The Matthadiguda Declaration for Food Sovereignty in Telangana -2015

(India, Telanganam February 24, 2015) Over 600 delegates participated in the Telangana Food Sovereignty Summit organised by the Food Sovereignty Alliance, India and hosted by its member organisation Telangana Adivasi Aikya Vedika, in Matthadiguda village, Adilabad district, Telangana, between February 22 and 24, 2015. Diverse social movements and civil society organisations of Telangana as also Adivasi, Dalit and Farmers movements from Andhra Pradesh, Delhi, Jharkhand, Karnataka and Maharashtra participated and expressed their solidarity with the Matthadiguda Declaration on Food Sovereignty in Telangana:

 We the adivasis, dalits, peasants, shepherds and co-producer citizens of Telangana, Indiaassert our collective rights to our land, forests, water, air, indigenous seeds and animals, our diverse food cultures, our knowledge systems and local markets. We shall safeguard our sacred relationship with Mother Earth and protect this abundance of life for future generations. We declare that it is women of our communities who are leading this movement.

Towards the reconstruction of Telangana, we resolve to organise communities to return to this positive movement for Life that includes a commitment to:

  • Struggle for just and equitable land distribution to the landless, particularly dalits, and defend the rights of women to land;
  • Struggle for the collective rights of adivasis to their territories and forests and uphold their powers of local self-rule.
  • Struggle for democratic local governance and rejuvenation of village commons, which includes water bodies and village tanks, common grazing lands, forests, air, biodiversity, seed and knowledge.
  • Struggle against the new Land Acquisition Ordinance, 2014 and all other forces that aim to displace and alienate communities from their land, resources, knowledge and livelihoods.
  • Struggle against Patriarchal Capitalist Corporate Industrial Agri-business Production, which is contributing to growing violence against women in our communities.

We call upon the ruling party and all opposition parties in Telangana to oppose The Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement(Amendment) Ordinance, 2014. This Ordinance stands to destroy the livelihoods of adivasis and all farming communities, threatens our food sovereignty, and violates constitutional safeguards of adivasis and farming communities.

Seed[1] sovereignty is central to rebuilding our diverse local food-farming systems, food cultures and food sovereignty to feed us all. Agro-ecological production of food based on our ancestral knowledge is key to revitalise our indigenous and peasant food webs, heal mother earth, and build our resilience as communities to climate change.

We call upon all farming communities to participate in this movement to:

  • Rebuild our local community seed diversity, through saving seeds and reciprocal sharing and exchange of our diverse local traditional varieties of seeds (cereals, millets, pulses, oil-seeds vegetables and fruit (both cultivated and wild varieties), herbal medicines, and indigenous breeds.
  • Cultivate diverse local foods and rear diverse local indigenous animals (cows, buffaloes, goat, sheep, poultry, pigs, donkeys) agro-ecologically, first for our families and communities, and then to be exchanged through local markets.

We urge our brothers and sisters to resist the industrial agriculture and livestock corporate production system:

  • Reject genetically modified seeds, resource-intensive high yielding and hybrid seeds and breeds; reject commodity monocrop cultivation/production, and all other forms of industrial production technologies (fossil fuel based pesticides, fertilizers, weedicides, and fossil-fuel based agricultural tools) that destroy life, driving us into huge indebtedness and threatening our right to life.
  • Reject seed and breed registration of our community varieties of seeds and breeds in National Gene Banks, as this paves the way for its privatisation and corporate capture.

We alert all citizens to organise against the rapid supermarketisation and corporate take over of our food systems. These markets that offer “cheap food” cover up a reality of massive injustice and hidden subsidies to Multinational Corporations (MNCs). It is food produced off land that was once owned by peasants, who are now displaced by Corporations and large industrial food chains, or procured from producers under hugely exploitative conditions, or imported into the country from Multinationals of the Global North. It is food produced from capturing, monopolising and poisoning our resources (water, air, land, forests, energy, seed) that in turn drive the hunger, climate and energy crises. We urge consumers to become co-producers, by actively supporting the struggles of diverse communities against this capitalist industrial agriculture and food system, and through responsible consumption that supports local agro-ecological peasant production. Towards this end, we extend our solidarity to small vendors of Telangana who sell milk, vegetables and other food produce in their struggle against Corporate Monopoly of Food.

In this effort, we as co-producers of the movement shall organise the urban working class and young people to connect with producer communities to co-create a just system of food production, procurement, distribution and consumption.

We commit to creating spaces for young people’s leadership within our movement, as they are the present and the future of Food Sovereignty.

The Food Sovereignty Alliance commits to create solidarity between different movements to advance this shared vision of Food Sovereignty in Telangana.

Food Sovereignty Alliance, India

Matthadiguda village, Adilabad , Telangana February 24th, 2015

[1] Seed here is used to encompass the diversity of crops, indigenous animal breeds, forest foods, forest produce, medicinal plants,