Peasants blockaded the WTO Office

1st December 2009

GENEVA. Dozens of peasants of La Via Campesina blocked WTO headquarters in Geneva (1 / 12). They Shouted “Down, down, WTO!” and created a human chain by holding hands in front of the entrance.

This protest related to the 7th WTO Ministerial Conference, where trade ministers from 153 countries gathered to continue the Doha round negotiations. Agricultural agreement is one of the toughest discussions.

La Via Campesina said that WTO trade agreement is very dangerous to peasants. In a free market, it is only agribusiness companies are reaping huge profits, while peasants were increasingly marginalized. Moreover for small farmers in developing countries, flood of food imports makes the price of agricultural products in a depressed state. Peasants lose the incentive to farm. This situation would damage the structure of agricultural production. Food sovereignty of the people is threatened.

In Indonesia, the dependence on food imports is increasingly severe. Since 1995, Indonesia has liberalized trade in agricultural products. For example, the current needs of milk and dairy products 70% is filled with imports, soybeans 60%, 50% salt, and corn 28%. “Things like this bring Indonesia into the trap of food. Impoverished peasants and rural residents are threatened by lack of food,” said Cecep Risnandar, SPI representatives who follow this action.

Cecep continued that food sovereignty should be established now. Free market system can not release people from the threat of poverty and hunger; even it is even worsen the condition. WTO as the main mastermind of the free market should be driven out of agriculture. Agricultural production should be directed to the fulfillment of national and local market first, without the pressure of global market interests.***