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Mali: La Via Campesina and allies host an International Agroecology Forum to address Food Sovereignty

MEDIA ADVISORY |La Via Campesina

Nyéléni Centre, Mali(Bamako, 19 February 2015) – More than 200 delegates, among them peasants, family farmers, fisher folk, pastoralists, indigenous peoples, agricultural workers, consumers, urban poor organizations, NGOs, academics and other social movements will be at the Nyéléni Centre in Mali from 24 to 27 February, to take part in the first International Forum on Agroecology. This forum takes places at a time where the world is facing economic crisis, the climate is changing, and the Mother Earth is being aggressively exploited by the corporate model of death and land grabbing.

According to La Via Campesina, agroecology is essential to humanity, since it builds autonomy and a better life for small scale food producers, produces more healthy food, provides a strong base for food sovereignty, and allows rural peoples to live in harmony with and take care of our Mother Earth. Peasant and small scale food producers’ agroecology is considered to be the model of life, of farms with farmers, of food producers with productive resources, of rural communities with families, of countryside with trees and forests.

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Speech by La Via Campesina delegation in the closing ceremony of International Year of Family Farming, Manila, Philippines

b_350_0_16777215_00_images_IYFF_6_Manila_2014.jpg27th November, 2014

Dear Madam/ Chair and respected dignitaries

I take the floor on behalf of La Via Campesina, the world’s largest movement of family farmers, Indigenous people, fisher folks and small scale food producers. All over the world peasants, small scale producers continue to grow and distribute healthy food in their communities and feeding the world. They are indeed the family farmers that feed over 75% of the world population. And it is very important that the International Year of family farming allowed us to increase the attention to this important and crucial sector.

This is in stark contrast to the commercial food industry, whose priorities are profit and speculation and whose strategy is to make agriculture increasingly dependent on agro-toxics and inputs controlled by the corporates, increasing their profits through the sale of toxic chemicals and inputs which is responsible for the destruction of natural resources and peasant based food production and family farming.

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Nutrition is not for profit: Second International Conference on Nutrition

(Rome November 20th, 2014)

b_350_0_16777215_00_images_stories_foodsov_nutrition-rome.jpgLa Via Campesina and URGENCI, jointly with other Social movements, gathered in Rome for the Second International Conference on Nutrition (ICN2), where Member States of FAO and WHO are discussing and adopting a framework for action on nutrition. This event, organised jointly by FAO and WHO, is happening 22 years after the first ICN, 22 years in which no improvements have been made by the international community; 22 years in which the private sector has captured nutrition as a business opportunity to provide a never-ending list of  “nutrient-enriched” and GMO pseudo-solutions to consumers. Transnational corporations have no place in trade agreements or our food systems!

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Shashe Smallholder Farmer Organisation (SFO): a true centre of agro-ecology

b_350_0_16777215_00_images_manure_for_agroecology_2014.JPG(Zimbabwe, Masvingo, October 20, 2014) Zimbabwe Small Organic Farmers Forum (ZIMSOFF) represents smallholder farmers practicing organic agriculture in Zimbabwe, a practice promoted through participatory ecological land use planning and management, and encourages value addition to uplift the welfare of members. The organization has about 19,000 smallholder farmers organized in four clusters, namely the western, eastern, northern and central. These clusters are made up of 64 Smallholder Farmer Organizations (SFOs) which nurture dynamic alliances. Shashe SFO, where the Agroecology School is located, is under the central cluster. Shashe farmers are beneficiaries of the Fast Track Land Reform Programme implemented by the Government of Zimbabwe in 2000. They are part of the 380 official land beneficiaries resettled in 2000 at the Shashe block of farms, which covers about 15,020 hectares. Of this area, about 23% was allocated for residential and arable purposes, the rest is grazing. The area is generally dry, receiving about 400mm of annual rainfall, and has deep soils (sandy loams, red clays and a mixture of the two). It was mainly used for ranching by the former white farmers. The new farmers have broadened the land use as they are now producing both crops and livestock

At Shashe farmers employ various agroecological practices to ensure food sovereignty, mitigate climate change effects and reduce dependence on bought-in agro-inputs thus retaining farm income within the family’s purse. These practices include the use of organic manure, mulching, minimum tillage, multiple cropping, exchange and use of traditional seeds and open pollinated varieties, among others.

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