2023 | June News Wrap: Highlights from La Via Campesina Members Worldwide

In Morocco, on the occasion of the one-year anniversary of the Melilla massacre in Nador, an international delegation of La Via Campesina participated along with a number of social movements in the 5th Maghreb Social Forum on Migration, held from June 23-25. The objective was to denounce the impunity in which this tragedy is going unpunished and to warn about the continuous violation of human rights that migrants and rural workers are experiencing on a daily basis. The event was also part of the Caravan Opening Borders that culminated in Melilla with a large mobilization that denounced the harmful migration laws of the European Union.

In Tunisia, the one million women and the landless denounce the catastrophic situation of farmers in Smenja. The livestock farmers and smallholders are being deprived of their land and pastures, currently leased by the government to an investor. This investor dug illegal trenches around the land to block access to the farmers and their livestock. This led to the death of dozens of cows and sheep, causing losses to small farmers.

In South korea, the Korean Peasant League (KPL) protested against the production of powdered rice to be used as a flour substitute. KPL called on the government to address the root cause of the fall in rice production, which is a result of the high rice imports (400,000 tons a year).

In late May, Serikat Petani Indonesia hosted peasant youth from arround the world for La Via Campesina International Youth Articulation Meeting. The young delegates recognized the significance of forming alliances with other youth movements, pledged to confront the crisis of generational renewal in agriculture, and prioritized solidarity and systemic transformation.

In Japan, dairy and livestock farmers face a crisis as the prices of animal feed spirals up. Nouminren held a public forum early this year to draw attention to this crisis in the livestock sector and petitioned the agricultural minister. Most (87%) of the grain feed eaten by cattle in the county is imported from overseas, of which American corn forms the bulk of the imports.

In India, farmers’ movements and Civil Society Organisations warned the government in a letter against joining the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF) trade pillar. The decision to join this US led trade agreement was taken without due consideration and can impact India’s policy space to develop critical economic sectors and support certain constituencies.

In Sri Lanka, MONLAR and allies held a people’s planning forum that called for a comprehensive review of the country’s agricultural and land policies. The forum discussed the question of developing local and sustainable food systems, land reform and commons, peasants’ rights, peasant women’s access to land.

In Nepal, young peasants and student leaders of the All Nepal Peasants Federation organised a national youth gathering in Lalitpur. Pramesh Pokharel, the General Secretary of ANPFA and ICC member of La Via Campesina reiterated, at the gathering, that agriculture is the basis of economic development and prosperity in the country and called for public policies to attract the bring youth back to agriculture.

In Uganda, on the World Environment Day, ESAFF Uganda launched the Agroecology Poem writing competition among the Agroecology clubs in nine schools to showcase talents, creativity, and knowledge of agroecology among pupils. On this day, the clubs planted trees and did clean-up activities within their schools.

In Kenya, Kenya Peasant League petitioned state to address the supply of indigenous seeds. KPL is calling on the government to promote the production of indigenous crops and ensure access to seeds to mitigate effects of climate change.

In Senegal, Conseil national de concertation et de coopération des ruraux (CNCR) trained about 80 peasant leaders from different regions to better understand current dynamics in the agro-sylvo-pastoral and fisheries sector.

In Mali, CNOP organized a workshop to validate an advocacy document on the rights of young people and their equitable access to and security of their land. Over 30 young people participated in the workshop. The document, informed by youth’s views was prepared by two colleges at the December 2022 workshop. CNOP also organized a training on gender, equity, diversity and social norms, and on laws in favour of women as part of the implementation of the project to support local communities in securing their land and forests through village or fractional land commissions so that there is better integration of gender in the future programmes.

In Canada, the National Farmers Union (NFU) sent a letter to Minister of International Trade, Export Promotion, Small Business and Economic Development, calling for the country not get involved in a potential trade dispute against Mexico by the United States. NFU urged the minister to respect Mexico’s decision to prohibit imports of GM corn for human consumption in order to uphold its #foodsovereignty.

In Jujuy, Argentina, hundreds of peasant and indigenous protesters and social movements are facing harsh repression by the provincial government. The mobilisations were triggered by a provincial constitutional reform that criminalises the right to protest and ignores the rights and autonomy of the native peoples of the area, which is a mining and lithium exploitation zone. The National Peasant Indigenous Movement, Somos Tierra, and La Via Campesina have condemned this repression in a new episode of Peasant Alert broadcasted on LVC and CLOC’s social media platforms.

In Colombia, the peasant movements reported a historic achievement. The Congress of the Republic passed a law to incorporate peasants as subjects of rights in its Political Constitution. This means the recognition of their political, social, cultural, individual and collective rights, which is in line with implementation of the United Nations Declaration on the rights of peasants and other people working in rural areas. This achievement is a result of the intense work that peasant organizations, many of them members of La Via Campesina, are doing in favour of comprehensive agrarian reform and the implementation of the peace agreement in the country.

In Switzerland, 60 organizations including Uniterre, issued a position paper calling on the Swiss Federal Council and Parliament to enact strict regulations on all genetic engineering techniques, including new ones. The aim is to protect the environment, human and animal health, and ensure consumer choice and transparency.

In Germany, Arbeitsgemeinschaft bäuerliche Landwirtschaft (AbL) issued a press release calling for better compensation for farmers participating in environmental, climate, and animal welfare measures (eco-regulations) under the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). AbL calling for an increase in the premium levels to the maximum of 130% this year.

In Italy, ARI shared an analysis highlighting the potential risks to the agricultural sector and the entire food chain, which has remained GMO-free until now. This follows the Italian government’s decision to authorize the experimentation of new biotechnological plant varieties (considered equivalent to “old” GMOs). Concerns have been raised about its economic and labour implications for small-scale farming.

In France, the Confederation Paysanne strongly reacted to the dissolution of the “Soulèvements de la Terre” movement by the French government on June 21st. In March, these two organizations, along with the collective “Bassines Non Merci,” organized a demonstration in Sainte Soline, denouncing the mega-basins that are grabbing public funds and water for agribusiness. Then, on June 28th, two spokespersons from the Confederation Paysanne were detained by the police for a day for their participation in the demonstrations as representatives of their organization. La Via Campesina expressed solidarity by demanding their release and condemning this infringement on fundamental rights such as freedom of expression, association, and protest.

If there is any important update we have missed, please send the links to communications@viacampesina.org for inclusion in the next edition. We only include updates from La Via Campesina members. For a comprehensive update on various initiatives from June 2023, please visit our website. You can also find the previous editions of our news wrap on our website.

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