October 16: La Via Campesina celebrates World Food Sovereignty Day, demands real solutions to end hunger

Press Release – La Via Campesina

Today on October 16, 2013 La Via Campesina celebrates the world food sovereignty day. People around the world will carry out actions to celebrate the need of a people’s food system. The global peasants’ movement will make its voice heard loud and clear reaffirming that peasants- led agro-ecology is the real solution to global hunger. Not only do peasant farmers feed communities, they also cool the planet and protect mother nature. Unlike agribusiness, peasants do not treat food as a commodity for speculation profiting out of hunger. They do not patent nature for profit, keeping it out of the hands of the common man and woman. They share their knowledge and seeds, so everyone can have food to eat. On this day, La Via Campesina reminds society and governments that if we really want to put an end to hunger, then we must accept the central role of the peasants, and support them to feed humanity.

The 16 of October became the world food day to commemorate the founding of the FAO, the UN body whose mandate is to end global hunger and malnutrition. The theme chosen this year to celebrate this event is “Sustainable Food Systems for Food Security and Nutrition”. This is indeed a recognition that unsustainable food systems will not lead to a future free from hunger. Yet governments, under the pressure from business interests, continue to promote unsustainable farming and false solutions to hunger. La Via Campesina argues that GMOs, agrofuels and land grabbing by private corporations, which are being promoted by governments around the world in fact increase hunger.

On October 11, the 40th session of the Committee on World Food Security (CFS) was closed in Rome. In the decisions of the CFS the governments recognized the crucial role of the small farmer as a solution to hunger. The CFS is the UN’s main body to coordinate policies to end hunger. It was revived from its mostly insignificant status earlier after the ravages of the global food price crisis of 2008 so that a crisis like that would not be repeated. Andrea Ferrante, La Via Campesina said in Rome,” Governments of the CFS recognized the diversity and complexity of small holder production, their need for access to their own markets as well as non monetary exchanges. It was made clear that small holders should not have to adapt themselves to the market, but that rules and policies should be adapted to smallholders.”

Agrofuels were a controversial issue on the table. Civil society organizations called on the CFS not to allow itself to be manipulated by agrofuel’s interest groups. While most governments agreed that agrofuels increase food insecurity, they did not have the courage to take any concrete actions because of the hard economic interests at stake. This still leaves a big space for land grabbers to carry on with their destructive initiatives. La Via Campesina and its allies will continue to fight on the ground against land grabbing and to urge governments take up the issue again at the global level to stop agrofuel expansion.

Peoples’ groups around the world have rallied on Oct 16, but also yesterday on Oct 15 as the Global day of action against Monsanto. These actions give hope for a future free of hunger, because people everywhere are standing up to denounce the false solutions of agribusiness, and to build alternatives of food sovereignty.


More information about the actions around the globe on www.viacampesina.org

Via Campesina members receive the Food Sovereignty Prize of 2013: http://foodsovereigntyprize.org/live/

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