Shashe farmers demonstrate practical food sovereignty

b_350_0_16777215_00___images_Zimsoff_garden_20141.JPG(Zimbabwe, Masvingo, Otober 20, 2014) Food sovereignty as a concept is under debate by various actors in the academia, activists and governments. The focus has been on its meaning and implications, some of which is still contested by some actors. This year a “Critical Dialogue on Food Sovereignty” was held at the Hague in January, attended by various actors to debate this important concept. It’s various outcomes have been published recently by the Journal of Peasant Studies (JPS), of which some of the articles are freely available (http://www.tandfonline.com/loi/toc/fjps20/41/6) though for a short time.

According to Elizabeth Mpofu in her opening speech (Via Campesina at the colloquium “Food Sovereignty: a critical dialogue”) at The Hague, she said that “We are not trying to create the perfect definition, for a dictionary or for a history book but we are trying to build a movement to change the food system and the world”. This has been the case with farmers at Shashe, where food sovereignty, it various pillars, is alive. The farmers have over the years developed ways to make food sovereignty a reality. These farmers produce adequate food for own consumption, the surplus traded locally, value addition processes are underway and are trying to remove the chains of dependence on agro-inputs by adopting agroecology.

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CFS in Rome: The majority of governments remain blind to the challenges of global food security

La Via Campesina Press Release

b_350_0_16777215_00___images_stories_foodsov_9037336579_46090b0647_z.jpg(Rome October 15th, 2014) The delegation of La Via Campesina, gathered in Rome for the 41st session of the Committee on World Food Security (CFS), recognizes the CFS as the major international forum for debate and decision making on agricultural and food issues. LVC urges governments to take urgent action in favor of peasant and indigenous agriculture, which is the only model capable of feeding the world. On the occasion of World Food Day, we restate our commitment to struggle for Food Sovereignty as a solution to the multiple crises affecting our societies. We reaffirm our commitment to the recognition and enforcement of peasant rights.

The celebration of the 10th anniversary of the Guidelines on the Right to Food has shown a huge gap between rights and their priority, respect, and application in reality. In this sense, LVC expressed deep disappointment with the lack of commitment to the application of the Guidelines.

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Women farmers cry out for access to markets and denounce soil usurpation

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(Mozambique, Maputo, October 1, 2014) Lack of access to markets by women farmers to trade their agricultural produce leads to the sale of their produce at low prices, and the seizure of their lands by mining companies are some of their main concerns raised during the III International Conference of Farmers and Soil, held in Maputo. The event attracted several movements including women farmers from the northern, central and southern regions of the country and the representatives of the Ministries of Agriculture and Technology.

The farmers’ movement, mostly represented by female leaders, used the platform to expose major issues affecting them.

In almost all provinces, they rely on agriculture to support their families and they face many difficulties in doing so. According to Rita Rizuane, farmer leader and member of the Board of Directors of the UNAC, one of the current concerns is related to the lack of access to markets for their agricultural produce nationally and regionally. Thus, some of their products particularly crops such as tomatoes spoil easily, resulting in the loss of income as farmers are forced to sell their products at very low prices.

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International Symposium on Agroecology at the FAO in Rome

"Today a Window was opened in what for 50 years has been the Cathedral of the Green Revolution"

b_350_0_16777215_00___images_chavennes_roma_2014.jpgPress Release- La Via Campesina

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.

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