Food Sovereignty and Trade

Food Sovereignty within a new Agricultural Policy

b_350_0_16777215_00_images_2017-02-09-genevieve_intervention2-550x309.jpg(Brussels, February 7, 2017) Hosted by the European United Left/Nordic Green Left, the hearing “Food Sovereignty within a new Agricultural Policy” in the EU Parliament this morning in Brussels moved discussions regarding the coming reform of the CAP beyond the mere distribution of public subsidies and highlighted the importance of food sovereignty and another model of agriculture.

The European Coordination Via Campesina was there with Isabel Vilalba Seivane (Secretary General, SLG Sindicato Labrego Galego – Galician Farmers Union), Genevieve Savigny (Coordination Committee ECVC) and Mikel Hirribaren (Secretary General, Confédération Paysanne)

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Op Ed: Free Trade, Rural Canada and How to keep Canada from being Trumped

b_350_0_16777215_00_images_2015-10-15_NFU.pngOver the decades since the Canada-US Free Trade Agreement (FTA) and later, NAFTA, was signed, Canadian agriculture has undergone a significant shift. There was once a multitude of diverse local and regional economic drivers, but now we have a “one size fits all” export-driven, low-priced commodity production model. Farm capital needs have sky-rocketed as illustrated by the massive $90 billion farm debt. Off-farm investors control more and more of Canada’s farmland. Production – per farm, per acre and per worker -- continues to go up. And that production became increasingly export and transport dependent as NAFTA-driven deregulation accelerated consolidation and transnational ownership of handling and processing facilities. Farmer numbers are ominously declining, yet governments, and most farm commodity groups and agri-business corporations remain euphoric over each signed trade agreement and growing exports.

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Milk Crisis: Deregulation not in the interest of producers and consumers

b_350_0_16777215_00_images_2017-01-23-Milk_Crisis.jpgThe sector's deregulatory policy is tailor-made for large-scale distribution and the dairy industry and, it does not serve the interests of producers and consumers.

Brussels, January 23, 2017

Today, European milk producers (ECVC and the European Milk Board - EMB) met again in Brussels for a symbolic action on the occasion of the EU Agriculture and Fisheries Council meeting.

The aim of this initiative was to draw attention upon the crisis still affecting the milk sector, to denounce the introduction of powdered milk on the market as a result of public intervention, and to demand the re-establishment of a public regulatory instrument designed to end the crisis, the longest in the sector's history.

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Commission and Council only add to the dairy overflow with their milk powder

b_350_0_16777215_00_images_2017-18-01-ECVC_MILK.jpgMilk producers’ initiative – 23rd January, during the meeting of the EU Agriculture Council

ECVC Press Release- Brussels, 18th January 2017

On January 23rd, the European Coordination Via Campesina (ECVC), along with the European Milk Board (EMB), will demonstrate in front of the Justus Lipsius building – Rue de la Loi 175, 1000 Brussels, against the placement of milk powder resulting from public intervention, and in defence of the restoration of regulatory instruments on milk production in the EU.

It is easy to see why: when the European Commission and the EU Council of Ministers for Agriculture add 360,000 tonnes of milk powder – a result of the intervention – to an already inundated milk market, they are not helping the recovery of production prices, nor are they helping the industry commercialise their massive reserves generated by prolonged periods of recession.

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For an agricultural and food policy at the service of the people!

logo-eurovia.pngPress release

Brussels, January 12, 2017

The debate on the post-2020 CAP has started; the President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Junker acknowledged the importance of a European Agricultural Policy, the European Commissioner for Agriculture Phil Hogan announced a reform under the banner of "modernization and simplification" and the forthcoming launch of a broad public consultation.

Today, the European Coordination Via Campesina will present the basis for its engagement in the debate for the future CAP, in order to set up an Agricultural and Food Policy that truly answers the needs of the European peoples and that shows the human and responsible face of Europe.

Read more: For an agricultural and food policy at the...

Che Sudaka dedicates their new music video to La Via Campesina and struggles for food sovereignty

b_350_0_16777215_00_.._es_images_Cuando_Ser_Video.pngColombian-Argentine music group Che Sudaka, which is based in Barcelona has released a new music video "Cuando Sera” as part of their album “Hoy” and has dedicated the song to La Via Campesina’s peaceful struggle for food sovereignty and social justice. 

The song was inspired by the events during the National Agricultural Parade in Colombia in 2013, which was attended by peasant movements, artisanal miners, transporters, health workers, students, and with the support of trade union centers and popular organizations. The parade brought attention to the perils of Free Trade Agreement (FTA) signed by Colombia, that restricted peasants from using seeds from their own harvest and tilted agriculture in favor of multinationals like Monsanto. The song was made in collaboration with Subcantante Mario and David Jaramillo, members of the Colombian group Doctor Krápula.

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Towards a popular vote on food sovereignty in Switzerland

b_350_0_16777215_00_images_2016-12-09-uniterre_campaign.jpgBrussels, December 8, 2016

Uniterre’s quest to write food security into the Swiss constitution

On the back of La Via Campesina’s 4th international meeting in Maputo, the idea to incorporate food sovereignty into the Swiss Constitution took form under the Uniterre committee, a member of European Coordination Via Campesina. The Maputo gathering served as a call for actions towards food sovereignty and visions for reshaping domestic laws on agriculture and food policy. Allow us to recount our Helvetian process.

A lengthy undertaking

The Swiss system of direct democracy theoretically allows for changes to the constitution by popular initiative. In order for this to be done, first, proponents of change must produce a draft of the new constitutional article. Legal counsel can be useful in assuring the text’s force in the face of government scrutiny. After approval from the Federal Chancellery, the draft’s creators are given 18 months to collect 100,000 signatures from eligible Swiss voters. The text is then reviewed by the Swiss Federal Council (the executive branch) and Parliament (the legislative) and an assessment is given. These bodies, which have roughly three years to submit the text to popular vote, can issue a favourable or unfavourable review and even prepare a counter draft which will additionally be put to vote. There are rare cases in which the counter proposition, viewed satisfactorily by the authors of the original text, is withdrawn by the same. In such cases only the counter draft is submitted to popular vote.

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