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.

Read more: 2012 World Food Sovereignty Prize: La Via...

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?

Read more: India, Food sovereignty in Manipur

Europe, Civil Society statement for FAO regional meeting

Hunger is increasing in all parts of ECA. The root-causes are agricultural policies that are not used to support local small-scale producers. Agricultural production is linked to the International Financial Insitutions, international trade and speculation. Increasing informal and casual labour, the loss of social protection in rural areas and low wages are pushing more waged agricultural workers into poverty and hunger.

In the ECA, many small-scale producers and waged agricultural workers, especially seasonal workers are excluded from social protection and have difficulty surviving cold winters without income. The current crisis has also led to generalised austerity programmes ; new segments of the population now suffer from poverty and hunger. The most vulnerable groups are the aged, youth, migrant workers and small-scale food producers

Public legislation and civil society must jointly protect the Commons and the public provision of goods and services. There is a decrease in land available for local food production, due to increased property speculation in urban areas, land-grabbing for industrial food and agro-fuel production. Water must remain a common good, with guaranteed free access and sanitation for private households and small-scale agro-ecological production. It must be protected from big privatised projects such as dams.

Read more: Europe, Civil Society statement for FAO...

Additional information