Starting this month, we will release a monthly newswrap of updates and articles posted by the members of La Via Campesina on various social media platforms. Here are the updates from July!
It is a crucial time for land workers to influence food and farming policy in the UK. Across Scotland, Wales and England, new legislation is reforming agricultural subsidy schemes and laying the institutional and legal foundations for transforming our food and farming systems. In August, LVC member the LandWorkers’ Alliance will host an online workshop on How To Lobby For Good Food And Farming Policy. They will also discuss subsidy reform and food legislation in England, Scotland and Wales. On similar lines, CNA is accompanying concrete measures in Portugal, where it has been assisting the farming sector in the allocation of public aid as a result of the increase in energy and fertilizer prices, with a strong impact on the country’s agricultural activity. Owners of poultry farms and those producing cow’s milk can contact a CNA agency until August 12.
In Kenya, the Kenyan peasant League (KPL) conducted a two-day formation session with women on land rights and the impact of micro-credit. Through crowdfunding, the KPL Women’s Collective also secured the resources to buy about 1.8 Hectares of land for women affected by gender-based violence and land-grabbing. The women will use the land as a safe haven to organize, farm, and live. In Brazil, Movimento dos Atingidos por Barragens – MAB organized a roundtable where the participants discussed the challenges of the struggle and popular organization in the Amazon region.
In South Korea, the KWPA Sisters’ Garden uses its Facebook page to promote agroecological products to a broader set of consumers in the neighbourhood. In Brazil too MST and allies are promoting the broadcasting of a film on seeds this August 4th, in an agroecological store in Rio de Janeiro. The film aims to of bring the debate on agrarian reform to the population. The Korean Peasant League also informs about a public demonstration by farmers against the CPTPP trade deal. In India, Amritabhoomi, the agroecological peasant school in Karnataka, uses its Facebook page to provide the latest updates from the Namdu Farmers’ Cooperative. The cooperative sells agroecological produce to consumers in the locality. A similar initiative is being promoted by MODEF in France, which is organizing this August 18 the sale of 25 tons of fruits and vegetables, transported from Tarn et Garonne and Hérault to Paris Place de la Bastille, Val de Marne and Hauts de Seine in support of family farmers.
Visura Media, a community web-cast run by the members of MONLAR in Srilanka, informs us about the scale of environmental destruction in rural and coastal Srilanka. They also recently organized a residential media training program to strengthen young people’s digital participation and media competencies. MONLAR also posted updates early this month about the wild elephant attack on farms in the Thalawa river Siripura area of the Anuradhapura district.
In Peru, peasant and indigenous organizations, some of which are part of LVC, presented to President Pedro Castillo a Second Agrarian Reform Law Project. It is a document prepared by the grassroots of the movement after a series of decentralized events called the Second Agrarian Reform Summit, promoted by the same organizations to gather the main needs and demands of the rural milieu. During the presentation, the peasants pointed out to the President that “no Peruvian has to die in a country of peasants”.
From Paraguay, an statement signed by the organizations CLOC LVC and the National Organization of Independent Aborigines (ONAI), alerted us about the continuity of land evictions promoted by the Government. This time, the indigenous community Hugua Po’i a Mbya Guaraní, is fighting to return to their ancestral lands from which they were evicted last year. The organizations are demanding the repeal of the Zavala-Riera Law, which criminalizes peasant struggles and has currently affected more than 3,000 peasant and indigenous families.
In Panama, a national mobilization since the beginning of July has kept the whole country in tension, as a confluence of social organizations, among them peasants and indigenous peoples, protested energetically against the increase in the price of fuel and food. So far a dialogue table has been set up with the government to meet the demands raised by the organizations, the private sector has criticized this initiative.
Brazil hosted the 2nd National Women’s School of La Via Campesina, where 60 women from different states participated. This is part of a great legacy of political formation promoted by the peasant movement inspired by LVC and its principles. One of the agreements of this event was to change the official name to Feminist School of LVC Brazil, to promote Peasant and Popular Feminism as a political tool born from the movement.
In France, Confederation Paysanne issued a press release that brought attention to the falling prices of organic milk. In Romania, Eco Ruralis participated in making a new documentary film, “Green Revolution | Europe, a confused continent”, by the TV station ARTE. The members explained the effects of social inequity created by the distribution of agricultural subsidies, which end up overwhelmingly in the pockets of big companies. From Canada, The Union Paysanne also threw us a teaser of a documentary-in-the-making expected in the fall season in Canada. The Women Caucus of the National Farmers’ Union in Canada is putting together a multi-media campaign to highlight farmers whose gender identities are under-represented in the agricultural field.
The Indonesia Peasants’ Union – Serikat Petani Indonesia – has posted an update about an agrochemical firm allegedly poisoning the farms that are part of the Union’s agrarian reform struggles. A similar alert was issued by Mocase, our member in Argentina when a large farm’s fumigation action was poisoning the water that runs through the Miquilo Canal. Mocase reminds us that the herbicide is prohibited throughout the national territory, yet the farm owner turns deaf ears to the legislation on the use of agro toxics.
In another disturbing update, the Assembly of Poor in Thailand has issued alerts about the arrest of a young peasant leader who was part of the pro-democracy movement in the country. As per the latest update, she has been denied bail by the court. The movement members are calling for attention to the cases of illegal detention of democracy activists.
(Have we missed an important update? If so, you can email the links to firstname.lastname@example.org, which we will include in the next edition. Only Updates from La Via Campesina members will be part of this news wrap. Also check out the articles on our website, published this July, that elaborates different initiaves inside the global peasant movement. )