Tag Archives: small farmers

Climate Summit: Don’t turn farmers into ‘climate smart’ carbon traders!

7 November 2013. Source: La Via Campesina

Farmers produce food, not carbon. Yet, if some of the governments and corporate lobbies negotiating at the UN climate change conference to be held in Warsaw from 11-22 November have their way, farmland could soon be considered as a carbon sink that polluting corporations can buy into to compensate for their harmful emissions.

“We are directly opposed to the carbon market approach to dealing with the climate crisis,” says Josie Riffaud of La Vía Campesina. “Turning our farmers’ fields into carbon sinks – the rights to which can be sold on the carbon market – will only lead us further away from what we see as the real solution: food sovereignty. The carbon in our farms is not for sale!”Carbon trading has totally failed to address the real causes of the climate crisis. It was never meant to do so. Rather than reducing carbon emissions at their source, it has created a lucrative market for polluters and speculators to buy and sell carbon credits while continuing to pollute. Now the pressure is increasing to treat farmland as a major carbon sink which can be claimed as yet another counterbalance to industrial emissions. The governments of the US and Australia, the World Bank and the corporate sector have long argued for this, and for the creation of new carbon markets where they can purchase land-based offsets in developing countries. Agribusiness is well positioned to profit from these, and some developing country governments hope that offering their forests, grasslands and farmland to polluters in the North could earn them revenue. Continue reading

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Filed under Biodiversity, Carbon Trading, Climate Change, Climate Justice, Commodification of Life, Corporate Globalization, False Solutions to Climate Change, Food Sovereignty, Green Economy, Greenwashing, Industrial agriculture, Land Grabs, World Bank

New seed legislation spells disaster for small farmers in Africa

April 3 2013. Source: African Center for Biodiversity

Civil society organisations from the South African Development Community (SADC) region, and around the world have condemned the SADC draft 
Protocol for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants (Plant Breeders’ Rights) as spelling disaster for
 small farmers and food security in the region. These groups, representing millions of farmers in Africa 
and around the world have submitted their concerns to the SADC Secretariat. They are calling for the 
rejection of the Protocol and urgent consultations with farmers, farmer movements and civil society 
before it’s too late.

According to the groups, the Protocol is inflexible, restrictive and imposes a “one-size-fits-all” plant
 variety protection (PVP) system on all SADC countries irrespective of the nature of agricultural systems, 
social and economic development. It is modelled after the 1991 International Convention for the
Protection of New Varieties of Plants (UPOV 1991), an instrument which was developed by industrialized
 countries to address their own needs.  UPOV 1991 grants extremely strong intellectual property right 
protection to plant breeders, and disallows farmers from continuing their customary practices of freely 
using, exchanging and selling farm-saved seeds.

According to Moses Shaha, regional chairman for the East and Southern African small-scale Farmers’ Forum 
(ESAFF): “The proposed legislation gives big-business breeders significant rights, but in doing so, 
disregards and marginalizes small farmers and their plant varieties. It fails to recognize that
 small-scale farmers and their customary practices of freely exchanging and re-using seed for multiple 
purposes, constitute the backbone of SADC’s agricultural farming systems.”
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Filed under Africa, Biodiversity, Commodification of Life, Corporate Globalization, Food Sovereignty, Genetic Engineering, Industrial agriculture

Big landowners block rural development law in Guatemala

By Danilo Valladares, December 18, 2012.  Source: Inter Press Service

Photo: Wallygrom CC BY-SA 2.0

Photo: Wallygrom CC BY-SA 2.0

An “integral rural development law” to promote access to land, employment and other rights for small farmers is bogged down in the Guatemalan Congress due to opposition from large landowners, who see it as an attempt at land reform.

“The bill contains 10 proposals that would contribute particularly to development for women and indigenous rural communities,” activist Irene Barrientos, of the Committee of Campesino (small farmer) Unity, told IPS.

“The rights to land and clean water, and the promotion of economic, social and labour policies and food security” are addressed in the bill, which was defeated once again on Nov. 29 when it failed to win at least 105 votes in the 158-member single-chamber parliament, as required to pass legislation of “national urgency.”

Campesinos in Guatemala are especially worried, because that day was the last day of ordinary sessions, and Congress will have to hold a special session to debate the bill before year-end, which they fear will be “an uphill struggle,” Barrientos said.

The vote in Congress left a sour taste in the mouth of campesinos, who need land for their family to farm.
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Filed under Climate Justice, Food Sovereignty, Indigenous Peoples, Land Grabs, Latin America-Caribbean, Political Repression

La Via Campesina Condemns UN Climate Conference Doha Outcomes

Governments produce blank pages in Doha for planet’s future; La Via Campesina farmers are cooling the planet

(Jakarta, 6 December 2012) – As the climate negotiations come to a close, the industrialized countries insist on inaction for the next decade, finding even more ways to escape their historical responsibility, create more carbon markets including one on agriculture and to keep business as usual of burning the planet. While governments continue to prioritize the interests of industry and agribusiness peasant farmers continue producing to feed the world’s people and the planet.

The high level segment of the 18th Conference of Parties (COP 18) and 8th Meeting of Parties (CMP 8) of the United Nations Framework on Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) has begun on December 5 with Ministers arriving in the petro-state of Doha, Qatar. But the almost two week long negotiations has produced absolutely nothing. Developed countries are so entrenched in their positions and goals for inaction that when the Chair of the negotiations presented the new text under the Long Term Cooperative Action track, the text literally contained blank pages in areas where the Chair claimed divergences existed; these included adaptation, technology development, finance, capacity building and economic and social consequences of response measures – all issues of great concern to developing countries.

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Filed under Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Justice, Ending the Era of Extreme Energy, Energy, False Solutions to Climate Change, Food Sovereignty, Green Economy, Greenwashing, Indigenous Peoples, Industrial agriculture, Land Grabs, Politics, Rights, Resilience, and Restoration

The world’s small farmers to meet in Thailand to promote agroecology

Small farmers can feed the world and cool down the planet!

(Jakarta, November 5, 2012) - The global peasants movement, La Via Campesina (LVC) will hold a global encounter of agroecology trainers and peasant agroecology schools at the Community Agroecology Foundation in Surin, Thailand from the 6 -12 November. The meeting will be organized by the Assembly of the Poor of Thailand, an organization of urban and rural poor, small farmers, and workers and a member of LVC. Peasant agroecology trainers from all over the world and representatives of the various farmers’ agroecology schools of LVC peasant movements will come together in Surin to continue their efforts to promote agroecology on a global scale.

LVC is a strong proponent of sustainable peasants agriculture based on agroecology. Agroecology is a science, but is also seen as a movement, or practice which is concerned with farming methods that are based on peasant’s knowledge, local inputs as well as natures own principles rather than external inputs and technologies that damage nature such as the green revolution model. But LVC takes agroecology a step further than most, it is not just about ecological productive principles but also about social and political principles. A feudal land holding cannot be considered agroecological even if it is chemical free, a farm that is controlled only by men without any role and decision making power for women is not agroecological either, neither is a so called organic farm which replaces expensive chemical inputs for expensive organic ones without touching the structure of monoculture.

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Filed under Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Justice, Events, Food Sovereignty, Genetic Engineering, Indigenous Peoples, Industrial agriculture, Rights, Resilience, and Restoration, Solutions