Brazil, agroecology diversification against tobacco monoculture plantations

Interview with Rosiéle Chistriane Lüdtke (MPA-Vía Campesina)

The Training Center of the Small Farmers Movement of Brazil (Via Campesina) - located in Rio Grande do Sul- represents a stronghold of political and productive struggle against tobacco transnational corporations that subdue peasant families.

Leader of MPA Rosiéle Lüdtke explained this in an interview with Real World Radio during the 5th National Native Seed Festival held in Anchieta, Santa Catarina state.

At an early age Rosiéle joined the Rural Pastoral Youth and she identified with the proposal of the Small Farmers Movement promoted in her region, where there are large tobacco monoculture plantations.

Coming from a farming family of German origin, she witnessed how her family and most farmers in Rio Grande do Sul harvested to sell their products to transnational corporations, so she found the proposal of production diversification and political training really attractive and necessary.

“I studied, I took a course in agriculture but I continued to be a peasant”, she says.

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Europe: Innovation and research in agriculture: priority to sustainable family farming

(Brussels, 6 March 2012) Agro-ecology or agro-fuels? Sustainable family farming or sustainable intensification? Farmers seeds or GM seeds? Pastures or dairy factories? Local plant protein or soy? Soil organic matter or methanization? Rotation or monoculture? Land races or cloning? A reduced food chain or import/export? Social innovation or farmers disappearing? Solidarity or competitiveness? Territorial cohesion or concentration of production ? To stop dumping or to "feed" the world? Public funding for public or private research? "Bio"-economy? The EU must choose.

In February, the European Commission has published a strategy/action plan for the "bio"-economy  and a communication  for a "European Partnership for Innovation (PEI): agricultural productivity and sustainability." A conference is organized by the Commission on March 7 on innovation and research in agriculture.

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Asian farmers visit and learn from Karnataka’s farmers about natural farming

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Karnataka: Fifty farmers of La Via Campesina movements from Asia visited some of Karnataka's most outstanding natural farms from Nov 2 to 6 2011. This event was organized by LVC and KRRS as part of their efforts to carry out farmer to farmer exchanges of knowledge of agro-ecology practices to "feed the world and cool the planet" as well as for farmers movements to share their best knowledge experiences with each other in solidarity.

The international delegation included twenty farmers and social movement activists from Nepal, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Timor Leste, Cambodia, Vietnam, Thailand, Philippines, South Korea and Mexico. There were also many south Indian farmers present in the delegation.

During the four days journey, the group explored coconut, arecanut and banana farms, as well as vegetable plots, a sericulture field, a paddy seed bank and a jaggery production site. Some farmers were practicing natural farming for more than 15 years, while others had just started. Also a variety of natural farming methods were explored - from Fukuoaka's method to Palekar's zero budget natural farming. All farms were situated around the Mysore area, in South Karnataka. They were all successful examples showing that natural farming can and ought to be actively promoted as one of the many sustainable and accessible alternatives to conventional and organic farming. Furthermore, farmers organizations should play a strong role in creating platforms for exchanging practices and knowledge which is one of the best ways of spreading sustainable farming practices.

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