Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Via Campesina calls for organisations to sign the Dakar Appeal against Land Grabbing

During the World Social Forum in Dakar, Senegal, in February 2011, social movements, organizations of small food producers and other CSOs released a collective appeal against land grabbing. Over 650 organizations have already endorsed it. If your organization has not signed on yet and would also like to support this appeal, please do so before 7 October 2011.

The Committee on World Food Security (CFS) based in Rome at the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) is currently negotiating Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests. These Guidelines are supposed to protect and strengthen the access to land, fisheries and forests of small food producers. Unfortunately some powerful governments, with the support of International Financial Institutions, are reluctant to adopt strong Guidelines. They prefer a system of governance that facilitates the take-over of people's natural resources by corporate investors and other powerful actors.

Peasants affected by land grabbing will hand over the Dakar Appeal, together with the names of organizations endorsing it, to governments during the negotiations on the Guidelines in Rome from 10-14 October.

This mobilization will also contribute to pressure governments to definitively reject the World Bank-driven Principles for Responsible Agricultural Investment (RAI).

Land grabbing has to be stopped, it cannot be made "responsible"!

Please read and sign the petition here: http://www.dakarappeal.org

La Via Campesina
Via Campesina is an international movement of peasants, small- and medium-sized producers, landless, rural women, indigenous people, rural youth and agricultural workers. We are an autonomous, pluralist and multicultural movement, independent of any political, economic, or other type of affiliation. Born in 1993, La Via Campesina now gathers about 150 organisations in 70 countries in Asia, Africa, Europe, and the Americas.

International Operational Secretariat: 
Jln. Mampang Prapatan XIV no 5 Jakarta Selatan 12790, Indonesia
Tel/fax: +62-21-7991890/+62-21-7993426

Monday, 26 September 2011

Haitian Farmers Fighting Monsanto and Chemical-intensive agriculture

An exclusive interview with Chavannes Jean-Baptiste, executive director of Haiti's Papaye Peasant Movement (MPP), on fighting Monsanto and chemical-intensive agriculture. The interview was conducted August 26, 2011 by Jay Feldman, executive director of Beyond Pesticides, and Marie-Jose Etheart, Beyond Pesticides supporter, collaborator and Kreyol translator. 

At the time the seeds were being distributed in 2010, Mr. Jean-Baptiste said Monsanto’s donation is an effort to shift farmer dependence to more expensive hybrid varieties from traditional seeds and will harm the island-nation’s agriculture. He called the donation a new earthquake. Haitian farmers and small growers traditionally save seed from season to season or buy the seed they desire from traditional seed markets, and, as he points out, have been doing this for 200 years.
Monsanto says that it donated “more than $4 million worth of conventional corn and vegetable seeds to be made over the next 12 months [through 2010] in support of reconstruction efforts.” According to Monsanto, the donated seeds include corn, cabbage, carrot, eggplant, melon, onion, tomato, spinach and watermelon. The hybrid corn seeds are treated with the fungicide Maxim XL, which is comprised of fludioxonil and mefenoxam. Other vegetable seeds were treated with thiram, a neurological, reproductive and thyroid toxicant, mutagen and skin sensitizer. The USAID WINNER program was responsible for distributing the seeds through farmer association stores where they were then sold to farmers at a significantly reduced price. Mr. Jean-Baptiste said that the Ministry of Agriculture has been unwilling to share any information with him on specifics of the seed.
In the interview, Mr. Jean-Baptiste voiced concern that the efforts of Monsanto and USAID were undermining traditional, organic peasant agriculture, while advancing a form of industrial agriculture that relies on seeds that require synthetic fertilizers and pesticides. He identified farmers who had used the Monsanto seeds without the synthetic fertilizer that was provided. The yields and quality of the corn were diminished, according to the farmers interviewed.
Mr. Jean-Baptiste expresses a strong belief that peasant organic agriculture is the only form of agriculture that can feed Haiti and the world and fight global climate change. He points to university studies in Europe and the U.S. and the position of the United Nations as additional support for his position.
MPP was founded in 1973 and is Haiti’s largest grassroots organization dedicated to work toward social justice and improving the quality of life in the country. Among the organization’s goals are to improve the environment and soil so that Haiti can regain its food sovereignty and contribute to an efficient management of natural resources such as water, forests, and seeds. For more information or to donate to help the farmers of Haiti, go to mpphaiti.org.

Friday, 16 September 2011

Australian Farmer's Sustainability Story: Input Free Pasture Improvement

Alan Broughton is a family farmer and researcher who is doing some amazing work at the Australian Landscape Trust's 2000 acre property, Strathfieldsaye in East Gippsland, Australia. A key aspect of his research work in sustainable grazing management involves soil and pasture improvement through a logically obvious and incredibly simple strategy of 'stock rotation'. In this short video, Alan tells us a little about his wonderful work in a unique and beautiful farming environment!

Alan would love to hear your comments and thinking on his research:
Please email him at : soiltest@alt.org.au

For more family farmer's stories on Video check out www.foodsovereignty.com.au

Friday, 9 September 2011

Great New Music Video: Higher Ground - Playing For Change

Another wonderful song and video music clip from the incredible and ever growing team from Playing For Change.

“Higher Ground” is a song that speaks of the perseverance it takes to reach the higher consciousness. Let’s all keep trying together, one heart and one song at a time, until we all reach the Higher Ground.

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Venezuelan Campesinos Share their Struggle for Food Sovereignty

Check out this great new video of Venezuelan Campesinos sharing their Food Sovereignty realities and aspirations.

PROLESA is a small dairy cooperative in the Venezuelan state of Tachira. It is located in a river delta about 50 kms from San Cristobal. The community is made up of about 250 farming families and 25 of those families are involved in the PROLESA Dairy Cooperative. While some crops are grown, the main focus of the cooperative is to purchase milk from the local community for the production and distribution of cheese and yogurt. In this short video, cooperative members share the amazing stories of their struggles to achieve food sovereignty, their insights for success and their visions for the future.
Special thanks to our talented translator Federico Fuentes
Special thanks also to Venezuela campesina, fantastic song writer & singer Olga Carvajal

Read More about PROLESA one of
Reciprocity's Core Partnership Projects in Venezuela