About 200 business people, representatives of governments, development agencies, NGO’s and three (!?) representatives of farmers’ organizations were gathered in Maputo, Mozambique September 4-6th, for the African Green Revolution Forum 2013 The overall theme was scaling up and financing inclusive agribusiness through transformative public-private partnerships. Read more
The High Level Panel of Experts (HLPE) on Food Security and Nutrition has officially presented its 2013 Reports in front of the Committee on World Food Security (CFS) stakeholders, in June 2013. The two reports Investing in Smallholder Agriculture and Biofuels and Food Security are now available here.
La Via Campesina, the international movement which brings together millions of peasants, small and medium-size farmers, landless people, women farmers, indigenous people, migrants and agricultural workers from around the world, closed its 6th International Conference (Jakarta, 6-13 June, 2013) with a strong call for food sovereignity. Read more
Press Release, 17 April- Fuerteventura. From 15th to 17th April, ECVC, a European association of small-farmers that brings together 27 farming bodies from 17 countries across Europe, including outside the EU, held its annual General Assembly in the Canary Islands, Spain. One of the Outermost Regions of the European Union, it is not only where Rafael Hernandez, president of Coag Canarias and outgoing member of the management team, grows his crops but also where Mario Cabrera Gonzales, President of the Government of the Island of Fuerteventura, has declared his intention to develop food sovereignty by promoting local production and autonomy.
This is a goal shared by ECVC, and represents a real challenge at a time when the CAP, currently under reform, has come under attack from agribusiness and defenders of major European farming, who are opposed to any change. The CAP offers little hope to the organisations represented by ECVC despite their considerable contribution to the institutional debate, aimed at defending small and medium-scale farmers, the majority of whom are based in the EU. Poverty and unemployment is exacting a rising toll on citizens as a result of the European crisis, which starkly demonstrates the limits of the liberal dogma at work. We must stop destroying farming jobs and instead enable more rural businesses. Achieving access to quality food for all in Europe requires a large number of farms, sustainable production methods and a physical shift in food supply chains.
Rather than long speeches and matters of protocol, a series of lively debates allowed setting the following strategic axes for the the organisation’s activities over the year ahead :
• Promoting agroecology – which values farmers’ specialist knowledge and contains far more than agronomic techniques – by ensuring that this term is not taken over and robbed of its social aspects.
• Strengthening the Food Sovereignty movement (already composed of many different organisations following the 2011 Forum in Austria) which is working with small-farmers’ organisations to change food supply systems and release them from the stranglehold of the agro-industrial food model that is harmful to our health, the environment and the livelihoods of farmers, as well as the vitality of rural areas. This touches on a number of policy areas such as those relating to trade, where “free” trade agreements threaten the survival of family-based producers.
• Offering support to small- and medium-farmers on all levels, in particular by combating land grabs – which also affect Europe – and supporting rules and regulations that are accessible to small structures (rather than decimating them), by creating suitable channels for the sale of their produce and protecting the use and exchange of traditional small-farming seeds.
The vibrant assembly, which included many young farmers, elected 5 men and 5 women to the coordinating committee, who will take the project forward. Another step forward will be the year for Family Farming, which the UN has declared for 2014, when European Coordination Via Campesina will champion the values and demands of millions of small-farmers who are Family Farming.
An open debate, in the presence of a member of the European Commission and the President of the Government of the Island of Fuerteventura, highlights the future of small farms. In the words of Javier Sanchez, a representative of the ECVC, “We must show that it is we, the farmers, who feed our fellow citizens – and we have the right to receive fair prices and a decent income”. The AG is dedicated to all the victims of peasant struggles.
ECVC Spokesperson : Genevieve Savigny : tel 0033625551687
ECVC Contact press : Marzia Rezzin : tel 0032 473300156
The High Level Panel of Experts on Food Security and Nutrition (HLPE) has published the V0 draft of the report Investing in smallholder agriculture for food and nutrition security and is currently seeking feedback and inputs to further elaborate the document.
Deadline for the online consultation has been extended until the 30 of January 2013. Contributions are welcomed in English, French and Spanish.
Sustainable agriculture in dry and degraded areas is about the resilience of farmers and ecosystems. With examples from different parts of the world, the latest issue of Farming Matters, shows the importance of local knowledge and appropriate policies. Farming Matters is published by ILEIA quarterly and reaches readers in 172 countries.
A new 30-minute film produced by The Gaia Foundation and the Africa Biodiversity Network, in collaboration with MELCA Ethiopia, Navdanya International and GRAIN.
Narrated by actor Jeremy Irons, Seeds of Freedom is set to explode pervasive myths about agriculture, development and Africa’s ability to feed herself. At the heart of the film the story of seed and its transformation from the basis of farming communities’ agri-culture, to the property of agri-business.