Week of Action against WTO and Free Trade: Thousands of Korean peasants mobilise in Seoul

On September 11th 2018, the day of national peasants rally, peasants of Korea gathered in front of National Assembly located in Yeoido, Seoul.

11 September, Tuesday, Seoul: About 5000 peasants from Korean Peasant League(KPL), Korean Women Peasant Association(KWPA), Organic Farmers Korea(OFK), Catholic Farmers’ Movement(CCFM), and Korea Rice Producers Association gathered to urge big change in farming policy of current Korean government before the rice target price is decided for coming 5 years.

While criticizing the current government’s indifferent attitude towards farming sector, they demanded,

  • To guarantee 3,000KRW(3USD) per 1kg of rice,
  • Withdrawal of “Smart Farm Valley Project”,
  • To halt sanction on North Korea and implement peasant exchange between South and North Korea,
  • To withdraw cut of agricultural budget.

Before starting their march, the peasants who are also members of La Via Campesina, took out a moment to mark the Global Day of Action against WTO and Free Trade Agreements(FTAs) and remembered the sacrifice of Kyunghae Lee, Korean farmer who took his life outside the WTO Ministerial meeting venue in Cancun, Mexico in 2003, while holding a placard which read “WTO kills Peasants!

This slogan has since them become the clarion call for the global peasant movement as it has come to mark 10 September as the Global Day of Action Against WTO and Free Trade Agreements.

La Via Campesina has denounced WTO at all the ministerial meetings held ever since through direct actions.

At the Seoul event on Tuesday, the members also screened the recently launched animation video exposing the ill-effects of WTO and FTAs.


#LaViaCampesina – 5 REASONWHY LA VIA CAMPESINA THINKS WTO IS BAD FOR AGRICULTURE1. It has increased inequality and rural debt by destroying local peasant marketsThe World Trade Organisation – WTO – has created a ‘free’ trade system that gives huge agribusiness corporations – receiving massive subsidies – ‘the freedom’ to dump cheap food into economically weaker nations. This has pushed peasants to the margins, caused a crash in price, destroyed local peasant markets and has increased rural debt, all the while aiding the concentration of wealth. The result? A criminal level of inequality where 82% of world’s wealth is now in the hands of a mere 1%.2. A handful of Corporations now control the global food systemLess than 20 global corporations today control the global food chain that governs what food we buy and how we buy it. The 3 largest corporations control more than 50 % of the world’s seed market. The top 4 Corporations control 99% of livestock breeding. 10 corporations enjoy 55% of the fertilizer market. 4 traders control around 75 % of the world grain and soya market. A mere 11 Corporations control 30% of food processing. It’s all about consolidation and control now!3. Free Trade Agreements criminalise a 10,000 year old food system by patenting seeds and giving Corporations the upper handSeed is the basis of life. The WTO and other free trade agreements force, sometimes threaten, countries to sign international agreements that allow corporations to put patents on seeds. Today, this has led to peasants being treated as criminals for selecting and reusing seeds from their own harvest. Peasants feed the world, we are not criminals! Even when some Governments resist, these free trade systems allow investors to sue national governments in International Court, overriding national laws and democratic processes.4. Industrial agriculture is heating up our planetIndustrial Agriculture and related land use contributes to 30% of the Green House Gas emissions. It has led to extreme weather fluctuations, affecting agriculture and peasants the most.5. WTO and Free Trade Agreements Kills PeasantsOn the 10th of September 2003 in Cancun, Mexico, Lee Kyung Hae, the Korean peasant took his own life outside the WTO meeting venue to expose the destruction WTO has caused in rural areas. He was a brilliant farmer who turned a barren land into a thriving farm. Yet he lost everything after Korea started importing cheap rice and cows. Lee is not the only one. In India alone, over 300,000 peasants took their lives in the last 20 years, unable to bear their mounting debt. It is now a worldwide phenomenon.In Lee’s memory we mark 10th of September as the Global Day of Action Against WTO and Free Trade Agreements.“We are all Lee. WTO kills Peasants everywhere.”Keep Agriculture out of Free Trade negotiations!We want Food Sovereignty not Free Trade!For more informationwww.viacampesina.org#WTOKills#EndWTO#FoodSovereigntyNow

Publiée par La Via Campesina sur Dimanche 9 septembre 2018