Main Issues

A real system change has to come from below, says Paula Gioia, the European Youth ICC member of La Via Campesina

b_350_0_16777215_00_images_2016-02-09-paula_iss2.jpgClosing speech by Paula Gioia, the European Youth International Coordination Committee (ICC) member of La Via Campesina, at the International Institute of Social Studies (ISS) colloquium on Global governance/politics, climate justice & agrarian/social justice: linkages and challenges. 4-5 February 2016, The Hague, Netherlands

Firstly I would like to thank you all who were involved in the organisation of this great event. I also thank you for giving me this space to talk in the name of small scale farmers of the world. But I would like to say, that I see myself as just one of you. I could be Alberto, Ana, Henk, Midori, Sara, Jun, Ludwig, Sofia, Umut or any of you... Because I am pretty sure, that we all share similar values and are convinced that capitalism is rotten and is the origin of the multiple crises we are facing today. A real system change has to come from below. And I see that each of us plays a very important role in this process. Whatever sectors we belong to, I believe we are all working in one part of this big web.

It was great to share different concerns, struggles and strategies with you during these two days and to look ahead, in order to keep working together in a common plan of political changes. In this context of multiple crises, I can guarantee you, that we, small farmers, peasants, fisher folk, pastoralists, indigenous people, migrant workers of La Via Campesina will keep struggling for a system change. We will keep struggling against capital power and against patriarchalism. We will keep struggling in order to establish social, financial, climate, environmental and nutritional justice in our common planet.

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Citizens and consumers are changing says Hanny van Geel at ISS Conference

b_350_0_16777215_00_images_2016-02-08-Hanny_ISS.jpgBelow is the speech delivered by Hanny van Geel at the International Institute of Social Studies (ISS) colloquium on Global governance/politics, climate justice & agrarian/social justice: linkages and challenges. 4-5 February 2016, The Hague, Netherlands

I am rooted in farming, until 5 years ago I have spent all my life on a farm. My parents had a mixed farm. With my husband we had an organic farm with vegetables.

My first political act was in 1974 writing protest slogans on old bedsheets and paper that we attached to my father’s tractor. He and his colleagues were going to block the roads the next day. It was on the national news and in the newspapers. 30,000 farmers were in the streets for protest.

My father and the other farmers were in protest for the lowering of the price of wheat. In that period new Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) was going to be adapted and the fixed prices and import protection were going to be lowered. At that time the wheat price was €0.25/kg.

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S. Korea should stop sacrificing agriculture says Namki baek’s daughter at ISS conference, The Hague

b_350_0_16777215_00_images_2016-02-08_ISS_baek_presentation.jpgFebruary 5, 2016: The Hague, Netherlands 

In solidarity, LVC delegates invited Minjuhwa Baek to speak about her father and the South Korean situation at the just ended International Institute of Social studies (ISS) Global Governance Seminar (February 4 and 5) at The Hague. Below is her presentation.

My father has fought for farmers' rights as a member of the Korean Catholic Farmers' movement since 1986.

Last year on November 14th he attended the demonstration in Seoul, South Korea to demand the government to raise the rice price as president had promised during the president's election pledge.

Last year, the rice price fell to the same level as 20 years ago.

Government has sacrificed agriculture for joining international treaty like TPP (trans-pacific strategic Economic Partnership) or making free trade agreements with other countries. That's why rice price is falling down and farmers in South Korea are in critical danger.

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Major Farmer Unions of India Reject GM Mustard

Ask Javadekar not to allow GEAC to proceed with its Secret Meeting to process GM Mustard Application on Feb.5th

(New Delhi, February 3rd, 2016) All major farmer unions of India, in a joint statement, have slammed the Minister for Environment, Forests and Climate Change for allowing the regulatory body for transgenics to meet on February 5th to decide on the fate of GM mustard. They demanded that the secret meeting of the regulator be cancelled immediately by the Minister. “All major mustard growing states in India, including BJP-ruled states, heeding to citizens’ voices and scientific advice, have come out against GM mustard.  They have also expressed concern about the secretive processes adopted by the regulators and for not putting out biosafety data in the public domain. The Supreme Court has issued notices to the Centre’s regulators on a contempt petition. Despite all of this, Prakash Javadekar is allowing Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee (GEAC) to hold its meeting to process the GM mustard application on Friday (Feb.5th). It makes us wonder what and wherefrom is the need and pressure emerging from”, they said. They objected to the secretive manner in which the government is proceeding on this matter, without public scrutiny of data or any public consultations including with farmers’ unions, despite the GMO being created ostensibly for farmers’ benefit.

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Saeed Baloch, Advocator for Fishermen’s Rights, Arrested in Pakistan

2016 Fisher arrest.jpgReal World RadioJanuary 26,  2016

Saeed Baloch, veteran activist and campaigner for fishermen’s rights in Pakistan, was arrested on the 16th of January 2016 by Pakistani forces. Hemantha Withanage, Executive Director at the Center for Environmental Justice and a member of Friends of the Earth Sri Lanka, spoke with Real World Radio about the charges (or lack thereof) brought against Baloch and claims the incarceration is believed to be illegal and unjust.

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La Via Campesina, Building an International Movement for Food and Seed Sovereignty

2016-02-03-Elizabeth Mpofu.jpgAn Interview with General Coordinator Elizabeth Mpofu [1]

February 2, 2016 

By Simone Adler (Other Worlds)

Who we are fighting for is every single peasant farmer – more than 200 million – on the planet. People are eager to join hands in building a global voice.

Transnational corporations are pushing policies in African countries for industrial farming and the use of GMO [genetically modified] seeds, while grabbing our land and [stealing] our natural resources.  No one should come and tell us how to produce food. 

In Via Campesina, we believe in controlling our land and seeds and producing the healthy food that we want, the way we want. Our response is to fight for food sovereignty against these transnational corporations that are connected to the [New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition of the] G8, the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa, the World Trade Organization, and free trade agreements that don’t recognize the needs of peasants or the poor.

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Dairy Crisis: Enough evaluations, it’s high time for the Commission to act

b_350_0_16777215_00_images_2016-02-03-EU_Milk_Crisis.jpgPress Release

Brussels, 2 February 2016

At the height of a crisis that has ruined thousands of dairy producers across Europe, the European Commission has once again chose to delay action, and opted for its usual practice of consultations, evaluations and studies.

Claiming it is part of a larger effort to improve existing legislation, the EC has recently sent out a questionnaire to producer and agricultural organisations, alleging that by inquiring on the benefits and difficulties of the “Milk Package”, the survey will improve its implementation in the field.

ECVC believes that the current crisis of the milk sector and the desperate situation of milk producers demands measures that are well beyond the European Commission’s conventional procedures of postponing decisions due to further studies, evaluations and the convening of experts to analyse what is clear to everyone: the complete failure of the measures contained in the “Milk Package”.

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