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April 17: More than one hundred actions in the world to support peasant agriculture
17 April 2011
La Via Campesina Press Release
(Jakarta, April 16, 2011) – Tomorrow, April 17, the world will celebrate the International Day of Peasant Struggle. More than one hundred different events are taking place (See full list here) in every corner of the world, in capitals cities, towns and small villages, in defence of peasant agriculture and food sovereignty. This date commemorates the 1996 assassination in Eldorado dos Carajás, Brazil, of 19 innocent peasants who were struggling for land and defending peasant and small farmer food production.
This year we reaffirm the need to get rid of the corporate food system, and our belief that peasant agriculture can feed the world. The current food crisis shows that the dominant corporate food system has failed and that the promises of the 1996 World Food Summit, echoed by the Millennium Development Goal of reducing hunger by 2015, will not be fulfilled. On the contrary, the number of hungry has increased from 800 million in 1996 to more then 1,000 million at the moment.
The day will be celebrated in many different ways. A wide variety of groups, activists, communities, media and organizations from every continent have organized direct actions, cultural activities, workshops, film screenings, radio programmes, debates on Food Sovereignty and rallies.
One of the important actions will be the publication of an international statement against land grabbing, at the occasion of the World Bank meeting in Washington DC.
In Brussels, a large “Free Our Seeds” action will gather many participants, who will exchange the seeds and experience gained from their gardens and farms. It is a simple way to invigorate forgotten diversity and reaffirm the value of seeds for our food and culture.
In Brazil, the La Via Campesina member MST is organizing a seminar called “Eldorado dos Carajás, 15 years of impunity”, commemorating the 15th anniversary of the massacre. In Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil, around 600 people from organizations member of La Via Campesina will march to demand their right to land in the context of the International Day of Peasant Struggle.
In Korea, the Korean Peasant League and Korea Women Peasant Association, together with 25 other farmers’ organizations, organized two mobilizations this week. The first was in favour of the reform of agricultural cooperative bank law, and the second to stop the KOR-US and KOR-EU Free Trade Agreements, and demand compensation for farmers affected by the foot and mouth disease, as well as the protection of peasant rights. More than one thousand five hundreds farmers got together from all over the nation.
Watch videos on April 17:
Via Campesina spokespersons for interviews:
Henry Saragih – Indonesia (English, Bahasa Indonesia), phone: +62811655668
Paul Nicholson – Spain (Spanish, English and French), phone: +34636451566
Itelvina Masioli – Brazil (Spanish and Portuguese), phone: +551195189275
Renaldo Chingore João – Mozambique (Portuguese), phone: +258824507340
Josie Riffaud – France (French), phone: +336105291
More on www.viacampesina.org