Why are the FAO and the EBRD promoting the destruction of peasant and family farming?

Common statement of La Via Campesina - GRAIN - Friends of the Earth International (FoE) - Coordinadora Latinoamericana de Organizaciones del Campo (CLOC) - Re:Common -World March of Women -ETC group -Latin American Articulation of Movements Toward ALBA (see full list below)

(14 September 2012) We are shocked and offended by an article co-signed by Jose Graziano da Silva, Director General of the UN's Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), and Suma Chakrabarti, President of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), that was pusblished in the Wall Street Journal on September 6, 2012.1 In the article, they call on governments and social organisations to embrace the private sector as the main engine for global food production.

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Malian farmers want their land back



Bamako — A group of smallholder farmers in Mali have turned to the courts to try to recover land they say they have lost to big private investors. The legal action comes as foreign investors are losing interest in Mali due to political instability and an armed rebellion in the north.

"We have laid a complaint against the agricultural land grabs that have hit so many smallholders," said Lamine Coulibaly, a member of the National Coordination of Peasant Organisations, which is resisting the large-scale acquisition of agricultural land by foreign investors.

The farmers next day in court will be on Sep. 27, in the central Mali town of Markala. They hope to put the brakes on the requisitioning of land they have been cultivating for generations.

"There have already been several sittings without actual deliberation, but we have confidence in the justice system. We are convinced that we are in the right and we can win this case," said Coulibaly.

The respondent in this case is Office of the Niger, a government department which oversees the the development of a million square hectares of farmland in this central region. A dam constructed by the French colonial authorities in 1932 could be the basis for enormous agricultural potential in the region, but barely 100,000 hectares had been developed before the arrival of foreign investors in 2008.

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The European Coordination Via Campesina supports the actions of SOC-SAT and their leaders

The SOC-SAT (Sindicato de Obreros del Campo –Sindicato Andaluz de Trabajadores) has undertaken many different actions in recent months to achieve fairer production, consumption and sales’ regulations for agricultural produce in the context of food sovereignty.

The political courage shown by SOC-SAT and particularly by their leaders is unprecedented. By undertaking actions of resistance, and proposing alternatives, SOC-SAT is challenging the current neo-liberal system and its disastrous impacts on people.

Recent actions include that of 24th July by SOC-SAT agricultural workers in Andalusia who occupied the La Turquilla farm.

SOC-SAT demands that the farm laborer’s cooperatives be allowed to work the land of the 2,000 hectares of fertile land that is owned by the army, in order to feed their families, instead of using it to grow export crops and rear horses.

Given the current serious economic and social crisis affecting Spain as well as the rest of Europe, SOC-SAT’s actions provide credible solidarity alternatives for defending social justice and human rights in a way that reaches beyond capitalist dogma.

Farmland should first and foremost be used for small-scale family farming and meet the social, environmental and economic challenges of our society.

We also call for an initiative for European agrarian reform of land use, to serve food security and sustainable development.

Contact : Javier Sanchez, Member of the Coordinating Committee of ECVC

For further information : SAT http://www.sindicatoandaluz.org


Bukit Tinggi Declaration on agrarian reform in the 21st Century


Bukit Tinggi Declaration

Agrarian Reform and the Defense of Land and Territory in the 21st Century

14 July 2012

We have been meeting here in Bukit Tinggi, West Sumatra, Indonesia, from July 10 to 15, 2012, for the International Workshop and Seminar "Agrarian Reform and Defense of Land and Territory in the 21st Century: The Challenge and the Future," convened by La Via Campesina and the Global Campaign for Agrarian Reform, in the midst of a global emergency caused by the multiple crises of food, climate, finance, poverty and unemployment. We have been evaluating our strategies and lessons learned during the last two decades of struggles for agrarian reform, and the defense of the lands and territories of our peoples.

The most recent worldwide avalanche of land grabbing lends urgency to our analysis. As we stated in the Dakar Appeal and the Nyeleni Declaration against Land Grabbing, this is a global phenomenon promoted by elites with local, national and transnational investors, and governments, with the goal of controlling the most valuable resources on this planet.

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