European dairy farmers facing an untenable situation since 2014

b_350_0_16777215_00_images_2016-02-15-yacineFRpaquet_lait.jpgTo the Presidency of the EU Council of Ministers of Agriculture

 Brussels, 11th February 2016

SUBJECT: POSITION OF THE EUROPEAN COORDINATION VIA CAMPESINA ON THE SITUATION OF THE DAIRY SECTOR AHEAD OF THE EU COUNCIL OF MINISTERS OF AGRICULTURE MEETING THE 15TH FEBRUARY 2016

Dear Martijn VAN DAM,

On the occasion of the meeting of the EU Council of Ministers of Agriculture to be held next week in Brussels, ECVC wants to share with you its major concern regarding the unprecedented deep crisis European dairy producers are facing. It is our intention that on February 15th immediate action is taken within the Council to remedy this situation.

Since mid-2014, European dairy farmers are facing an untenable situation. Due to the prospect of deregulated dairy markets in the EU (taken on by most EU Member States), and the elimination of the milk quota system in April 2015, the volumes of milk offered in most European countries began to increase. The out-of-control surplus state of affairs we are in has been aggravated by the conduct of some dairies industries and companies of European distribution. Their abuse of the dominant position in the food supply chain has been reinforced as a result of the removal of the quota system- a decision whose terrible consequences for producers have not been curbed through the implementation of the Milk Package.

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Citizens and consumers are changing says Hanny van Geel at ISS Conference

b_350_0_16777215_00_images_2016-02-08-Hanny_ISS.jpgBelow is the speech delivered by Hanny van Geel at the International Institute of Social Studies (ISS) colloquium on Global governance/politics, climate justice & agrarian/social justice: linkages and challenges. 4-5 February 2016, The Hague, Netherlands

I am rooted in farming, until 5 years ago I have spent all my life on a farm. My parents had a mixed farm. With my husband we had an organic farm with vegetables.

My first political act was in 1974 writing protest slogans on old bedsheets and paper that we attached to my father’s tractor. He and his colleagues were going to block the roads the next day. It was on the national news and in the newspapers. 30,000 farmers were in the streets for protest.

My father and the other farmers were in protest for the lowering of the price of wheat. In that period new Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) was going to be adapted and the fixed prices and import protection were going to be lowered. At that time the wheat price was €0.25/kg.

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S. Korea should stop sacrificing agriculture says Namki baek’s daughter at ISS conference, The Hague

b_350_0_16777215_00_images_2016-02-08_ISS_baek_presentation.jpgFebruary 5, 2016: The Hague, Netherlands 

In solidarity, LVC delegates invited Minjuhwa Baek to speak about her father and the South Korean situation at the just ended International Institute of Social studies (ISS) Global Governance Seminar (February 4 and 5) at The Hague. Below is her presentation.

My father has fought for farmers' rights as a member of the Korean Catholic Farmers' movement since 1986.

Last year on November 14th he attended the demonstration in Seoul, South Korea to demand the government to raise the rice price as president had promised during the president's election pledge.

Last year, the rice price fell to the same level as 20 years ago.

Government has sacrificed agriculture for joining international treaty like TPP (trans-pacific strategic Economic Partnership) or making free trade agreements with other countries. That's why rice price is falling down and farmers in South Korea are in critical danger.

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La Via Campesina, Building an International Movement for Food and Seed Sovereignty

2016-02-03-Elizabeth Mpofu.jpgAn Interview with General Coordinator Elizabeth Mpofu [1]

February 2, 2016 

By Simone Adler (Other Worlds)

Who we are fighting for is every single peasant farmer – more than 200 million – on the planet. People are eager to join hands in building a global voice.

Transnational corporations are pushing policies in African countries for industrial farming and the use of GMO [genetically modified] seeds, while grabbing our land and [stealing] our natural resources.  No one should come and tell us how to produce food. 

In Via Campesina, we believe in controlling our land and seeds and producing the healthy food that we want, the way we want. Our response is to fight for food sovereignty against these transnational corporations that are connected to the [New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition of the] G8, the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa, the World Trade Organization, and free trade agreements that don’t recognize the needs of peasants or the poor.

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