. Part of the produce is sold at the local market, and the earnings are equally shared among the members. “With that money I can send my children to school, and buy them school supplies”, said a woman farmer, and member of the association. 

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Open Letter from Thailand's Assembly of the Poor

Subject: Invitation to observe and monitor the forced relocation of villagers and demolishment of the villagers’ properties in Noan Dingdaeng District, Buriram Province

Attention: Mass media, the academic, human rights activists and justice minded people

The Provincial Internal Security Operation Office of Buriram Province carried out an operation to solve the encroachment of Dong Yai Forest area following the National Peace and Order Maintaining Council (NPOMC) Order No. 64/2557 and the NPOMC Order No. 66/2557 by a joint operation team comprising of officers from the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation, the Royal Forestry Department, administrative officers, the Public Relations unit of the Provincial Internal Security Operation Office of Buriram and police from Noan Dindaeng District Police Station.

The operation team entered the area and did the public relations operation asking the encroachers to voluntarily leave the area. It laid out the following plan:

1. July 1-7, 2014: to inform the encroachers to leave the area voluntarily.

2. July 3, 2014: to call on leaders of every encroacher group and make them understand the stipulated measures.

3. The screening of encroachers based on specified qualifications in order to provide help according to conditions and criteria is to be finished by 7 July 2014.

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The Statement of Assembly of the Poor

Stop Tyrant and Abusive Actions against the Poor in Burirum province by the Royal Thai Army 2nd Regional Command 

Thai%20royal%20army%202014.png7 July, 2014 by voicefromthais

The National Peace and Order Maintaining Council (NPOMC) issued the National Peace and Order Maintaining Council (NPOMC) Order No. 64/2557 entitled Suppression and stop the encroachment and destruction of forest resources and the NPOMC Order No. 66/2557 entitle addition of government agencies for suppression and stop the encroachment and destruction of forest resources and interim policies on practices in the current situation. 

Accordingly on 28 June 2014, a fully armed force comprising of soldiers from the Royal Thai Army 2nd Regional Command, policemen and forest officers, approximately 50 persons, entered Kaobart Village, Nondindaeng District in Buriram province which is a member of Assembly of the Poor. This village has been in conflict on land and forest for a long time. The soldiers informed the villagers that the army wants to claim the land back after the harvest and wants them to dismantle their houses and leave the village. Otherwise the army will destroy their houses. On the same day the soldiers from the 2nd Regional Command took 10 leaders of the Siangsawan Village, Nondindaeng District in Buriram province, which is also a conflict area, under the detention.

Read more: The Statement of Assembly of the Poor

A victory on our path to an international declaration on the rights of peasants

Press release - La Via Campesina

b_350_0_16777215_00___images_Part_1.2.2.png(Switzerland, Geneva, June 27, 2014) On June 27th, the United Nations Human Rights Council Assembly passed a resolution authorising the continuation of the process of drafting an international declaration on the rights of peasants and other people working in rural areas. Bolivia is in charge of starting up informal consultations between States and civil society as well as organising the second session of of the Intergovernmental Open-Ended Working Group, which is scheduled to take place in November 2014.

The declaration project originated with the Via Campesina, and it is the fruit of ten years of work on the part of this international movement which is comprised of more than 164 organisations in 73 countries. The Via Campesina set itself the task of categorising the forms of discrimination suffered by people working in rural areas (peasants, agricultural workers, nomads and pastoralists, fishers, indigenous peoples, landless workers, etc.) and, with the support of organisations such as FIAN-international and CETIM (the Europe-Third World Centre), of defining the specific human rights applicable to their situation.

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