In this latest edition of our monthly news wrap, we bring you the latest updates, news and actions from Africa, Asia, Europe and the Americas! All these news items are sourced from the social media pages of LVC’s member organizations.
This September, La Via Campesina’s Southern and East African member organizations organized a regional assembly and learning exchanges that created the space for the women, youth and other peasant members of the movement to meet, discuss and study. The regional meeting at Kangemi, Nairobi, Kenya, brought together peasant leaders from eight countries in the region. The Kenyan Peasant League, which is hosting the regional conference, has been actively sharing information and updates on their Twitter page.
The participants of the Regional Youth Exchange also visited Mwende Youth Collective’s unit that produces Organic Poultry Feed. They also tried their hand at a training program on composting and tested the indigenous ways of detecting the presence of water using copper metals.
Mtandao wa Vikundi vya Wakulima Tanzania (MVIWATA), LVC’s member organization in Tanzania, held a peasant women’s workshop at Milo ward, Ludewa District, early this month. In pictures shared by MVIWATA on its Twitter handle, the participants are seen preparing a vegetable garden and exchanging ideas around plot preparation and placement of compost.
La Via Campesina’s South East and East Asian members held its regional meeting of the Women Articulation in Manila, Philippines, this September. They also visited and expressed solidarity with the long-standing struggle of the peasants of Sumalo. The meeting of the women’s articulation was preceded by a learning workshop on agroecology jointly organized by the Korean Women Peasants’ Association, Korean Peasant League and Serikat Petani Indonesia in the last week of August in Seoul and Sangju, South Korea.
In early September, the Assembly of the Poor (AoP), LVC’s member organization in Thailand, held an agroecology camp at Maha Sarakham. Among many topics, they also learnt how floating plants capture nutrients in the farm ditches and are an excellent source for natural fertilizers and fortifying the trunk of pomelo trees. The AoP also held a youth camp for children from peasant families from the Kok Edoi community near the Thai-Cambodian border. It was a space to learn more about the forest, and the children helped create signposts that designated the swamp as a safe zone for bullfrogs.
Serikat Petani Indonesia, the peasants union in the country, also marked the National Peasants’ Day on 24th September with various activities, workshops and webinars. Peasants of SPI also held a demonstration in front of the Ministry of Agriculture on 27th September. Their demands included strengthening peasant-led cooperatives, rejecting GMO-based food, and respecting peasants’ rights to use, save and exchange seeds.
LVC members in South Asia joined a group of international peasant leaders and other social organizations of the IPC to attend the official Seed Treaty (ITPGRFA) meeting in New Delhi, India, this month. The delegation of peasants insisted that seed sovereignty is essential to achieving food sovereignty. Several members of La Via Campesina spoke at the event. They reiterated LVC’s and IPC’s commitment to developing peasant seed systems in all countries of the world, preferably with the support of a Seed Treaty that serves to realize the full realization of peasants’ rights as defined in UNDROP. Leaders from the BKU that played a crucial role in India’s farmers’ protest of 2021 also emphasized that no treaty or obligation can curb farmers’ rights.
Between September 4 and 6, the member organizations of the Alianza por la Soberanía Alimentaria de los Pueblos de América Latina y El Caribe met in Argentina, as part of their process of building towards the process of the next Nyéléni forum. The meeting culminated with a political declaration demanding governments to comply with and implement international instruments such as the Declaration on the Rights of Peasants and Other People Working in Rural Areas; the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples; the Voluntary Guidelines on Land Governance, the Decade of Family Farming, Free, Prior and Informed Consent, among others.
In Haiti, the peasant movement part of La Via Campesina, together with a number of social organizations in the country, have shown their concern and denounced the interference of external and colonial interests in the recent national election process. In September, the organizations continued to mobilize for their autonomy in several cities of the country and demanded the resignation of the current Prime Minister. Likewise, in Colombia, the recent political changes do not seem to solve problems of persecution and criminalization of peasant leaders, a communiqué of the CLOC LVC, denounced a few days ago the death threat received by the peasant leader Robert Daza, of the National Agrarian Coordinator – CNA and current Senator of the Republic.
The recent popular referendum process approved the Family Code, a public policy that seeks to protect the family environment from violence and discrimination against any member of the family. The referendum was strongly promoted by the National Association of Small Farmers – ANAP, part of La Via Campesina.
In Europe, La Via Campesina delegates also participated in a crucial meeting of the International Planning Committee on Food Sovereignty (IPC). The group also met with the FAO’s partnership unit and the secretariat of the UN decade on family farming to advance and concretely build the participation of small-scale food producers in global and regional public policies through the development of a formal agreement between the IPC and FAO. Also at the institutional level, a delegation of La Via Campesina participated in the First Global Forum of the United Nations Decade for Family Farming, from September 19 to 22. There they drew attention to the commitments of governments to the UNDROP Declaration, urging them to take it as a guide for the development of public policies and investments in favor of family farming.
In Italy, ARI Associazione Rurale Italiana joined the global climate strike and drew attention to a campaign against the European Commission’s attempts to open up to new #GMOs in the Euro parliament. AbL in Germany, launched a petition to draw the government’s attention to the concentration of land in East Germany by companies such as ALDI and the arms company Rheinmetall as a result of the deregulation of land prices, which have doubled in 10 years and hinder food security and access to land for young peasant farmers.
In Spain, COAG warned in an interview about the strong heat wave that has reduced the olive harvest by 35% this year and has been affecting one of the richest ecosystems in the Mediterranean. And when we speak of drought, we also speak of water scarcity, as confirmed by the peasants of the Confédération Paysanne in France at a press conference last September 30, during which they called for an equitable distribution of water, giving priority to horticulture, arboriculture, animal watering and production for local food.
The European Coordination of Via Campesina also informed about a multidisciplinary festival on the food, social and ecological transition that took place in Brussels this month and about a demonstration organized in Gand against the sale of public agricultural land. Further south, in Neufchâteau, the Belgian Peasant Action Movement will organize the AgriCulture festival, with a concert by Peasant Action Music on October 8 and a film-debate on October 13, which will examine the challenges of organic production in neoliberal times.
On October 15, ahead of World Food Day, Land Workers Alliance joins forces with many organizations in the UK for the Good Food, Good Farming! March in London, to demand ambitious food strategies from the government to tackle inflation and the food and climate crisis.
In other upcoming events, our member organisations will join Bizilur in the Basque Country for a meeting themed ‘Seeds in resistance for a feminist food sovereignty’ this October 17th and 18th together with an international delegation of women from La Via Campesina.
September is also when we remember Korean Peasant Lee Kyung Hae, who took his life in Cancun, Mexico, in 2003 to protest against the policies of the WTO that threatened his farm and Korea’s food sovereignty. Several members of La Via Campesina worldwide posted their messages of solidarity and issued a collective denouncement of WTO and Free Trade Agreements, which has fuelled rural despair and hunger. Read La Via Campesina’s General Coordinator’s interview to Capire that further explains this crisis, and points to a set of concrete proposals for an alternative international trade framework in LVC’s Geneva Declaration.
(Have we missed an important update? If so, you can email the links to firstname.lastname@example.org, which we will include in the next edition. Only Updates from La Via Campesina members will be part of this news wrap. For a thorough update of different initiatives from September 2022, visit our website.)