Youth and agriculture


The new edition of the Nyéléni Newsletter is now online! Click here to read the English edition.  In this edition of the newsletter the Youth of La Via Campesina call to the youth of the world - to educate, mobilize and organize for Food Sovereignty now!

Read about the struggles and visions of young people for building a radical new society.    

MST's youth define struggles for the next period

VIth MST Congress - 10 to 14 of February, 2014

b_350_0_16777215_00_images_youthmst.jpg11th February 2014,  The challenge of being the sons and daughters of Latin America’s largest organized movement. It is an honour and a responsibility to be heir to 30 years of struggle and resistance.

The desire to follow in the footsteps of those hardened feet which broke barriers and conquered land. And to move the production and self-organization of MST’s camps and settlements forwards.

The 3rd National MST's Youth Assembly, which took place on Monday (10/02) during the 6th MST Congress, began with poetry, music and theatre, all full of the characteristic energy of the fighting youth.

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Japan : youth activists organize a radio program on World Food day

(Tokyo, October 16) Some members of NOUMINREN youth with non-farmer local youth activists organize an internet radio on Wednesdays (twice a month) inviting a new guest each time. The name of  the radio is "Chihouhakkutsu Radio" meaning "local treasure hunting radio." We do not station in one place, but everybody participate from their house through Skype broadcasting through Ustream. The objective of our radio is to know and support local youth activists who do not have youth friends around in their region. 

On the 16th of October, a female youth farmer from Nagano prefecture and a male youth farmer from Aichi prefecture and three non-farmers participated in the radio. On the radio, they introduced that October the 16th is World Food Day and it is celebrated in the world.

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Indonesia : SPI and Youth Food Movement Celebrate World Food Day in Failry Deep Concern

b_350_0_16777215_00_images_stories_youthcamp_SPI_WorldFoodDayscaled.jpgJakarta, October 16. Indonesia Peasants Union (SPI) together with Youth Food Movement ( YFM ) staged a World Food Day in Hotel Indonesia Roundabout in Jakarta. The peaceful protest was filled with theatrical conditions of small farmers who being crushed by pro corporate governance policies.

Achmad Ya'kub from SPI National Department of Strategic Studies said that this year's World Food Day was marked with a fairly deep concern at the national agricultural. According to him, government policies that put corporations as the main actor in all agricultural sectors,  making the role of small farmers increasingly marginalized .

Read more: Indonesia : SPI and Youth Food Movement...

Declaration of the 3rd International Youth Assembly of the Via Campesina

b_350_0_16777215_00_images_stories_ourconferences_LVC_youth_logoscaled.jpg(June 8 and 9, 2013 - Jakarta, Indonésie) We are young peasants, members of the Via Campesina, people with different cultures and languages from over seventy countries in five continents, who are in Jakarta, Indonesia, to celebrate the 3rd International Youth Assembly and the 20th anniversary of the Via Campesina.

As young peasants, we are the present and the future of sustainable agriculture, which can sustain the world and cool Mother Earth. Having analysed and reflected generally on the global political and economic situation, we would like to express our deep concern about the current development crisis, which is causing many impoverished and marginalised communities to be expropriated of the territory, land, water and forest goods on which they depend for their livelihood. There has been an increase in the number of forced displacements and evictions of young peasants, and an increase in hunger and poverty.

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Via Campesina Youth View Staying on the Land as Resistance


(By Grassroots International)

Our Palestinian partners frequently tell us: “To stay – and, frankly, to exist – is to resist.” I heard this same message during the 3rd International Youth Assembly of La Via Campesina (LVC). In a world where the ability to live a dignified life as a small farmer is increasingly challenging whether in Iowa or Indonesia the act of staying, and in some cases “going back” to the land is an act of resistance and courage.

The challenges are enormous. Young and prospective farmers face a hostile environment designed to benefit large agribusinesses and industrial agriculture. In country after country in the Global South policies are put in place that create unsustainable conditions that force mass migrations from rural communities to the urban slums as displaced farmers search for livelihoods. This is not accidental but deliberate.

