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The voice of the small-scale farmers of Europe joins the voices from around the world in Jakarta for food sovereignty

11 June 2013

VI Conferencia La Vía Campesina (del 6 al 14 de junio de 2013, Yakarta). The voice of the small-scale farmers of Europe joins the voices from around the world in Jakarta for food sovereignty. They criticize free trade agreements being negotiated right now by the governments of Canada and the European Union Jakarta, June 10th 2013.- More than 500 small-scale farmers from 70 countries from all continents are taking part in the VI Conference of La Via Campesina from the 6th to the 13th of June (...)

VI Conferencia La Vía Campesina (del 6 al 14 de junio de 2013, Yakarta) The voice of the small-scale farmers of Europe joins the voices from around the world in Jakarta for food sovereignty They criticize free trade agreements being negotiated right now by the governments of Canada and the European Union Jakarta, June 10th 2013.- More than 500 small-scale farmers from 70 countries from all continents are taking part in the VI Conference of La Via Campesina from the 6th to the 13th of June in Jakarta, Indonesia, coinciding with its 20th anniversary. We agree with the statement that there is a new agrarian colonialism, where everything – land, water, seeds, nature and biodiversity- have become products, to the detriment of people, especially small-scale farmers, indigenous peoples, agricultural workers or landless peasants. The aim of the conference is to build a model for a kind of agriculture which is alternative to that imposed by capitalism. An agriculture which is environmentally-friendly and sustainable, one which respects the rights of small-scale farmers and which is against the power of large corporations and government’s complicity with them. The European Coordination Via campesina maintains the vision of occupying spaces of power which rightfully belong to the people. That is why it does not give up trying to influence debate in multilateral organisations, such as the FAO, in order to defend the struggles of small-scale farmers. Agroecology and defending farmer’s own seeds and native seeds has placed an important part in the Jakarta Conference, through a seed Exchange market, for which all the continents have brought native varieties. In its continued struggle against transgenic crops, La Via Campesina Europe, expresses its rejection of the European Commission proposal, known as the Plant Reproductive Material Law. It is a regulation which only benefits agribusiness, perpetuating a system of dependence and control over small-scale farmers. During the international meeting, European small-scale farmers also express their rejection of the extractivist model which tries to exploit natural resources, particularly the problem of new techniques, such as fracking for shale gas extraction. One of the main challenges this small-scale farmers’ movement faces is the struggle against the patriarchy, as well as ensuring the participation of women and youth. It was precisely the milestone of the Women’s Assembly which kick started the Conference of La Via Campesina. The three hundred participants raised the problems, which women have in common, faced on a daily basis, in all corners of the world. Other challenges faced by La Via Campesina is being able to guarantee the transfer between generations in the field. On the 8th and 9th of June, two hundred young small-scale farmers shared their experiences and struggles, asserting their pride in the role of feeding the population and defending that 2014 should be the year of Small-scale farmer Youth. On an international level, during the meeting representatives will be renewed and spokespeople for the European Region of La Via Campesina will be replaced. Mari Carmen García, from the Sindicato andaluz de Obreros del Campo (SOC- the Andalucian Trade Union of Land Workers) and Unai Aranguren, a small-scale farmer from EHNE in the Basque country, will become delegates of the International Coordination Committee of La Via Campesina. The European delegation in Jakarta, made up of 40 people from 13 EU countries, representing 20 organisations, reaffirms its commitment to the struggle for food sovereignty and an agrarian reform which is more social, on an international level, having set up solidarity and cooperation alliances with small-scale farmers from around the world. Rejection of free trade agreements Farmers from European Union countries, Canada, United States and India participating in the 6th International Conference of the Via Campesina in Jakarta, Indonesia to discuss the ongoing trade negotiations between their governments. "Like us, European family farmers can't see any benefits coming from the Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement (CETA) but instead a lot of harm" says Nettie Wiebe, a Saskatchewan (Canada) farmer. "The assault on farmers' rights to use their own seeds, the threats to supply management sectors in Canada and the overall further direction of these negotiations which give yet more control over the production and safety of our food to transnational corporations is the wrong direction". "While some European Corporations are pushing for fewer trade restrictions, further undermining family farming, farmers, along with most citizens, don't want our food and agriculture regulations to become weaker. We're absolutely not going to accept hormone treated beef or GMO crops from Canada or anywhere else!" exclaimed Javier Sanchez, a Spanish farmer representing ECVC. While the discussion focused on CETA, delegates from the U.S. and India expressed their opposition to trade agreements that their governments are trying to negotiate with the EU which will undermine domestic dairy production and create yet more hardship for family farmers. Contact Information: Spokesperson in Spanish: Mari Carmen García 0034 629620479 Spokesperson in English: Andrea Ferrante 0039 3480189221 Spokesperson in French: Josie Riffaud 0033 613105291 LVC Comunication team in Yakarta: +62 085890968657

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