Photo by Nic Paget-Clarke via La Via Campesina
A coalition of peasant farmer groups are protesting their meaningful exclusion at the High Level Conference on Food Security taking place in Spain on January 26-27. In response to their exclusion 49 groups, including La Via Campesina, GRAIN, and ETC Group have signed a declaration, "Accelerating into disaster — when Banks manage the Food Crises".
More on the declaration after the jump. The joint statement points out that the forum, and other high-level forums like it, are dominated by the World Bank, IMF and WTO, as well as transnational companies such as Monsanto. The groups are outraged that the small farmers, who grow 80% of the world's food, are "left only a few minutes on the floor to give their position."
They claim that the policies of these institutions and companies have failed with over one billion people now going hungry worldwide. The groups believe it's time for an alternative vision in the concept of food sovereignty.
Small farmers and social movements from all over the world promote a model based on food sovereignty and orientated towards peasant-based agriculture and artisan fisheries, prioritizing local markets and sustainable production methods. This model is based on the right to food and to the rights of peoples to define their own agricultural policies.
The food crisis should not be an opportunity to make more money through the sale of fertilizers, agrochemicals and genetically modified seeds. Agribusinesses cannot be allowed to attempt to profit from the desperation of over a billion people. They must be excluded from dealing with the food crisis — agribusiness and international financial and trade agencies cannot be relied upon to solve a problem they themselves have caused.
We call for an end to the development of new initiatives such as the High Level Task Force or Global Partnership. Other such initiatives in the past - such as the World Food Council and the International Alliance Against Hunger — have failed. We call for one single space inside the UN to deal with the food crisis with the full participation of social movements and small holder food producers.
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