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Zimbabwe : Solidarity message for our brothers and sisters in Mali


(Harare, 22 February 2013) We, the African peasant youth, members of la Via Campesina, representing organisations from South Africa, Angola, The Republic of the Congo, The Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Gambia, Ghana, Madagascar, Mali, Mozambique, Senegal, Tanzania, Togo and Zimbabwe, gathered here in Harare, Zimbabwe between the 21 and 22 February for our continental meeting of the African youth of la Via Campesina, wish to transmit our message of solidarity to our brothers and sisters in Mali offering them our support for the terrible situation in which the populations, particularly the youth, find themselves, as a result of territory issues in the north of Mali.

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Special Resolution : We will continue farming on Japanese soil!

20th NOUMINREN Youth Conference

We hereby declare that we will continue farming on Japanese soil. Japan has good soil and nature that suits agriculture. Our ancestors have lived in harmony with land and nature and have developed and passed on food culture and tradition in each region.

Today under the globalized economy and liberalist policies, Free Trade Agreements such as FTAs, TPP and genpatsu (nuclear power plants) have been promoted. Did those policies make our livelihood better? The amount of imported food and agricultural products has increased, and invaded our diet. On the other hand, because the youth leave the rural areas leaving only old people in the villages, many farms have been abandoned that eventually led to the destruction of many rural areas. The youth disappear from rural areas and the youth who go to the cities are now facing high competition and forced to work in poorer working condition. Unemployment and temporary work are also threatening their future. The accident of nuclear power plant has dispersed radioactivity all over the world contaminating farmland, food, and our life. In this situation the whole society is about to fall apart and the farmers whose livelihood are rooted on the earth must speak out to the city people who left the earth, and together propose a future.

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Japan: “We will continue farming on Japanese soil!”

NOUMINREN Youth held its 20th conference in Tokyo on February 11thand 12th this year. Approximately 100 people participated in the conference (the largest ever). For NOUMINREN, this conference was probably its most important in last 20 years as it was the first conference after 3.11 earthquake, tsunami and the nuclear plant accidents. All participants were eager to share and reflect on what they underwent after 3.11 and to use these understandings to overcome their concerns.

On the first day, a forum was held to discuss the issue Why we must continue farming on Japanese soil: Understanding how nuclear power plants and the Trans-Pacific Partnership will destroy us. In this forum, five panelists (three farmers, one food researcher, and one local community activist) presented their commitment to protect agriculture and food sovereignty of Japan.

The first panelist, Souhei Miura, reported that after the disaster and nuclear power plant accident, he evacuated to Chiba prefecture. However, he decided to go back to Fukushima to farm again. He said that “it is possible to produce safe food in Fukushima if we continue doing the checkups. Nuclear power plant accidents can happen anywhere in the world today, so why don’t I stay and farm in Fukushima, the prefecture I love the most.” This commitment moved many in the audience.  

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The 4th Southeast and East Asia Youth Assembly: We are the Youth, Food Sovereignty is Our Only Option

From 4-7 September 2011, 26 youth delegations from Korea, Japan, Thailand, Indonesia, Cambodia, the Philippines, Taiwan, Timor Leste and Australia gathered in Sang Joo City, North Kyeongsang, South Korea for the 4th regional youth assembly. The assembly first started in Chiang Mai in 2007 and the aim of the assembly is to increase and strengthen the role and involvement of youth both in farming and in farmers’ organizations.

In almost every country, young people are disappearing from rural areas. In some countries like Japan and South Korea, the average ages of farmers are above 65 years old. Meanwhile, in other countries like Indonesia, Thailand or Cambodia, even if the number of young people who farm still remains significant, it is decreasing rapidly. Young people find it difficult to stay in agriculture for various reasons such as a lack of land to farm, land grabbing and cheap imported food due to free trade agreements that means that local farmers cannot receive a fair price for their products. The situation forces young people to leave rural areas to work in the city or become migrant workers.

Yoon Geum Sun, an ICC member from the Southeast and East Asia region, stated the importance of this youth assembly. Daring to dream for a better future for agriculture in this region as well as in the world is in the hands of the youth. Young people have a great spirit that enables them to bring about change and create a way out of the global multiple crises.

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