An opportunity to achieve food sovereignty

 

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The International Operative Secretariat of La Via Campesina, the global movement that represents around 200 million peasant farmers worldwide, moved this week to Bagnolet, France, hosted by European Coordination Via Campesina (ECVC) and its member organisation La Confédération paysanne, in line with the organisation’s principle of geographical rotation between the continents.

 

With this step Morgan Ody, a vegetable producer from Bretagne, takes over the General Coordination of La Via Campesina from Elizabeth Mpofu from Africa. In the context of the current climate, biodiversity and resource crises, this responsibility can help underline that the defence of peasant agriculture and food sovereignty is essential to promote climate, economic and social justice and establish sustainable and fair food chains.

 

For the past 25 years, small and medium-scale farmers from La Via Campesina have fought for peasants’ rights, agrarian reform and food sovereignty, i.e. the right of peoples to decide how and by whom food is produced. They have worked tirelessly to feed the population and ensure that past, present and future generations have healthy, fresh and culturally appropriate food.

 

However, these farmers are under constant attack. The low-impact agroecological solutions they offer to climate and food issues are not only ignored but actively destroyed by incoherent policies, industrial monopolies and neo-liberal capitalism. Continuing the struggle against industrial agriculture and the power of transnational companies, the member organisations of ECVC are committed and determined to defend peasant agriculture in solidarity with all La Via Campesina members across the world for the next eight years.

 

At present, the world finds itself at a crucial crossroads, and in this context, the arrival of the secretariat of a global movement so strongly committed to agroecology and food sovereignty in Europe is an opportunity to ensure the truly sustainable solutions of small-scale farmers are reflected in the policies implemented at an international, European and national levels.

 

As Morgan Ody commented during the Secretariat transition ceremony held in Bagnolet on 30 November 2021, peasant farmers are key to building a future based on social justice: fair prices for producers and fair wages for rural workers, harmony with the natural environment, international solidarity, equality and dignity. “We, the peasants, the indigenous peoples, the rural women, the agricultural workers, the youth of our rural areas, produce while reviving biodiversity and emitting very few greenhouse gases: mixed farming and livestock farming, like pastoralism or traditional agro-forestry, are models of energy saving, carbon capture and maintenance of environments rich in wild and cultivated diversity. Thus, with our know-how and skills, peasant agriculture provides food for more than 70% of world’s population with less than 30% of the productive resources.” [2]

 

 

Specifically for ECVC, LVC’s presence in France and Europe will strengthen the movement for a more social and environmental agriculture to be implemented within the framework of the Farm to Fork and Biodiversity Strategies, the European Green Deal and the CAP National Strategic plans. ECVC has long since been calling for the European institutions to implement tools and policies that live up to the objectives outlined in these policies and hopes the arrival of the secretariat in our region will serve to increase the pressure on the Institutions to put an end to Free Trade Agreements, implement market regulation to guarantee fair prices, uphold and implement current GMO regulation and ensure access to land for small-scale farmers.

Across all levels, united in their vision of food sovereignty, the regions and members of La Via Campesina will continue to work to ensure that the human rights of all those who live and work in rural areas are respected, for the good of the planet and its population.

 

Contacts

Morgan Ody, General Coordinator of La Via Campesina – +33 626 97 76 43 – FR, EN

Solenne Garin, Communications Staff, La Via Campesina International, solenne.garin@viacampesina.org, +33 610 04 83 69 – EN, FR, ES

Alisha Sesum, Communications Staff, European Coordination Via Campesina, alisha@eurovia.org, +447557537289 – EN, ES, FR

Caroline Nugues, Communications Staff, La Confédération paysanne, cnugues@confederationpaysanne.fr, +33 06 95 29 80 78 – FR, EN

 

Notes

[1] United Nations Declaration of Rights of Peasants and other people working in rural areas

[2] Who will feed us?, ETC group, 2017