- Published on Friday, 10 October 2014 17:49
(Mozambique, Maputo, October 1, 2014) –The III International Conference of Farmers and Soil, hosted by the National Farmers Union (UNAC) started today and will run for 2 days. About 250 participants participated in the conference held at the Conference Centre of TDM in Maputo. The conference focuses on the usurpation of the land, implementation of mega-projects with a direct impact on the day-to-day life of the farmers, poor access to credit and the lack of markets for farm produce among other issues.
"Our production will fall because we are running out of land," said Costa Estevão, the representative of the northern region. According to him the phenomenon [usurpation of the land] will reduce production, and "push" many farmers to hunger and poverty. Estevão claimed that many farmers are becoming landless. For instance, he said that the company Agro-alpha in Monapo grabbed 10 hectares of land from a citizen who had the documents of ownership, access and use of such land. This situation happens uneventfully and trivially.
- Published on Wednesday, 08 October 2014 16:17
Maputo -- With a shimmering coastline stretching for more than 1,500 miles along the Indian Ocean, heartland game parks rivaling the Serengeti and a cornucopia of natural resources -- located mostly in land used by humble farming communities -- Mozambique is getting quite a lot of attention these days as one of Africa's most upcoming investment hubs and in vogue destinations. Investors have not wasted any time in carving out their stake in the country two decades into the relative stability following a 16-year civil war on the heels of independence.
The cash-strapped Mozambican state technically owns all of the land within its borders, offering leases that are renewable up to 99 years to foreign governments and corporations for agribusiness or extractive industrial megaprojects.
- Published on Wednesday, 08 October 2014 15:21
Who produced the food that you are eating? Harsh working conditions for migrant workers in the UK food industry
A blog by Fanny Floremont – researcher from la Confédération Paysanne. This post was initially published on Migrant Voice website and later, on The Landworkers' Alliance website
The food sold in British supermarkets can be labelled either as ‘local’, ‘organic’, or even ‘fair trade’ when it comes from overseas countries, but no label guarantees that workers who produced, processed and packaged it in the UK enjoyed fair and decent working conditions. Consumers are often unaware of the social costs of low food prices.
Natalia and Krzysztof were born in Poland but they now work in a vegetable processing factory in Boston, Lincolnshire. “I am over seven month pregnant, says Natalia, but when I arrive at work, they don’t let me go to the toilet during at least one hour”. Krzysztof carries on: “we have piece rates in the factory but often they don’t tell us how much they pay for each tray. They set the rate once they’ve seen how much we’ve made”. Both agree that managers put unnecessary pressure on workers, shouting to ask them to work quicker and using CCTV to monitor all their comings and goings. And when workers start complaining too loud, like Krzysztof did, they are told: “here is the door, you can always leave”.
- Published on Thursday, 25 September 2014 14:20
"Today a Window was opened in what for 50 years has been the Cathedral of the Green Revolution"
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.