South Asia Regional Meeting Declaration

We, the members of La Via Campesina South Asia, gathered in Kathmandu, Nepal for the regional meet from 9th – 11th September 2006. The delegation included the member organizations from the South Asia region of India, Nepal, Srilanka and Bangladesh. The South Asia region of La Via Campesina has had a vast experience of peasant right movements and agitations and with the neo-liberal model of economy coming to picture , the issue of agriculture and Peasant rights have become all the more prominent and needs imminent and immediate attention. The situation is more volatile with the farmer’s suicide soaring on the one hand the adverse policies framed by the government , on the other hand. Under these   circumstances , we the members of the South Asia region of La Via Campesina , having gathered for the regional meet, commit ourselves solemnly on the following issues.

  1. The neo-liberal policies of the  government is the main culprit behind the pathetic situations in the agrarian sector and thus we commit ourselves to work in solidarity in opposing such policies.
  2. Since WTO, more than 100,000 thousands of farmers have committed suicide in India alone in the last decade. The destructive and the faulty policies of the government have resulted in this  fateful suicides. In this situation it becomes more important to strongly commit ourselves towards concept of food sovereignty. Food sovereignty is an inalienable right.
  3. The  International Financial Institutions such as World Bank, IMF are pressurizing the Sovereign governments to enact the seed laws eyeing on the billion dollar seed market. The seed laws are in tune with seed laws of the other countries making it a uniform law and thus giving monopoly to the MNC’s in the seed market. In this circumstance we reiterate our total commitment towards seed sovereignty   thus oppose the anti-farmer seed policy. Make efforts to recover the indigenous seed diversity
  4. Intensify our struggle against the genetically modified food .The GM food is the main threat towards the food sovereignty. Make efforts in co-ordination to make this region as GM free zone taking cue from the Uttranchal state from India, a pioneer in its inclination towards the GM free zone.
  5. Strengthen our efforts to with regards to the issues of prominent importance like urbanization and rural migration. The rural migration has reached an unprecedented stage. All fertile regions are being used for urbanization and thus the peasants are losing their natural rights over lands. Farming has been made very expensive and costly, deliberately by the MNC oriented government policies thus making the peasants the as the cheap laborers  in the International Financial Institutions sponsored infrastructure building projects in the name of  development.
  6. The political situation in this region has undergone certain changes with the change of rule from monarchy to democracy in Nepal. La Via Campesina had always supported the pro-democratization   process in Nepal  and commit ourselves to work with them in future also in the nation –building process giving main thrust to agriculture , agrarian reforms and food sovereignty and likewise We call upon the members responsible in Nepal to incorporate these ideals for which the La Via Campesina is working in their forth coming constitution.
  7. Though the Doha round of talks have failed in Geneva, it is very important for us not become complacent and continue our stringent efforts  until WTO is wiped from this world and restore food sovereignty.
  8. The region of South Asia is rich in Bio-diversity and thus we oppose the efforts of MNC’s to colonize our resources through patents and other related laws which takes away the community right and gives the monopoly right to the MNC’s.
  9. We continue our efforts to realize the genuine agrarian reforms. Genuine  Agrarian reforms should be accomplished fully , it is particularly important considering the vast majority of peasant population in this region.
  10. LVC has always raised voice against the war and propagated peace and thus we confirm our solidarity towards the process on the restoration of peace in Sri Lanka.
  11. We condemn the policy of the West Bengal Government (India) to evict the 1500 peasant families by giving 3000 acres of agricultural and  fertile land to the TATA company. We support the movement people in the West Bengal against the government policy.
  12. We take the example from the Tamil Nadu member by winning the battle against the unjust credit policy. Unscientific credit policy is the main reason for the suicides of the farmers. The constant struggle of the farmers have resulted in the Tamil Nadu Government waiving off 7000cr rs of the farmers debt at a single stretch.
  13. We oppose the Water privatization policy of the governments and strengthen the movement towards the achieving the  goal.
  14. We also oppose the Privatisation of the Electricity. Taking example from Karnataka and supporting  their non-co-operation and non-tax campaign against the erratic power policy and hike in the power rates to the irrigated lands. We propose to take this non cooperation to other parts in this region.
  15. We call upon all the other –organisation with the similar ideologies to work in co-ordination with LVC, in our efforts towards achieving the common goal.
  16. As a part of food sovereignty campaign we propose to adopt ecological agriculture , going back to the traditional ways of farming giving importance to the restoration of the fertility of the land than the mere sustainability aspect.
  17. Commend the Government of Kerala in banning the production and sale of pepsi and coke which had caused great havoc especially in the region of Plachimada.
  18. Oppose the Market led land reforms of the world bank which  leads to  rural to urban migration
  19. We urge governments to provide incentives to  the peasants, Social security for the farming community, Scientific price  for the crops.
  20. Fixation  of minimum wages and overcome the gender discrimination in the wage payment to the women labourers.