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Big business has failed ! We small farmers can feed the world

18 October 2011

Farmers make their point at the Committee on World Food Security

Rome, October 15th-On the occasion of the 37th session of the UN Committee on World Food Security (CFS) where a delegation of farmers from La Via Campesina will be present along with other actors from civil society to follow the discussions and participate in the debates, La Via Campesina reiterates its demands for solutions based on the principles of food sovereignty. Important issues such as land tenure, price volatility, gender issues and nutrition as well as agricultural investments are on the agenda.

Land grabbing is one of the most blatant and scandalous examples of how the dominant corporate food system is pushing a growing number of farmers and consumers into poverty. The world is producing enough food to feed the population but it does not reach the people because of barriers like monopolized access to the land, the stranglehold over productive resources and the increasingly concentrated control of the food chain. We need the various governments to adopt effective and strong measures to prohibit these practices and to adopt policies that support sustainable farmers.

As Ibrahim Coulibaly, a farmer from Mali explains: “Ensuring access to land, resources and markets for food producers through strong public policies should be the main priority when discussing solutions for the food crisis. The bulk of agricultural investments is being done by farmers not by corporations. Industrial and benefit-driven initiatives will only further weaken the position of farmers and consumers”.

“Price volatily is a direct consequence of the neo-liberal policies that consider food as a mere commodity; agrobusinesses and banks keep on speculating with agricultural products while pushing for more trade deregulation to increase their control over the food chain” denounced Henry Saragih the international coordinator of La Via Campesina.

One of the solutions, public market regulation mechanisms need to be implemented and followed through at national and regional levels.

Considering the essential role of women in food production and in the face of the structural and patriarchal violence that is being imposed on women, Fatimatou Hima, a farmer from Niger states:

“The campaign against violence exerted on women is one of the priorities of La Via Campesina. We need to change our models of production and move to sustainable local food systems, instead of eating industrial junk food combined with nutritional supplements.”

At the Rome demonstration of the “Indignados” , Angel Strappazone stated:

“We need to get organised as food producers and join our struggles. States should recognise the key roles played by these grass roots organisations. It’s we who hold the real solutions, not the banks or the agrobusiness. The voices of those most affected by the crises should be heard by all. We demand worldwide real changes NOW!”

Strong and clear international governance is needed in order to work out solutions that will effectively remedy the actual financial, climate and food crisis. The Committee on World Food Security (CFS) is the legitimate space where international policies on food and agriculture should be debated and adopted. We urge the governments to face their responsibilities and to enact concrete measures and policies based on the principles of Food sovereignty.

Media Programme:

 Tuesday 18 of October, 12.30 pm – 2 pm: Participation of Ibrahim Coulibaly in debate « Africa can feed itself », Iran room (B016) in FAO

 Wednesday 19 October, 1 pm-1.30 pm: Press conference and symbolic action by la Via Campesina “Small farmers for a corporate free agriculture”

Venue: Food Sovereignty tent in front of the FAO building (Angelo Salita di San Gregorio)

 Thursday 20 October (afternoon) : Action against landgrabbing (more information to follow)

Farmer representatives available for interviews this week:

Henry Saragih – Indonesia

Fatimatou Hima – Niger

Ibrahim Coulibaly – Mali

Javier Sanchez – Spain

Renaldo Chingore – Mozambique

Kalissa Regier – Canada

Angel Strappazon – Argentina

Francisco Guerrero – Nicaragua

Agus Rulli – Indonesia

Andrea Ferrante – Italy

Media Contacts in Rome:

Annelies Schorpion: +393319209210, a.schorpion@eurovia.org

Laura Genga: +393807067441, L.genga@aiab.it

More information and background documents can be found on