Let’s talk about the rights of women farmers!

b_350_0_16777215_00_images_2015-11-20-frauen-traktorsc.jpg(Vienna, Austria, November 19, 2015) Violence is not always obvious. The traditional structures of power and possession on farms in Austria tend to harm womens’ personal, economic and political rights. Many women suffering from economic dependency and oppression are not aware that they are victims of violence - and that they are able to defend against it. (Economic) Violence against women is still a taboo in the Austrian countryside.

Who owns the farm? Who decides about investments? Who does negotiations? Who has access to money? Who represents the farm? Who engages in political processes? And who does the house and care work?

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Kao Bart Village, Thailand: Peasant Women in Struggle for Land Rights and Well Being

b_350_0_16777215_00_images_2015-11-20-Thailand.jpg(Bangkok, November 19, 2015) Kao Bart Village is a forest-dwelling community in Dong Yai Forest in Buriram, province near Thai-Cambodia border, Thailand.  Read on to learn about the complex relationship between the state, the military, corporate interests in agriculture, and the determination of women peasants for autonomy and security in Kao Bart Village. This story is contributed by Assembly of the Poor, Thailand.

In 1970, the Kao Bart villagers were encouraged by the Thai army to live and farm in the forest as part of the military’s anti-communist strategies. In 1976, after the war against communism was over, the Thai state decided to push the villagers out from the forest. Their farmlands were been given to corporates for eucalyptus plantation franchises.

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Women fight to reclaim and use traditional seeds

b_350_0_16777215_00_images_2015-10-20_women_zim.JPG(Harare, October 20, 2015) Women from the Zimbabwe Smallholder Organic Farmers Forum (ZIMSOFF) continuously fight to reclaim and use traditional seeds, and break dependence on commercial seeds. As the world celebrated the World Food Day on the 16th, the international peasant movement, La Via Campesina, on this day, called on its members and allies, and civil society organizations to mobilize and organize actions for Peoples’ Food Sovereignty and against transnational corporations (TNCs). In response, ZIMSOFF organized its member farmers on the 16th and 17th October, to participate in a dialogue and festival respectively where the focus was on traditional food and seeds. They shared the plight faced by many small farmers, particularly women and youth under the current climate and hunger crises.

Over 12 smallholder farmers (from four ZIMSOFF clusters: northern, eastern, western and central) participated in the festival. These farmers, of which 8 were women, were selected from the best farmers, the winners, at ZIMSOFF cluster food and seed fairs, to represent their clusters at the national level. The cluster food and seed fairs were held in August and September this year. They brought their own seeds and processed farm produce to showcase at the national festival. They brought also seeds and processed farm produce randomly selected from other cluster members.

Tendai Chidhakwa, a smallholder farmer from the eastern cluster of ZIMSOFF participated at the just ended traditional and organic food and seed festival held a day after the World Food Day. According to Tendai Chidhakwa "traditional and farmer saved seeds are not bought but exchanged among the farmers and thus are important in building a stronger food sovereignty. Farmers without money can have seeds to grow and feed their families". With regards to nutrition she said “African traditional seeds are nutritious and good for our bodies; they improve our health.”

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Palestine : Open Day for Women's Cooperatives in the West Bank and Gaza Strip

UAWCwomencooperativesc.jpg(Hebron, august 2015) - the Union of Agricultural Work Committees organized an open day to show the products of 35 women cooperative in the West Bank and Gaza Strip within “the transition from relief to sustainable livelihood" project - to enhance food security in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, funded by the Canadian International Development Agency in partnership with CARE International Foundation.

Assistant Undersecretary for Economic Affairs in the Ministry of Agriculture Dr. Ali Gayatha, UAWC’s Acting Director Fuad Abu Seif, the Deputy Governor of Hebron Governorate Marwan Sultan, and CARE International Foundation’s Director in the West Bank and Gaza Strip Rene Seleia launched the open day activities.

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