Via Campesina Presentation at the Farmers Forum - 2012

Roma, February 2012 - Farmers Forum 2012

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Ladies and gentlemen, colleagues and fellow peasants

Over the past few years the climate and food crises have pushed peasant food production to the top of the agenda.

The central role of peasant agriculture in terms of job creation, strengthening local economies and protecting natural resources is increasingly recognized. Peasants around the world produce food for over 70% of the global population. At the same time, the majority of the world’s poor are from a rural background.

The majority of investments made in food production are made by the peasants themselves, as the last plenary session of the Committee for Food Security acknowledged in Rome in October 2011. This highlights the importance for the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) to channel its support towards the peasant sector now more than ever.

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Statement TPPA Food Sovereignty Network

La Via Campesina / Australian Food Sovereignty Alliance

La Via Campesina and the Australian Food Sovereignty Alliance jointly make this statement at the conclusion of the APEC meeting in Hawaii regarding the further negotiation of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA).

This statement is to express our alarm about the implementation and pursuit of Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) across the Asia-Pacific Region, in particular the TPPA. In the wake of the collapse of the Doha Development Round of the World Trade Organisation, national governments are seeking to promote the free trade agenda through FTAs. There is a growing web of FTAs between countries and/or regions, across the world. Australia is currently party to 6 FTAs with ASEAN, New Zealand, Chile, United States, Singapore and Thailand, as well as in the process of negotiating a further 9 FTAs; the TPPA, PACER-Plus; China, Japan, India, Malaysia, South Korea, Indonesia and the Gulf Cooperation Council.

The region and the world are still experiencing food, energy, financial and environmental crises. Many of these crises have been exacerbated by the removal of policy space for Government to respond as a result of signing free trade agreements.

Read more: Statement TPPA Food Sovereignty Network

The G20: an illegitimate club incapable of resolving world crises

(Nice, 1 November 2011) The international and European farmers’ movement, La Vía Campesina, will join social movements and other civil society organisations in condemning the illegitimate character of the G20 and its ineptitude at resolving the current financial, food, environmental and social crises, to which it has contributed. Farmers from the Conféderation Paysanne (France), as well as representatives of the international movement from India and Haiti will attend the Forum “People First, not Finance!” from 1-4 November in Nice, while ministers and government leaders will meet on 3 and 4 November in Cannes. The current financial crisis devastating Europe and the rest of the world is striking evidence of the failure of the policies implemented by the Group of the 20 richest countries in the world. Since the first summit of the Heads of State of the G20 in 2008, whose ambition was to implement a complete reform of the financial system, deregulation and speculation have continued to dominate world finance, with the ensuing social havoc.

Furthermore, the G20, which was supposed to resolve financial problems, is turning into a political space which defines the direction of the world economy and governance, even handling climatic and food issues.

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La Via Campesina at the CFS: "We can no longer wait"

Contribution by Ibrahim Coulibaly on the volatility of agricultural prices, CFS, 19 October 2011

Around 40 years ago, when I was young, we did not speak of volatility. I still remember how our government gave our parents ploughs, plough oxen, and fertilizer on credit. At the time, there was a public service, the OPAM, that bought food products from farming families at prices that were known beforehand.

Around 30 years ago, I was in secondary school and we were told that it was better to produce for external markets. We began hearing the phrase “deterioration of the terms of exchange” in the discourse of our male politicians. This was a true lament at the time, but it found no echo anywhere. What did it refer to? The prices of export agricultural products were collapsing on the international market. The governments of the time had made the fatal error of encouraging family farmers to produce more export products. When things went wrong, these farmers alone paid the heavy price.

The collapse of our economies and the growth of the public debt in the 1980’s led the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund to subject our countries to structural adjustment.

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