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Call of La Via Campesina for April 17th of The International Day of Peasant Struggle

17 April 2008

Agribusiness Transnational Corporations (TNCs) Create World Food Crisis,

Peasant Seize Back Their Rights

Call of La Via Campesina for April 17th of The International Day of Peasant Struggle


The 17th of April is the International Peasant’s Struggle Day, established after the massacre of 19 landless peasants belonging to the Landless Movement (MST) in Brazil on the 17th of April 1996 during the second conference of  La Via Campesina in Tlaxcala Mexico.

The world food crisis is starting to appear in its real picture this year. During the last decades hunger was “hiding” in rural or slump areas. Now the number is increasing and many more people cannot stand it anymore. Food riots appear and  queues of hungry people are back in many part of the world.

Africa and Asia are worst affected by hunger, misery and poverty in the rural areas and the increasing effects of climate change. Economic development and growth only benefits minority of the population and create environmental damage and does not resolve the extremely precarious situation of  the large majority.  In India an economic boom benefits only a minor part of the population. At the same time peasant based agriculture is being destroyed and  thousands of peasant end their life through suicide because of despair and poverty. Young peasants from Indonesia, Philippine, Thailand, Bangladesh have to leave their family and village for other countries because there is no possibility to gain a living.

In Latin America region similar developments take  place. Farm land do not anymore belong to rural people. They have to work as cheap labor on the land they owned before. Some flee to the city trying to improve their lives but unfortunately every night they have to go to bed with an empty belly.

Big transnational agribusiness corporations (TNCs) want to increase control over world food and agricultural economy. Liberalization of  trade and investment in agriculture has made this happen. International arrangements have been made for this through the World Trade Organization (WTO), Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) and Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs). It is assisted through the programs of the  World Bank and the  IMF that promote agribusiness as the priority in food and agricultural policies in many countries.

Government subsidies that go to agribusiness TNCs in the north are aimed to industrialize farming, eliminating farms in the North and in the South through low price dumping. Through green revolution, agribusiness TNCs  exclude local wisdom and knowledge on agriculture and impose new technologies and agricultural inputs that farmers have to buy and depend on. Today the greediness of agribusiness TNCs is even more dangerous because they want much more land to convert into agro fuel mono-cultures, harvesting food for cars.

Clearly, agribusiness TNCs want to stop family farmers and peasants to feed people in the world because their objective is to control the world food market and to convert peasant based production into industrialized production. After expropriating many small farmers and peasants they exploit consumers increasing world food prices.

The  operation of agribusiness TNCs are really against human beings and the sustainability of the earth, we should not allow them to continue their operations. We should stop them and  seize back the rights of  people for farming, the right to produce good food for all people.

For the commemoration this year of the 17th of  April, the International Day of  Peasant Struggle, La Via Campesina calls upon their members and other social movements to do activities and actions against TNCs:

  1. To send before the 17th of April  reports and information on the impacts of agribusiness TNCs that create hunger, poverty for family farmers and peasants. We will collect your information and publish the list on www.viacampesina.org during the April 17th. You could send any information like incidents of hunger, violation of human rights, negative impacts on the culture and values of people, indebtedness,  health problems, expropriation of farm land, natural disasters and other incidents impacted by the operations of agribusiness TNCs in your village, local and country.
  2. To organize on or around the 17th of April  activities (seminars, public discussions, actions, mobilizations, press conferences,…..)  to expose the impacts of agribusiness TNCs and to delegitimize their role in the food sector. These activities could also show what has been proposed  by the peasant organizations and other social movements as the alternatives to the neo-liberal model.

You could send the report or information to International Operative of La Via Campesina through Tejo Pramono on email tpramono@viacampesina.org


17 April 2008
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