Biodiversity and Genetic Resources
- Published on Thursday, 21 November 2013 18:41
Peasant seeds, and seed diversity are at the root of food sovereingty
As countless farmers, farmworkers, urban growers, and consumers across the globe celebrated the International Day of Action for Food Sovereignty in October, an overwhelming number are celebrating seeds as pilar for food sovereignty. Afterall, according to ETC Group, 80-90% of seeds are sourced outside of commercial markets, that is to say through peasant seed systems, and farm-saved seeds. In the new publication, Our Seeds Our Future La Via Campesina chronicles ten experiences of peasant seed selection, saving, improvement, and re-use. These experiences in recovering and reproducing knowledge to improve peasant agricultural food production are mirrored by multitudes more in Africa, Asia, Europe and the Americas.
The experiences spotlighted in the publication are examples of true food sovereingty in action, in contrast to monoculture and industrial farming methods that, as stated in a recent UNCTAD report, are not providing sufficient affordable food where needed while causing mounting environmental damage.
- Published on Wednesday, 20 November 2013 17:26
La Via Campesina – African Declaration on Peasant Seeds
(Harare, November 13, 2013) We, African men and women farmers, members of La Via Campesina, have gathered at the Fambidzanai permaculture centre in Zimbabwe from the 12th to the 14th November to discuss and prepare our work for the defence of African peasant seeds against the current corporate and institutional attacks.
For us, small-scale farmers, seeds are the foundation of life. They are a key part of cultures developed by past generations and carry the acquired knowledge of farming communities worldwide. They are part of a constant process of recreation. Peasant seeds are the heritage of the peasant communities who use them to feed the world. They are the basis of our food sovereignty. Without seeds farmers have no autonomy.
- Published on Friday, 15 November 2013 15:18
LVC Africa News from the continental meeting on seeds
(Harare, November 14, 2013) At the African seeds meeting in Harare, Zimbabwe, November 12-14, peasant farmers held rich discussions about the growing threat of external investment in African agriculture, including multinational seed companies and ongoing efforts to exploit African land and resources for the production of food for other parts of the world.
Participants at the meeting expressed alarm about the push for industrial agriculture throughout Africa by corporations and their partners, including initiatives such as the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), the G8 New Alliance on Food Security and Nutrition. Some African states are supporting similar initiatives through the African Union, the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) and the Comprehensive African Agricultural Development Program (CAADP). Africa was bypassed by the first Green Revolution – the introduction of hybrid seed, synthetic agri-chemicals, irrigation and credit – that resulted in massive loss of farmers’ seed diversity in other parts of the global South.
- Published on Wednesday, 13 November 2013 16:51
LVC Africa News
(Harare, November 13, 2013) Seed diversity, created by peasants over centuries, is in danger of disappearing and the diversity of seeds that remain is increasingly threatened by large international corporations, most of them coming from the agrichemical sector. In Africa, different forces are converging to grab peasant seeds and undermine their diversity and the knowledge and practices associated with them.
At the Fambidzanai Permaculture Centre, an area rich in biodiversity, situated 20 kilometers west of Harare, Zimbabwe, African peasants are gathering November 12th - 14th to discuss and exchange information on the values of their traditional African seeds, since they believe they must be defended. Various participants at the meeting have highlighted the fact that their knowledge, practice and seeds are not obsolete or backward.
- Published on Thursday, 03 October 2013 15:45
(Oman, September 30) La Via Campesina welcomes the adoption, on 28 September 2013, by the Governing Body of the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture, also known as the seed treaty, of a resolution calling on states to implement and support Farmers’ Rights, ie the rights of peasants and farmers over their own seeds.
The resolution was adopted through the concerted pressure of regional groups of countries from Latin America and the Caribbean, and Africa and the Middle East, along with many Asian and European countries, and in spite of opposition from a handful of industrialized nations.
- Published on Wednesday, 25 September 2013 20:46
Press release of La Via Campesina
(Oman, 24 September 2013). This week, from 24 to 28 September, witnesses the opening in Oman of the Fifth Session of the Governing Body of the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture, also known as the seed treaty. The treaty was ratified to facilitate access for all to seed diversity. However, the hopes raised on the occasion of its adoption in 2001 have been dashed and have led only to failure.
Actually the treaty has allowed the seed industry to draw freely and without charge from the huge wealth of seeds accumulated through centuries of selection by peasants and to lock up this wealth in private collections. At the same time, public collections that are accessible to all are disappearing one after the other, and the fundamental right of peasants and small-scale farmers to access, use, exchange and sell their own seeds is being criminalized. If men and women farmers and peasants can no longer save and select their own seeds, their systems of production will lose their capacity to adapt to climate change. It is not only biodiversity but the food security of the entire planet that is at risk.
- Published on Tuesday, 24 September 2013 15:58