Food Sovereignty and Trade

Fighting for food

Farmers are putting their lives on the line in the struggle to grow our food. Ben O’Hanlon, Senior International Programmes Officer (Food Justice) at War on Want, explains. This article was first carried by New Internationalist and later by  War on Want 

This 17 April is the 20th annual International Day of Peasants’ and Farmers’ Struggle. It is also a solemn reminder of the risks that millions of farmers face in their seemingly innocuous ambition to simply grow and sell food.

Twenty years ago, on 17 April 1996, 19 farmers, members of the country’s Landless Workers’ Movement, were killed in the Brazilian state of Pará as they tried to occupy an unproductive ranch near Eldorado dos Carajás. Military police opened fire on the protestors, resulting in one of the worst massacres of modern Brazilian history. Two more farmers died from their injuries in the following days, and hundreds were seriously injured.

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The Right to Food Sovereignty – public peasant consultation

2016-04-15-ECOS Rurals PosterFB_EN.pngConference invitation

Eco Ruralis Association together with partners, have the pleasure to invite you to the Conference for The Right to Food Sovereignty – public peasant consultation – on 24 April, 2016, starting at 11:30 am, at the Conference Center of the National Statistics Institute of Romania (Libertății Bvd., no. 16, sector 5, Bucharest).

It will be the first time that Romania hosts a Food Sovereignty event, putting peasants in the center of decisions for the future of farming and food.

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UAWC concluded the second phase from "Deprived Families Economic Empowerment Program"

b_350_0_16777215_00_images_2016-04-11-UAWC_Project.jpg(Ramallah, April 4, 2016) the Union of Agricultural Work Committees concluded the second phase from "Deprived Families Economic Empowerment Program" (DEEPII). Which is targeted 60 families from the governorates of Tulkarm, Qalailia, and Salfit through small income-generating projects.

The UAWC's project Coordinator, Mohamed Yassin, confirmed that the project aims at improving the standards of living for Palestinian families by supporting the economic growth for the targeted families, and reducing the unemployment rate, thus, improving the standards of livings in the Palestinian society, pointing out that the project began in February 2015 and continues to the end of the month of April 2016.

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When there is an advance in food sovereignty in one part of the world, our entire movement advances

b_350_0_16777215_00_images_016-04-04-Uniterre1.jpg(Harare, March 21st, 2016) Nearly ten years ago, a forum was held in the village of Nyéléni at Sélingué in Mali which brought together over 500 people from more than 80 countries representing organisations of: farmers and peasants; traditional fisherpeople; native peoples; rural workers; migrants; landless people; pastoralists; forest communities; women; youth; and consumer, environmental, and urban movements. At the forum, they drafted the Nyéléni Declaration, which made a clear restatement of the principles of food sovereignty and highlighted the importance for everyone to work for a world where “food sovereignty is considered a basic human right, recognised and implemented by communities, peoples, states, and international bodies.” 

During the years since the Nyéléni Forum, there have been a number of efforts to have food sovereignty recognised at various levels. But it has been very difficult to ensure that the interpretations of food sovereignty in these official texts reflect its true meaning.

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One year after the end of milk quotas: assessing the destruction, accountability nowhere in sight

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Brussels, 1 April 2016

In light of the anniversary of the removal of milk quotas

ECVC demands political responsibilities from those who decided and supported the removal of milk quotas because of the devastation, hardship and death it has brought upon thousands of farms in Europe.

A year after the elimination of the quota system, laid bare the lies and siren songs given to the European dairy sector, the situation cannot be bleaker.

To this severe and unprecedented situation, not only suffered today by small and medium farms but large ones as well, we can add the ineffectiveness, procrastination and hypocrisy being used today by those policy makers responsible for eliminating the quota system, very well aware of the dire consequences they would bring to the dairy sector.

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Incapable of responding to the dairy crisis, the European Commission faces international peasant farmer delegation

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3 March 2016, Brussels

A delegation of member organisations of the European Coordination Via Campesina (ECVC), from Portugal, Spain, France and Belgium, met yesterday the cabinet of Commissioner of agriculture Phil Hogan to express its impressions regarding the dramatic situation suffered by dairy producers and present its approach to end the crisis.

ECVC has made the alarming assessment that the dairy sector faces serious difficulties. Between 1984 and 2011 Europe lost 80% of its dairy producers. In 15 years, the size of the agriculture exploitation in Europe has more than doubled. ECVC is sounding the alarm: we cannot accept that the adjustment of milk production in Europe nowadays be made by eliminating thousands of dairy farmers.

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European dairy farmers facing an untenable situation since 2014

b_350_0_16777215_00_images_2016-02-15-yacineFRpaquet_lait.jpgTo the Presidency of the EU Council of Ministers of Agriculture

 Brussels, 11th February 2016

SUBJECT: POSITION OF THE EUROPEAN COORDINATION VIA CAMPESINA ON THE SITUATION OF THE DAIRY SECTOR AHEAD OF THE EU COUNCIL OF MINISTERS OF AGRICULTURE MEETING THE 15TH FEBRUARY 2016

Dear Martijn VAN DAM,

On the occasion of the meeting of the EU Council of Ministers of Agriculture to be held next week in Brussels, ECVC wants to share with you its major concern regarding the unprecedented deep crisis European dairy producers are facing. It is our intention that on February 15th immediate action is taken within the Council to remedy this situation.

Since mid-2014, European dairy farmers are facing an untenable situation. Due to the prospect of deregulated dairy markets in the EU (taken on by most EU Member States), and the elimination of the milk quota system in April 2015, the volumes of milk offered in most European countries began to increase. The out-of-control surplus state of affairs we are in has been aggravated by the conduct of some dairies industries and companies of European distribution. Their abuse of the dominant position in the food supply chain has been reinforced as a result of the removal of the quota system- a decision whose terrible consequences for producers have not been curbed through the implementation of the Milk Package.

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