2nd Latin american Encounter on Agroecology

Final Declaration

Monday August 8, 2011

The world is caught in a series of crises generated by the inherent greed of the capitalist system, characterized by capitals control over natural resources. Including the food crisis and climate crisis.

The fact that the number of hungry people in the world has risen from 800 million to one billion in recent years, coupled with the terrible famine in Somalia, shows us that the dominant corporate food system is unable to feed the world, all while greenhouse gas emissions produced by the same agricultural model heat up the planet and threaten Mother Earth.

 

Capital, represented by its transnational corporations, the media, formal education, landowning elites and agribusiness have now changed their discourse by appropriating terms and concepts constructed over the generations by peoples movements. 

Via Campesina, on the other hand, defends peasant, indigenous and communitarian agroecological farming, positioned as a cornerstone in the construction of food sovereignty. This model of agriculture produces healthy food, based on crop diversification, new relationships between men, women and nature whilst eliminating the use of pesticides, GMOs and the dependence on a capitalist system. 

We must protect our knowledge from corporations that try to transform everything into a commodity, we cannot let them steal our concepts and use them as private property at the service of a capitalist logic.

Today we face a situation where the World Bank, corrupt governments and transnational corporations want to steal the concept of agroecology through the COP-17 and Rio+20 processes. Their aim is to justify their deception of carbon markets. Against this, we state that Agroecology is Ours and is Not For Sale. 

Peasant agriculture is part of the process of a structural transformation of our society as well serving to confront the systems current crisis. Therefore we reaffirm that indigenous peoples and peasant agroecology feed the world and cool down the planet.

Via Campesina has organized several regional and continental meetings where we have had the opportunity to deepen our debates on how we view the world and how different models of agroecological farming have taken shape. 

In August 2009, the first Continental Meeting of Instructor and Students of Agroecology took place at the Latin American Institute of Agroecology (IALA) Paulo Freire in Barinas (Venezuela).

Following this in May 2010, the Asian continent held a meeting on agroecology in Colombo (Sri Lanka). In the African continent, instructor and students of agroecology met in Masvingo (Zimbabwe) in June 2011. 

Thus, we have developed a process for approaching the concept of agroecology, which has enabled us to strengthen the foundations that guide the organizations of Via Campesina. We recall that the 1st. Meeting of the Americas said that agroecology:

• " is necessary for ensuring food and energetic sovereignty for human emancipation, in addition, agroecology is vital to peoples' struggles building a society without private ownership over the means of production or natural recourses, a society without any kind of oppression and exploitation, which final aim is not accumulation"

• "it should be massive and international, so that the knowledge accumulated by the people, should contribute to the development of new productive forces of nature and human labour, so that we have time and facilities to organize all the other dimensions of our life such as; our struggle, or community, or culture, or education, or festivals, among others. "

• "includes the care and protection of life, of food production, of political consciousness, moving forward in strengthening cooperation and transforming agro-industries, exchanging experiences and promoting a alliance between the people of the city and countryside. " 

This first meeting also noted that the second meeting should deepen the discussions on historical materialism and the indigenous and peasant worldviews, which we intended to do here.

In the II Continental Meeting of Instructors and Students of Agroecology which took place from 28 July to 3 August 2011 in Guatemala Chimaltenango, we peasants, indigenous peoples and afro-descents, representatives of 49 organizations in 20 countries, wish to reaffirm our commitment to the construction and defence of agroecology. 

We denounce the capitalist system of production and its domination through agribusiness and mining, its land-grabbing and re-concentrating of resources, its displacement and criminalization of organized peasants and indigenous families and its over-exploitation of the workforce and nature.

Additionally, this system imposes a production model based on monocultures, declining biodiversity, pesticide use, GMOs and the patenting of peoples' cultural heritage (seeds and ancestral knowledge, technologies and practices). 

We defend the comprehensive Land Reform as part of transformative Food Sovereignty policies, strengthening people’s autonomy and self-determination. We defend the right to decide our own agricultural policies and to develop new relationships and values between men, women and nature. 

We believe in agroecology as a tool in the construction of another way to produce and reproduce life. It is part of the socialist project, a partnership between workers and grassroots organizations, both rural and urban. It should promote the emancipation of workers, peasants, indigenous peoples and afro-descent.

The coexistences of agroecology in the context of the capitalist system is however impossible. 

We affirm that agroecology is based on ancestral knowledge and practices, building knowledge through dialogue and respect of different views and processes, as well as the exchange of experiences and use of appropriate technologies to produce healthy foods that meet the needs of mankind and preserves the harmony with Pachamama (Mother Earth).

We as Via Campesina, a network or multicultural organizations and movements, will continue to recognize and strengthen the exchange of experiences and knowledge among peasants, indigenous peoples and afro- descent, spreading and multiplying our training and education programs From Peasant To Peasant, exercised in both open and formal education as well as in communitarian and territorial processes.

We recognize the fact that this meeting has been held on Mayan territory, where we first initiated our methods from peasant to peasant, aimed at creating unity, erasing boundaries and creating horizontal and comprehensive relations of exchange. 

We understand that there are no standardized methods in Agroecology, but rather principles that unite us such as our organization, our training and our mobilization.

Our quest to understand our world in relation to time, to its creative energies and forces and to our historical memories (of agriculture and humanity) is complemented by a historical materialist and dialectical interpretation of reality. Together we seek to develop our political and ideological understanding to achieve a structural change in our society, thus liberating and achieving buen vivir (good living) for our peoples.

CLOC-Vía Campesina, Chimaltenango, Guatemala, August 2011.

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