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8th CNA Congress and Portuguese Family Farming

4 May 2018

The 8th CNA Congress was a successful initiative that, on 15th April, at the Convento de S. Francisco in Coimbra (Portugal) brought together more than 1,200 delegates from across the country as well as dozens of national and international guests.

A successful and lively 8th CNA Congress and Portuguese Family Agriculture!   The 8th CNA Congress was a successful initiative that, on 15th April, at the Convento de S. Francisco in Coimbra (Portugal) brought together more than 1,200 delegates from across the country as well as dozens of national and international guests.   With the motto "Food Sovereignty, with Family Farming", the 8th CNA Congress was integrated into the celebrations of the CNA's 40th anniversary, which are taking place this year.   This congress strengthened CNA, its proposals and its stance in defence of national production and food sovereignty.   This 8th CNA Congress demonstrates the willingness of farmers to participate in CNA initiatives (and those of its affiliated organisations). As a result, it also strengthens CNA and creates solidarity because it proves that farmers identify themselves with CNA in the common struggle for better product prices, decent incomes, better living conditions and a thriving rural community.   The CNA has been fighting for these rights for over 40 years – always alongside farmers!   In this 8th CNA Congress, several documents of a highly influential nature were approved, producing the resolution of the 8th congress and several thematic motions.   These documents included proposals for how to make Portugal a more developed and fair country as well as documents in defence of family farming, seeds, fair remuneration, the environment, biodiversity, the economy and the development of the country. There were also documents that dealt with access to land, territorial cohesion, the right to healthy food and Portugal's food sovereignty.   It is also important to note that in November 2014, at its previous Congress, CNA approved the proposal "Statute for Portuguese Family Farming". Since then, CNA and its affiliated organisations have been fighting for the establishment of a "Statute for Family Farming" that recognises and appreciates the importance of family farming in Portugal.   As stated at the end of the 8th Congress of CNA, "through persistent work, we have made our voice heard, raised awareness, gained support in our struggle for institutional recognition of the importance and need of family farming to ensure healthy, local food for our population and to protect Portugal's food sovereignty."   In late 2017, the Government produced a draft law in preparation for the creation of a statue. However, CNA was not satisfied with it as it deviated from the principles expounded upon in CNA's proposal. The decree-law, which is now to be published, should enshrine the measures and principles that we have demanded. It should also incorporate CNA's proposed amendments which were communicated during the public consultation.   We are waiting expectantly, and following “the words passing into action” closely. We are watching the development of the public policies necessary to positively discriminate in favour of farmers and family farmers. The 2019 state budget must reflect the government's commitment.   We will continue fighting, proposing and demanding, in order to uphold the dignity of the work of Portuguese farmers and family farmers as well as to ensure their access to markets and fair prices for their produce.   It is also important to note that this 8th Congress took place during a particularly difficult time and during bad conditions for national production and family farming due to the prolonged drought, the spate of deadly rural fires that have occurred over the last year, the destruction of agricultural and forestry farms as well as the economy, which will take years to recover.     Dozens of guests at the 8th Congress of CNA   More than 1,200 delegates attended this successful and lively 8th CNA Congress, including the Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Rural Development (who also represented the Prime Minister), the Secretary of State for Forestry and Rural Development, a representative of the Agriculture Committee of the Assembly of the Republic, members of parliamentary groups, the mayor of Coimbra, the head of the Portuguese FAO office, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (representing the Director-General of the FAO), representatives of various departments of the Ministry of Agriculture, among others.   More than 100 national and international guests attended, including about fifty representatives from educational institutions, agricultural organisations and rural communities. There were also representatives from organisations that fight for the right to healthy food, such as Via Campesina International and the European Coordination Via Campesina (CNA is a member of both of these organisations).   We also rely on the participation and international support of delegations of peasant organisations from several European and African countries, as well as the MPA (Movimento dos Pequenos Agricultores) and the MST (Movimento dos Trabalhadores Rurais Sem Terra), which are both from Brazil. Despite the attack on democracy which is taking place in their country, these Brazilian organisations showed solidarity, which we also show in return.   It was a successful 8th CNA Congress that strengthened the CNA's struggle - always with the farmers! In addition to this congress, with the “Statute for Family Farming”, we embark upon a new era in the rights for Portuguese family farming and our farmers!   Long live the 8th CNA Congress and Portuguese family farming! Long live the peasant organisations of the world! Long live CNA!   Documents and photos available here.

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