Rights Against Soaring Prices

Peasant, indigenous, pastoralists and fisherfolk representatives held a demonstration outside the FAO headquarters in Rome, Italy, to send a clear message to the governments: land grabbing must be stopped in order to tackle the food crisis and the persistent increase in prices.

The demonstration and press conference took place on the second day of the FAO’s inter-governmental talks around the Guidelines on Responsible Governance of Land Tenure and the use of other natural resources.

The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization said in a report that “Food prices today remain high, and are expected to remain volatile”. This also implies that farmers, consumers and the poorest nations are most vulnerable to food insecurity and poverty, according to the report on the state of food insecurity in the world.

In response to this situation, and as a result of the increasing expansion of land grabbing and big investment processes in agriculture, the social movements’ representatives who are taking part in the talks were clear: “land grabbing and the global food market must be stopped”.

They highlighted the importance of the Guidelines that will come out after a two-year consultation process with social movements – who act in the Committee on World Food Security as one voice- and of the beginning of a process that will set out new global rules, with special emphasis on the communities’ right to land tenure.

Lalji Desai Marag, chair of the Alliance of Nomadic and Pastoralist Peoples of India said in a press conference “we witness how many rich people acquire more and more land and they keep it unproductive. They only acquire it to speculate, because they know it is a great business”, this makes land prices soar.

“We need to stop this and in order to do that we need to secure land tenure rights for peasant families and pastoralists. In India these rights do not exist, 40% of the farmers do not own their lands.

Meanwhile, the Dakar Appeal against land grabs that came out of the World Social Forum earlier this year, was submitted on Tuesday afternoon and it has been ratified by hundreds of social networks and organizations, especially peasant groups around the world.