The livelihood of farmers in the world has not improved over the past 10 years. On the contrary, farmers still have to live in poverty and hunger. In some cases, the situation is even worse than before. In several countries, it was reported that thousand of peasants have committed suicide because of their worsened living conditions. They desperately gave up after being grabbed in hunger, they could not feed their children and they could not pay back the debt they contracted to produce food.
At the same time imported agriculture produce is flooding their village at a cheap dumping price. As farmers, they produce food, but they are being forced to eat imported products. This is what is happening after 10 years of WTO and neoliberal policies.
At the World Food Summit (WFS) in 1996, world leaders promised to reduce by half the proportion of people who suffer from hunger by 2015. Later on, in 2000, that commitment was included in the UN – Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). However little progress has been made and it is now clear that the target will not be achieved.
The failure occurs because the principle of Food Security where the FAO devoted all its resources does not help. Food security, instead of reducing poverty and hunger, creates more poverty and hunger. Food security has been used to comply with neoliberal policies, abiding to the idea that trade can solve hunger. But actually, this has not been the case because it doesn’t address the issue of how food is being produced, by whom and where it comes from. It does not guarantee peasant rights either.
La Via Campesina as the international peasant’s movement has been proposing Food Sovereignty as an alternative since the WFS in 1996. Food sovereignty is reflecting the views and demands of peasants and landless farmers which represent the majority of poor and hungry people in the world. It demands genuine agrarian reform, no to GMOs seed, and no dumping on agricultural trade.
This year is the ten’s anniversary of the WFS, which promises will not been met. Therefore La Via Campesina will go to the headquarters of the FAO in Rome for some activities to push the peasant’s agenda and to defend food sovereignty.
We will give special attention to the issue of agrarian reform (follow up FAO Conference "ICARRD" in Porto Alegre), the issue of seeds and the issue of food sovereignty and trade.
La Via Campesina will also participate in several activities, some organized by La Via Campesina and others together with other social movements. Some peasant leaders of Via Campesina will also participate on the FAO official meeting.
Via Campesina will continue to voice its demands and struggle for peasant’s seeds, genuine agrarian reform and food sovereignty in Rome.