(Bali, 7th March 2011) Members of La Via Campesina from Madagascar, El Salvador, France, Mexico, Chile, Brazil, South Korea, and Indonesia gathered in Bali for the seed farmers meeting before later joining the Fourth Session of the UN Seed Treaty Governing Body.
At the opening session, Henry Saragih, general coordinator of Via Campesina, highlighted the important strategic role peasants should play in the FAO Seed Treaty meeting to begin next week. He also hoped that the meeting will result in strengthening Via Campesina’s position on the protection of local seed and biodiversity to be presented to governments during the Seed Treaty meeting.
Alberto Gomez, coordinator for the Biodiversity and Genetic Resources Committee, also stated the importance of this meeting: “The world is facing multiple crises today and our world of agriculture is in the eye of storm; at the same time, it also plays a crucial role in offering solutions, with the protection of local seed being one way to confront the critical situation.”
Many small farmers around the world are being branded as criminals for breeding and exchanging local seeds, with biodiversity being lost due to transgenic and hybrid seeds. However, without seed, there is no agriculture, without agriculture there is no food and without food, there are no people. This meeting will also strengthen Via Campesina’s Global Campaign on Seed Exchange.