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The Via Campesina stresses the need for public policies for rural areas

Press release – the Via Campesina

(Mexico, October 3, 2012) More than 100 peasant farmers, both men and women, from over 30 countries came together in Mexico City on September 28th – 30th, 2012 in order to discuss public policies for food sovereignty and to receive concrete proposals on the issue.

In a context of a crisis of capitalism and a new wave of neoliberal privatisation, public policies do not always contribute to structural changes that benefit society. However, for the peasant organisations present, the fight for public policies at all levels is an important step towards improving rural living conditions and ensuring that peasant farmers are able to produce healthy and sufficient food for their communities and their countries.

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2012 World Food Sovereignty Prize: La Via Campesina congratulates the Korean Women's Peasant Association

Press release – La Via Campesina

Watch the prize ceremony on livestream at 7pm EST on October 10

(Jakarta, October 5, 2012) The international farmers movement, La Via Campesina, congratulates its member organization, the Korean Women's Peasant Association (KWPA), for being selected to receive the fourth annual Food Sovereignty Prize on October 10, 2012, in New York City. This event, hosted by WhyHunger and co-sponsored by the U.S. Food Sovereignty Alliance and allies, champions the grassroots groups that practice and defend the right of people to determine their own food and agriculture policies.

The Korean Women's Peasant Association is a national organization of women farmers based in Seoul, South Korea, that has developed the practice of food sovereignty within the framework of women’s rights. The industrial food system has resulted in structures and systems that harm women in ways ranging from devaluing women’s work feeding their families to corporate patenting of seeds developed over generations by women farmers to lower wages and forced labor. South Korea is a male-dominated society and a highly industrialized country, with less than seven percent of the population employed in agriculture. Farmlands are quickly making way for growing cities, the government has signed far-reaching free trade agreements and corporations are taking over the agricultural industry.

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India, Food sovereignty in Manipur

Manipur has had two historic people’s democratic movements against the artificial food scarcity. One in December 1939, popularly known as Anisuba Nupi Lan (2nd Women’s Agitation) and another one is 27 August 1965 popularly known as Chaklam Khongchat (Hunger Marchers’ Day). Every year, we used to observe the two events. Now, government and many organisations continue to observe the Manipuri women’s movement of 1939 after MACHA LEIMA pioneered the observation since 1973. The All Manipur Students’ Union (AMSU) continues to keep up the spirit of the 1965 event by observing 27 August as Hunger Marchers’ Day every year. These two events always remind us about the people’s fearless challenge against the authority when their right to food is denied.

On the other hand, hunger is a pressing issue for the world. According to the United Nations World Food Programme Statistics, 2010 – Hunger is the world’s number one health risk, killing more people every year than AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis combined. The 925 million people do not have enough to eat, 98 percent of them living in developing countries. There are more hungry people in the world than the populations of the USA, Canada, and the EU combined. The 60 percent of the world’s hungry are women. The 10.9 million children under five years of age die every year in developing countries. Sixty percent of these deaths are from malnutrition and hunger-related diseases.

And still many people and organisations at various levels including both governmental and non-governmental talk about the food security in Manipur too. Here one pertinent question can be asked. Is it meaningful to talk about food security or is it really practicable to guarantee food security without food sovereignty?

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