La Via Campesina delivers a fiery speech inside the European Parliament, calls out Free Trade Agreements, Colonialism and Unilateral Sanctions

17 July 2023: Morgan Ody, the General Coordinator of La Via Campesina and a small-scale vegetable farmer from Brittany France, who is a member of the ECVC and the French Peasant Union Confederation Paysanne delivers a fiery speech at a Conference in the European Parliament held parallel to the EU-CELAC summit. She calls out the ill-effects of Free Trade Agreements, colonial policies and unilateral sanctions that has exacerbated an unprecedented food crises around the world. “Food must not be used as weapons for geo-political and trade wars”, she says. “As peasants we have concrete proposals on how to conduct international trade based on the principles of food sovereignty, cooperation and solidarity”.


I am a Peasant. As it was said my organization is a member of La Via Campesina. And La Via Campesina was born 30 years ago,against Neoliberal Policies, against these Free Trade Agreements.

Because we all knew,in Europe, in Latin America, in Asia, in Africa, everywhere in the world, we all knew, and we all still know that these Free Trade Agreements are destroying us. They are making it impossible for peasants, small and medium-scale farmers to make a living out of agriculture.

These free trade agreements are leading to land, water and seeds grabbing.
It’s leading to stealing our territories for Transnational Companies and for this reason we want to stop these Free Trade Agreements (FTAs).

We do not want better Free Trade Agreements. We want to stop them!

We do not want to be ‘competitive’. We do not want to ‘compete’ with each other. We want to co-operate with each other! We want the peoples from Latin America, Europe, Africa and Asia to be in solidarity and we want Peoples’ Sovereignty!

We want all the communities, wherever we are to be able to decide on how we live on our territories and how we produce food. And not impose it on another people!

And as a European I need to say that We also want to stop pretending that the Europeans will save the world, because this has always been an excuse,to exterminate all other people!

Both the European Coordination Via Campesina (ECVC) and CLOC Via Campesina the member of Via Campesina in Latin America, we stand against all FTAs between Europe and Latin America – be it Mercosur, Chile, Peru,Colombia or Mexico.

We don’t want to produce to export.We want to produce good food to feed our people locally! We don’t want to produce commodities for the Transnational Companies! People need food and we are here, we are working,to produce good food for the people.

For these reasons, since ’96 we struggle altogether for Food Sovereignty. Peoples’ Food Sovereignty.

This is the Right of People and Countries to decide upon food and agricultural policies putting small-scale food producers at the centre of food systems. And for this we need to stop FTAs, to end the WTO and for this we need to build Food Sovereignty everywhere.

So what are the alternatives? What do we need to do?

First we call on all Members of Parliament MEPs, MPs, everywhere where you are, to create groups of Friends of Food Sovereignty. We need you to get organized to push for Food Sovereignty and to make sure that small scale food producers peasants, small-scale farmers, artisanal fisherfolk would come into these assemblies and talk about Food Sovereignty and show the way and how to build Food Sovereignty.

And second thing, we are starting, us in La Via Campesina,to build a framework for International Trade based on Food Sovereignty. Because we do need, we do need a Framework. But we do need rules that are based on Food Sovereignty.

Some ideas on what these rules can be. First, the Right of Countries to support and protect small-scale food producer The Right to regulate markets. For example the Right to have Minimum Support Prices, The Right to have Public Stocks, the Right to have Supply Management. The Rights for States and Governments to buy food directly from local small-scale food producers. We want to stop the Unilateral because some countries would like to take part in International Trade and are prohibited to do this. I mean…the blockade against Cuba is not acceptable.

We want to give priority first to local trade, then to national trade, and then to Regional Trade and not to International Trade.

It should be a priority for countries from Latin America, to trade with each other, before trading with Europe or Northern America. Just like its better for us to trade between European countries before trading with countries more far away.

Also another big thing that we really need to change, we need to change the supremacy of the Dollar. It is a huge problem and if we want to build fair trade
it cannot be based on Dollar, it needs to be based on a huge diversity of currencies and not on the Dollar.

And two last points; Food should never be used as a weapon, neither as a geopolitical weapon or a weapon in the economic war. Food is a Right. Not a Weapon!

And we are right now, in this ‘Green Transition’, as it has been discussed. It is also a threat… because going out of Fossil Fuel we are pushed…..if they want to continue with Capitalism and producing that much… with all these inequalities, this means that agriculture will not be for food any more, but as a commodity to produce agro-fuels to replace fossil fuels.

And this is the reason why the EU is pushing so much for Free Trade Agreements. And so we need to be aware that there will be no ‘Green Transition’ without putting the peasants and the indigenous people at the centre of the processes, and of the decision-making processes. Thank you very much.