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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The Voluntary Guidelines and the struggle against land grabbing


Farmers at the Committee on World Food Security: Small scale farmers can feed the world

La Via Campesina - Press Release


(Rome 19 October) A delegation of farmers of La Via Campesina attending  the 37th session of the Committee on World Food Security (CFS) organised a press conference today to present the proposals developed by small scale farmers. The delegation welcomes the structural participation of civil society organisations to the discussions. This is a positive step towards more democracy and the inclusion of the groups primarily affected by the failures of the dominant food system.

However, government declarations are not yet leading to any concrete policy decisions. Governments seem to be ready to annalyse the damages created by the neo-liberal policies but there is a lack of political will to tackle the root-causes of the current crisis and to propose real solutions.

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Europe is Cracking

f343fcbb8f4887c168b5de4d4fb82a7c.jpgThe paradigm of an urban Europe that gets its food from the southern countries has been one of the main victims of the current financial crisis that hits the big powers of industrial capitalism.

This was one of the reflections made by Javier Sanchez of La Via Campesina Europe. He joined the delegation of the international peasant organization that has been working on the drafting of the Guidelines on land tenure at the FAO’s headquarters.

The Spanish farmer talked about the existence of communal lands in several regions of Europe and their social and food significance, the aging of the continent’s population, especially in the rural areas -worsened by the crisis- and the need for food sovereignty.

The expansion of the European Union’s borders meant the beginning of an intense race of the countries leading the coalition over the control of cultivable lands and markets in those countries. This made the cost of living rise, while incomes froze. “Many farmers and citizens of those countries saw how the expectations to become part of ‘Europe’ became a great disappointment, and they ended up migrating to countries like Spain, France, Germany or Italy, where they are considered second-class citizens”.

Javier is a member of the Coordination of Cattle Farmers Organizations (COAG) in Spain.

Photo: Radio Mundo Real

(2011) Radio Mundo Real

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