Taiwan, protesting local farmers get global boost

La Via Campesina Southeast and East Asia Youth Asia Support Taiwan Farmers Against Land Grabbing

TAIPEI. The struggle of small farmers to preserve agricultural land from expropriation and eviction occurs throughout the world, therefore, farmers must unite to build a strong farmers’ organization. This is said by Achmad Ya’kub, Youth Coordinator of La Via Campesina Regional Southeast and East Asia, at press conference in Taipei, Taiwan, last May (30/05).

Ya’kub explained that during several days meeting with farmers in Taiwan, he witnessed firsthand how their persistent struggle in defending their land. “I saw how a watermelon farmer work hard in Wanbao area, farmers who are determined to struggle against land conversion for science park and water grab in the area of Zhanghua, Hsinchu, until Meynong. We experience the same thing in Indonesia. Many farmers in Indonesia are struggling to maintain their farm, from large corporations to individual governments. So essentially the struggles of small farmers around the world are the same, ” he explained.

“If necessary, we (Via Campesina) will mobilize solidarity letter from 150 members organization of La Via Campesina from 70 countries around the world and send them to Taiwan government to support the struggle of farmers here. Land grabbing is violating human rights, destroying the land, society, environment and food sovereignty is also violating human rights as well as the rights of Peasant,” he added.

Meanwhile, Liu Ching-Chang, Chairman of the Taiwan Farmers Union said that as Taiwan farmer he is very happy and touched to receive full support from La Via Campesina which represens small farmers across the world.

“On behalf of Taiwan farmers, we highly appreciate the solidarity from La Via Campesina. We also realized that to fight against land grabbing, farmers in Taiwan should unite and form a strong farmers’ organization. Therefore we will continue our struggle to maintain soil and water as the source of our livelihood, ” said Liu.