Main Issues

In the Year of Family Farming: Food Sovereignty is the Framework for Family Farm Resilience

Press release of La Via Campesina North America

b_350_0_16777215_00___images_stories_sustainableagriculture_colline_du_chene.jpg(Quevec city, April 9, 2014)- Family farmers Joan Brady (National Farmers Union of Canada), Ben Burkett (National Family Farm Coalition) and Maxime Laplante (Union paysanne) represented the voices of women, minority, and smaller scale farmers in the U.S. and Canada on April 7th and 8th at the North American Dialogue on Family Farming in Quebec City. All three organizations are members of the world’s largest small and medium-scale farmer and agricultural worker movement, La Via Campesina, which has members in over 70 countries, including seven in North America.

Read more: In the Year of Family Farming: Food Sovereignty...

ARIPO’s Draft Protocol for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants (“DRAFT Protocol”) Undermines Farmers’ Rights, Lacks Credibility & Legitimacy

Open letter to members of the international convention for the protection of new varieties of plants (UPOV)

Dear UPOV Members,

(9th April 2014) We the undersigned organizations from Africa and around the world are concerned with the conservation of agricultural biodiversity for livelihood security and food sovereignty, promoting farmers’ rights and citizen involvement in the decision-making process. The undersigned organizations would like to express serious concerns with the ARIPO Draft Protocol that has been submitted by ARIPO (African Regional Intellectual Property Organization) on 6 March 2014, for the consideration of the UPOV Council at its 31st Session in Geneva on 11 April 11, 2014.

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NFU Proposes New Vision for Canadian Seed Ownership

b_350_0_16777215_00___images_stories_biodiversity_NFUlogoscaled.jpg(January 20, 2014- Saskatoon, SK):  Bill C-18, the Agricultural Growth Act favours further consolidation of the seed industry into a few corporate hands, which will end up costing farmers more for seeds of all types.

“The government is selling the ag omnibus legislation as ‘the only way’ to provide the new plant varieties that farmers need to maintain their competitive advantage,” says Terry Boehm, Chair of the NFU’s Seed and Trade Committee. “We – and many other farmers and progressive thinkers in the world – know that there are other ways to ensure that farmers have access to new seed varieties in ways that do not compromise either our national sovereignty or our control over seeds and, therefore, over our food.”

The NFU has put forward Fundamental Principles for a Farmers’ Seed Act which recognizes the inherent rights of farmers to save, reuse, select, exchange and sell seeds, while protecting public domains related to plant seeds. The principles build on Canada’s 2002 signing of the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture, by which farmers would retain their “customary” use of seed.

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Canada : A Seed Act for Farmers, Not Corporations

NFU sign on letter :  Stop Bill C-18

Dear Friends,

Canada's government is preparing to pass a new law, Bill C-18, the Agricultural Growth Act, that would put Canadian farmers under the UPOV '91 Plant Breeders' Rights regime.  This new law would give global seed corporations vast new power to control seed - and to profit from it on the backs of farmers.

The National Farmers Union is working hard to stop this from happening.

You can help by signing on to the letter below in solidarity with the farmers of Canada.

Read more: Canada : A Seed Act for Farmers, Not Corporations

On April 17 We Defend our Seeds and Fight Against the Seed Industry

Why do we defend Peasant Seeds?

b_350_0_16777215_00___images_stories_biodiversity_logoMiriam_enscaled.jpgThis year we dedicate the 17th of April, international day of peasant struggles, to the defense of seeds. Seeds are an essential basis for achieving food sovereignty because almost everything in agriculture depends on them: What we can plant and how it is grown; the quality and nutrition of our food, our ability to account for different tastes and cultural preferences; and also the wellbeing of our communities, our ecosystems and the planet. In this article we explain why this implies not so much the defense of seeds as such but especially the defense of peasant seeds—that is, seeds that remain in the hands of the peasant and family farmers of the world. We also give some examples of how we are carrying out this defense among the organizations in the 73 countries that make up La Vía Campesina.

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International Statement on the current situation in Mozambique

The undersigning international organizations express concern about massive displacements and widespread violence in the Mozambican countryside and call the Mozambican government and the international community to respect and protect the rights of the Mozambican peasants.

The National Union of Mozambican Peasants (UNAC for the abbreviation in Portuguese) issued a press release on February 13, 2014 condemning killings, massive forced displacements and the general climate of violence that the Mozambican rural population is increasingly facing. UNAC expresses grave concern about the deterioration of peace that was achieved in Mozambique 21 years ago after a civil war that lasted 16 years. According to testimonies received by UNAC from its members in affected regions, the widespread attacks and military clashes between alleged armed men of the Mozambican National Resistance (Renamo) and the Mozambican military forces are severely affecting not only the security of the Mozambican peasants but also their ability to till their lands and to attend to their agricultural activities - all of this with serious impacts on the upcoming harvest and the food sovereignty of Mozambique. In particular, UNAC highlights the situation of  69,000 peasant families (approximately 345,000 persons) directly and indirectly affected by forced displacement, harassments and threats in the following areas: Machanga, Chibabava, Maringué, Gorongosa, Nhamatanda and Dondo districts in Sofala province; Moatize district in Tete province; Macossa em Manica, Rapale and Mecuburi in Nampula province; Homoine, Funhalouro and Vilanculos in Inhambane province.

Read more: International Statement on the current...

Philippines : The government’s failure to redistribute land to the rural poor.

b_350_0_16777215_00___images_stories_agrarianreform_philippinesfarmers.jpg(Manila, March 12, 2014) Up to 300 farmers from five northern provinces descended on Manila on Wednesday to mark the start of Lent with a rally to protest against the government’s failure to redistribute hundreds of thousands of hectares of land to the rural poor.

Labeling themselves the “calvary of peasants,” the protesters symbolized their hardship by carrying crosses to the offices of the Department of Agrarian Reform in Quezon City.

“Small farmers have been systematically neglected,” said protest leader Jaime Tadeo.

Read more: Philippines : The government’s failure to...

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