- Published on Tuesday, 21 October 2014 20:58
(Zimbabwe, Masvingo, Otober 20, 2014) Food sovereignty as a concept is under debate by various actors in the academia, activists and governments. The focus has been on its meaning and implications, some of which is still contested by some actors. This year a “Critical Dialogue on Food Sovereignty” was held at the Hague in January, attended by various actors to debate this important concept. It’s various outcomes have been published recently by the Journal of Peasant Studies (JPS), of which some of the articles are freely available (http://www.tandfonline.com/loi/toc/fjps20/41/6) though for a short time.
According to Elizabeth Mpofu in her opening speech (Via Campesina at the colloquium “Food Sovereignty: a critical dialogue”) at The Hague, she said that “We are not trying to create the perfect definition, for a dictionary or for a history book but we are trying to build a movement to change the food system and the world”. This has been the case with farmers at Shashe, where food sovereignty, it various pillars, is alive. The farmers have over the years developed ways to make food sovereignty a reality. These farmers produce adequate food for own consumption, the surplus traded locally, value addition processes are underway and are trying to remove the chains of dependence on agro-inputs by adopting agroecology.
- Published on Tuesday, 21 October 2014 20:42
(Zimbabwe, Masvingo, October 20, 2014) Zimbabwe Small Organic Farmers Forum (ZIMSOFF) represents smallholder farmers practicing organic agriculture in Zimbabwe, a practice promoted through participatory ecological land use planning and management, and encourages value addition to uplift the welfare of members. The organization has about 19,000 smallholder farmers organized in four clusters, namely the western, eastern, northern and central. These clusters are made up of 64 Smallholder Farmer Organizations (SFOs) which nurture dynamic alliances. Shashe SFO, where the Agroecology School is located, is under the central cluster. Shashe farmers are beneficiaries of the Fast Track Land Reform Programme implemented by the Government of Zimbabwe in 2000. They are part of the 380 official land beneficiaries resettled in 2000 at the Shashe block of farms, which covers about 15,020 hectares. Of this area, about 23% was allocated for residential and arable purposes, the rest is grazing. The area is generally dry, receiving about 400mm of annual rainfall, and has deep soils (sandy loams, red clays and a mixture of the two). It was mainly used for ranching by the former white farmers. The new farmers have broadened the land use as they are now producing both crops and livestock
At Shashe farmers employ various agroecological practices to ensure food sovereignty, mitigate climate change effects and reduce dependence on bought-in agro-inputs thus retaining farm income within the family’s purse. These practices include the use of organic manure, mulching, minimum tillage, multiple cropping, exchange and use of traditional seeds and open pollinated varieties, among others.
- Published on Tuesday, 21 October 2014 15:25
Holly Creighton-Hird (Original article posted on www.theecologist.org)
19th October 2014
Family farming is a hot topic this year. The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations has declared 2014 the International Year of Family Farming. And last week, family farming was the focus of World Food Day 2014.
Of course there's is no guarantee that a family farm is well-run or sustainable. But the best farms - those that best preserve traditional food and culture, contribute to balanced and culturally appropriate diets, maintain agricultural biodiversity and use natural resources sustainably - tend to be family farms.
- Published on Friday, 17 October 2014 16:03
La Via Campesina Press Release
(Rome October 15th, 2014) The delegation of La Via Campesina, gathered in Rome for the 41st session of the Committee on World Food Security (CFS), recognizes the CFS as the major international forum for debate and decision making on agricultural and food issues. LVC urges governments to take urgent action in favor of peasant and indigenous agriculture, which is the only model capable of feeding the world. On the occasion of World Food Day, we restate our commitment to struggle for Food Sovereignty as a solution to the multiple crises affecting our societies. We reaffirm our commitment to the recognition and enforcement of peasant rights.
The celebration of the 10th anniversary of the Guidelines on the Right to Food has shown a huge gap between rights and their priority, respect, and application in reality. In this sense, LVC expressed deep disappointment with the lack of commitment to the application of the Guidelines.
- Published on Monday, 13 October 2014 15:33
AGAINST GMOs which Destroy Biodiversity and Rob Peasants of their Rights! ENSURE Peasants’ Right to Save Indigenous Seeds and Maintain Food Safety!
(Pyeongchang, Korea, October 2, 2014) MOP-7 (the 7th Meeting of the Parties to the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety) is being held in Pyeongchang from September 29th to October 3rd. We are here to address the government delegations of all of the countries, on behalf of the peoples of the world.
We are against GMOs, as they only benefit a few corporations and capitalist interests!
GMO seeds only exist to benefit a few corporations. GMOs were invented solely as profit-making products. It is claimed that GMOs are the result of scientific hybridization technology that has been developed in order to solve the food and climate crises. However, these assertions are not true. GMOs destroy biodiversity and people’s livelihoods. Moreover, transnational corporations try to gain a monopoly over seeds by means of intellectual property rights and patents. However, it is the hands of peasants that have nurtured seeds, and it is the right of peasants to have access to seeds and control over their use.
- Published on Monday, 13 October 2014 15:19
Korean Women Peasants Association- Press Release
(Pyeongchang, Korea, October 1, 2014) The CBD COP MOP7 (the 7th Meeting of the Parties to the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety), which started on September 29th, is being held here in Pyeongchang, Korea. Right in front of the conference venue, there is an exhibit of GM fluorescent silkworms that have been developed by the Rural Development Administration. These GM fluorescent silkworms, the subject of a Rural Development Administration study in 2011, were created from the eggs of silkworms into which genes from South American jellyfish were injected; these genes give rise to fluorescence green silk thread. As the Rural Administration has a plan to diversify the colors of silkworms, the GM green fluorescent silkworms are just a beginning. Last February, the GM Commercialization Team organized by the Rural Development Administration held a discussion meeting on how to apply agricultural biotechnology. When describing the national and international situations with regard to GM crop commercialization, they made ludicrous remarks, echoing those of GM developers in the US, such as “GMOs mean less pesticides”, and “The US would not have grown GM crops if there were any danger to the environment from GM crops”. There was a great deal of criticism from farmers' organizations and civil society organizations. At the very moment that we are speaking, there is ongoing GM development in Korea, and the volume of imports of GMOs for research and study is growing.
We, women peasants from all over the country, have gathered here in Pyeongchang, to raise our voice in opposition to GMOs and to support the struggles of the farmers who are preserving indigenous seeds.
- Published on Friday, 10 October 2014 18:06
(Mozambique, Maputo, October 1, 2014) Lack of access to markets by women farmers to trade their agricultural produce leads to the sale of their produce at low prices, and the seizure of their lands by mining companies are some of their main concerns raised during the III International Conference of Farmers and Soil, held in Maputo. The event attracted several movements including women farmers from the northern, central and southern regions of the country and the representatives of the Ministries of Agriculture and Technology.
The farmers’ movement, mostly represented by female leaders, used the platform to expose major issues affecting them.
In almost all provinces, they rely on agriculture to support their families and they face many difficulties in doing so. According to Rita Rizuane, farmer leader and member of the Board of Directors of the UNAC, one of the current concerns is related to the lack of access to markets for their agricultural produce nationally and regionally. Thus, some of their products particularly crops such as tomatoes spoil easily, resulting in the loss of income as farmers are forced to sell their products at very low prices.