La Via Campesina expresses the deep solidarity of our world peasant movement with the Ukrainian small-scale farmers who are suffering the atrocities of war.
We call for an immediate halt to the military invasion and war and for a diplomatic solution that takes into account the interests of the people. We call for the respect of peasants’ rights as recognized in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Peasants and Other Rural Workers, including the right to life, liberty and security of persons (Article 6). The Ukrainian people have the right to self-determination, without being subjected to agression for the sake of economic and geopolitical interests.
We express our deep solidarity to and emphasize the essential role played by the four million peasants and small farmers in Ukraine. Nobody talks about these small Ukrainian farmers. But according to statistics, small and medium-sized farms in Ukraine produce 52.7% of the country’s agricultural gross domestic product on only 12% of the agricultural land. They produce 98% of total potato production, 86% of vegetables and 81% of milk. In Ukraine as elsewhere, it is the peasants and small farmers who ensure the food sovereignty of their country, not agribusiness. Despite this, they are denied any recognition of their agricultural status and any support from the state, reserved for large agri-holdings.
In the early days of the war, the oligarchs who own the mega-farms and agribusiness exporters fled Ukraine. But the peasants and small-scale farmers stayed and continued to work. They are the ones who ensure the continuity of the food supply in times of peace and now war. They deserve to be recognized, they deserve to be supported. La Via Campesina is committed to be at their side to assert their demands.
We note that the war in Ukraine also worsened the very harsh consequences for the populations living far from the conflict zone, due to the increase in the price of essential goods, food, fuel, gas and medicines including because wars are opportunities for increasing tradings against the life of people. In many countries, the war has further aggravated the very difficult situation related to the COVID-19 pandemic and hunger crises are emerging. This context shows once again that making the food security of the people dependent on international trade and transnational companies is criminal. La Via Campesina demands that governments and UN institutions, especially FAO, IFAD and the Committee on Food Security, take their responsibilities and adopt, as a matter of urgency, the following measures:
- ban speculation on food products,
- implement agricultural trade through commodity agreements at fair and affordable prices for import-dependent countries,
- ban the transformation of agricultural products into agrofuels, and
- immediately suspend the implementation of WTO agreements.
We demand that governments and UN institutions commit to a radical change in their policies to move away from neo-liberalism and implement agro-ecology, land reform and peasant rights to reach food sovereignty.
We call on our member organizations and allies to make their voices heard and show their solidarity to demand an end to the war and find a diplomatic solution to restore peace. We stand with peasants, small-scale farmers and other people living in rural and urban areas around the world who face conflicts and imperialist wars and continue to resist in defense of human rights and food sovereignty.
Globalize the struggle, Globalize hope!