- Published on Wednesday, 08 October 2014 15:21
Who produced the food that you are eating? Harsh working conditions for migrant workers in the UK food industry
A blog by Fanny Floremont – researcher from la Confédération Paysanne. This post was initially published on Migrant Voice website and later, on The Landworkers' Alliance website
The food sold in British supermarkets can be labelled either as ‘local’, ‘organic’, or even ‘fair trade’ when it comes from overseas countries, but no label guarantees that workers who produced, processed and packaged it in the UK enjoyed fair and decent working conditions. Consumers are often unaware of the social costs of low food prices.
Natalia and Krzysztof were born in Poland but they now work in a vegetable processing factory in Boston, Lincolnshire. “I am over seven month pregnant, says Natalia, but when I arrive at work, they don’t let me go to the toilet during at least one hour”. Krzysztof carries on: “we have piece rates in the factory but often they don’t tell us how much they pay for each tray. They set the rate once they’ve seen how much we’ve made”. Both agree that managers put unnecessary pressure on workers, shouting to ask them to work quicker and using CCTV to monitor all their comings and goings. And when workers start complaining too loud, like Krzysztof did, they are told: “here is the door, you can always leave”.
- Published on Thursday, 25 September 2014 14:20
"Today a Window was opened in what for 50 years has been the Cathedral of the Green Revolution"
The International Symposium on Agroecology for Food and Nutritional Security was held on the 18th and 19th of September of 2014, at the headquarters of the Food & Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO) in Rome. This marked the first time that the FAO has ever officially and directly addressed the topic of agroecology.
In his closing remarks at the Symposium, José Graziano da Silva, Director General of the FAO, said that: "Today a Window was opened in what for 50 years has been the Cathedral of the Green Revolution." The delegation of La Via Campesina, that participated in the Symposium, welcomes this opening, but recommends caution, given the attempts to coopt agroecology that were observed at the event.
According to La Via Campesina, the science, practices and movement of agroecology are the product of centuries of accumulated peasant and indigenous knowledge, knowledge of how food was produced for humanity since long before farm chemicals were invented. This knowledge has been organized through a 'dialog of knowledges' (dialogo de saberes) with the western sciences of ecology, agronomy, rural sociology, etc. Support for agroecology, among rural social movements, consumers, environmentalists and others, has grown a lot in recent decades, in part because of it's sharp critique of, and it's alternatives to, the badly-named 'Green Revolution' of industrial agriculture. For La Via, peasant agroecology is a fundamental building block in the construction of food sovereignty.
- Published on Tuesday, 23 September 2014 15:13
International Peasant Movement/Movimiento Campesino Internacional
As women, men, peasants, smallholder family farmers, migrant, rural workers, indigenous, and youth of La Via Campesina, we denounce climate smart agriculture which is presented to us as a solution to climate change and as a mechanism for sustainable development. For us, it is clear that underneath its pretense of addressing the persistent poverty in the countryside and climate change, there is nothing new. Rather, this is a continuation of a project first begun with the Green Revolution in the early 1940’s and continued through the 70’s and 80’s by the World Bank’s Poverty Reduction projects and the corporate interests involved. These projects, such as the so-called Green Revolution, decimated numerous peasant economies, particularly in the South, to the extent that many countries, like México for example, that were self-sufficient in food production, became dependent on the North to feed their population within a short couple of decades.
- Published on Tuesday, 23 September 2014 14:48
Dr. Shakeel Bhatti
International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (ITPGRFA)
cc. Francis Gurry, Director General of WIPO, Secretary-General of UPOV
cc. Member States of ITPGRFA
Dear Dr. Bhatti,
We the undersigned organizations from around the world are keen to see full implementation of Farmers Rights. The Preamble of the Treaty and Article 9 on Farmers’ Rights, recognizes the contribution that local and indigenous communities and farmers of all regions of the world have made and will continue to make for the conservation and development of plant genetic resources for food and agriculture (PGRFA). It also explicitly recognizes that Treaty Members have the responsibility of realizing farmers’ rights. This includes the right to save, use, exchange and sell farm-saved seed/propagating material; the right to participate in decision making on matters related to the conservation and sustainable use of PGRFA; the right to participate in the fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from, the use of plant genetic resources as well as protection of traditional knowledge relevant to PGRFA. The treaty acknowledges that these elements are fundamental to the realization of Farmers’ Rights and the promotion of Farmers’ Rights at national and international levels.