(Harare, Zimbabwe, 14 May 2023) We, the 15 African young peasant farmers, gathered in our capacity as youth representatives of La Via Campesina in Africa, on the occasion of the 2nd edition of the Africa youth continental meeting (from 13-14 May, 2023) in Harare, Zimbabwe. We issue this Declaration calling for a new paradigm of continental advocacy with the full participation and support of youth peasant farmers in Africa by international cooperation and by our governments.
In a context where everywhere around the world, rules and standards limit the food sovereignty of populations. Amidst the crisis, national and international forces are caught in a battle which encroaches evermore upon our right to life and the right to food. With acceptance from our governments, global forces and agricultural industries are vying to grab our land and water, and taking control of peasant farmers’ territories, putting us young farmers in evermore precarious conditions.
This has led to the creation of a huge gap between the youth peasant farmer and investors. More and more of our governments are giving priority to imported food products to the detriment to locally produced foods.
Added to this is the lack of access to market for our products, in favour of large multinationals whose ultimate aim is only to make profit, and deprives the youth peasant of the freedom as a producer.
We reject in the strongest possible terms attempts to force Genetically Modified Organism and new gene editing technologies into agriculture, our plants and our animals.
In response to this, we demand for the respect and promotion of the ecological transition of our food system through peasant agroecology, guaranteeing access to land, water and peasant seeds for all, especially youth.
Therefore, taking note of:
- the lack of access to land and water by youth peasant farmers, forceful introduction of GMOs and gene editing technologies in food production, and their harmful impact on the agricultural sector and the attainment of food sovereignty in the Africa;
- the negative and dangerous potential of the manipulation and artificial transformation of seeds, driven by multinational investors to ruin the African food systems;
- the absence of any scientific basis in the relegation of peasant seeds to the rank of unproductive seeds belonging to the archaic past;
- and, the blind eye sawn by most our governments and the international cooperation to all of the above;
We make the following recommendations to African governments:
- Adopt and implement a regulatory framework that promotes peasant seed systems, and the national heritage of genetic resources, in order to protect them against any form of patenting or bio piracy by third parties to the detriment of peasant communities.
- Suspend the current free trade treaties which establish and favor the use of seeds modified with CRISPR technology and other novel gene editing technologies.
- Reverse policies which impedes young people’s access to land for food production
- Reverse policies and initiatives which prioritizes the access to water multinational companies over the interests of young peasant farmers.
- Include by duty of sovereign agricultural development, the value chain of peasant exchange networks, in the retrospective mapping and description of endogenous seed systems.
- Involve in small-scale peasant food producer organizations in agricultural policy decision-making bodies, in their capacity as key actors with the decisive perspective for safeguarding the values of Agriculture at the service of producers and consumers.
- Support the fostering of economies which support farmers in the transition to ecological agriculture, thereby discouraging the selling off of productive land in the detriment of the peasants who live on these soils.
- Adopt agendas of ecological transition at the service of a healthy food systems and agriculture that is respectful of ecosystems, based on peasant agroecology, and focused on strengthening social cohesion.
- Support initiatives to promote youth peasant farming systems, through access to land, water, seeds, credit, market and capacity building for all.
We recognize the humanizing impact of education in ecology inherent to the practices of the peasant seed system specific to the production of healthy food.
The true value of peasant seed systems whose great diversity is proven to revitalize the soil, fight against pests, increase the nutritional value of crops with a high level of productivity.
Youth peasant farmers remain the primary actors in our health, through their know-how and the nutritional quality of their seeds at the service of our well-being.
WE FEED THE PEOPLE AND BUILD THE MOVEMENT TO CHANGE THE WORLD!
UNITY IN DIVERSITY, YOUTH PEASANTS CHANGE THE WORLD!