Women act on agrarian reform during FAO conference

PERS RELEASE 

Porto Alegre, March 10, 2006

La Via Campesina women in Porto Alegre  mobilized against the neoliberal and monocultural model of agriculture. We demand our governments that they take concrete initiatives through the FAO to implement a genuine and integrated agrarian reform.

Today’s FAO declaration can not be considered as a full legitimate document in view of the low attendance and the absence of most  high ranking  government officials at the conference. However, it is a useful beginning and a revival of the discussion on these issues.

FAO should put agrarian reform as a central point on its agenda and promote it in the international arena. The FAO is the legitimate international institution for the regulation of food and agriculture. This matter is too crucial to be left in the hands of the WTO and other trade agencies. The WTO must be removed from agriculture negotiations.

La Via Campesina urges the FAO to fulfil with its democratic mandate to serve the people. In so far as it complies with this mandate, we are prepared to work as partners in the process of achieving genuine agrarian reform.

The FAO  should recognize the historic contribution of the social movements in carrying out agrarian reforms and consider them as necessary and valuable actors in this process.

On March 8, International Women´s Day, the women La Via Campesina delivered a strong message against the development of the disastrous monoculture of eucalyptus by the cellulose industry and in favor of genuine agrarian reform based on food sovereignty.

After strong protests and resistance in the North, the international cellulose corporations moved their contaminating production and the monoculture of eucalyptus to the South, including to Brazil. The monoculture of eucalyptus displaces peasants on a massive scale, creating poverty and misery, converting soil that is good for food production into green deserts. This cultivation causes irreversible damage to the soil and will make impossible any agricultural production in the future. It destroys natural resources that are essential for the local population.

On March 8, International Women’s day, the women of La Via Campesina sent a strong message against the desastrous development of eucalyptus monoculture for the cellulose industry and in favour of food sovereingty. The action in Arracruz was aimed at altering public opinion and helping to halt this aggressive and distructive invasion. For this reason, La Via Campesina fully supports this action.

We request that the FAO puts  its action plan into effect by establishing a Special Program of Agrarian Reform with the participation of  governments willing to implement and fund it.  

La Via Campesina calls for the mobilization for a true agrarian reform and will closely follow the situation in Rio Grande do Sul and will be on the alert for any threat or intention to carry out repression against our organization by the local or state government or even from the private sector for having carried out this legitimate and necessary action.

For more information:
Daniel Cassol :  51 99448407
Isabelle Delforge: 51  81789855

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