Friday, 4 November 2011

International Peasant Conference : Stop the land grab

The farmers of the National Coordination of Farming Organizations (CNOP) in Mali and the international farmers’ movement Via Campesina are inviting the international press to attend and report on the first international farmers’ conference whose objective is to strengthen the fight against the land grabs which are rife in Africa and other parts of the world.

Although many conferences, articles, TV broadcasts have spoken of the topic, until now the farmers voice has been little heard. It's about time to strengthen alliances and elaborate strategies with other actors to be efficient on the land and in the authorities.

The conference will be held in Sélingué from 17 to 19 November 2011, and will bring together almost 200 farmers affected by land grabs as well as numerous other participants, including researchers, political figures, and NGOs resisting the unprecedented land-grab offensive by large businesses and hedge funds, among others, that compromises the ability of people to feed themselves.

Affected populations from all over the world will have the opportunity to make their voices heard, and strategies will be developed to end the seizure of farmland at the expense of the rural family farming that feeds 80% of the African population.

The conference will conclude on 20 November with a visit by a delegation to the Office du Niger’s land in Kolongo, a year after the first farmers’ meeting about this matter. There, journalists will be able to speak to farmers engaged in the resistance, local authorities, and experts on land issues.

Draft programme:
17 November :
- Food crisis and increase in land grabs
- Seizures of international land and institutions: focus on the World Bank’s voluntary guidelines and its Responsible Agricultural Investment
- Current situation and testimonies from Asia, America, Europe and Africa

18 November :
- International financial institutions’ role in land and water grabs and in agricultural investments in Africa
- AGRA’s role and the second green revolution in relation to land grabs
- Presentation of the case of Zimbabwe, starting from land reform and agro-ecology
- Which resistances? (at a local, national and international level, within various institutions, etc.)

19 November :
- Panel of political and social figures: points of view of the parties involved
- Action plan with the parties involved
- Closing remarks

20 November (with a small delegation):
Visit to Kolongo, to the lands of the Office du Niger, which have been subject to various conventions on land grabs since 2004 (Malybia, TOMOTA, Modibo Keita, etc.) and where the first farmers’ forumwas held in November 2010.

Contacts : CNOP/VIA CAMPESINA Kalabancoura rue 200 porte 727 BP E 2169 Bamako/Mali
Chantal Jacovetti: Phone : 00223.
Lamine Coulibaly: Phone: Tel: +223 76 17 09 79/ 66 83 63 14

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