Climate talks: Farmers and Farm Workers March in Durban

(Durban, December 5 2011) More than 1 500 people took part in a march of Durban streets on December 5 to voice their concerns about climate change and agro-ecology. Banners and posters in hand conveyed messages like “We are for cooling down the earth” as people from countries as far as Mali, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Germany, Brazil and The Philippines took part.

The event was also to bring awareness to the food sovereignty campaign, which promotes principals such as equal participation, fights against greedy farm or agriculture owners, and a fair rewarding system for farm workers.

Alberto Gomez of Mexico is a member of the international movement La Via Campesina that organised the march. He says he came to tell governments that they must reduce the emission to 50%. “If they don’t reduce it, the temperature will increase by 4°C.” The earth’s soil is already getting dry and farmers face extreme cases like rain due to climate change. He says governments should listen to them, as peasants know how to nurture the earth.

Though it was mostly farmers and farm workers attending the march, Gomez says climate change and taking on the world leaders is a humanity problem.

According to him the food security is also a solution to feed the hungry in the world.

Denia Jansen of McGregor in the Western Cape says there are people within her community who go to bed hungry, because of how climate change affects them. She is part of the organization Mawubuye Land Rights Forum, and feels the government should subsidise people with water for gardening. “We find our water bills are so high at the end of the month that we cannot afford having a garden.”

At the end of the march, a memorandum was handed over, because the people feel the governments do not take the small scale farmers in consideration when making decisions regarding the Climate Conference (COP17) which is currently taking place in Durban.

Adv. Sipho Mdluli took the memorandum on behalf of the Mayor of the KwaZulu-Natal.

Via Campesina Africa