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November 19th, 2014
What could be more routine than saving seeds from one season to the next? After all, that is how we grow crops on our farms and in our gardens. Yet from Guatemala to Ghana, from Mozambique to Malaysia, this basic practice is being turned into a criminal offence, so that half a dozen large multinational corporations can turn seeds into private property and make money from them.
But people are fighting back and in several countries popular mobilisations are already forcing governments to put seed privatisation plans on hold.
By Carol Schachet
November 18th, 2014
Farmers have worked the rugged land in Western Africa for generations, moving seasonally from field to forest for food and livelihood. While life was never easy, the community worked together, in harmony with their surroundings, to provide for themselves and their neighbors.
All that changed when the government planted a virtual “For Lease” sign on the land. China and other buyers grabbed it up, quickly draining the land of nutrients with vast fields of monocrops for export.
This is the plight of many farmers across the Global South. Massive land grabs – combined with the influx of genetically modified seeds under the banner of the “Green Revolution” – come with empty promises of increased agricultural productivity and the end of hunger.
Making the connections between the bombing of Gaza, the ongoing occupation of Palestine, violence faced by black communities in the United States, migrant rights and climate disruption may seem like a tall order. But that is what happened on a recent Learning Call facilitated by Grassroots International co-sponsored by the Climate Justice Alliance, the US Food Sovereignty Alliance and Grassroots Global Justice Alliance. (Grassroots International is a member of and works with these coalitions.)
Listen in by clicking the link here:
Latin American women raised their voices in solidarity with Palestinians. The video below features several Grassroots International partners, including members of the Via Campesina, the Landless Workers Movement and the Latin American Confederation of Peasant Organization (CLOC).
On July 20, six members of the family of Ziad Saad were killed. Ziad works with the Union of Agricultural Work Committees (UAWC) in Palestine, which recently became a member of the Via Campesina.
The words from the Indian poet Rabindranath Tagore came to my mind when I first saw Israel’s illegal wall in the West Bank in 2006. They signify a vision of what a just peace can (and should) be, for Palestinians, and, as well, for Israelis.
This presentation was given during the final thematic hearing of the Permanent Peoples’ Tribunal in Mexico on “Violence against Maize, Autonomy and Indigenous Peoples’ Rights” in November, 2013. Gabriela Linares Sosa is a member of the Union of Organizations of the Sierra Juarez of Oaxaca (UNOSJO), a partner of Grassroots International and a leading indigenous voice in efforts to unmask the presence of genetically-modified (GM) corn in the Oaxacan countryside.
The food crisis of 2008 led to a broad agreement in the agricultural development community that the lack of appropriate investment in agriculture had been a key contributing factor to unstable prices and food insecurity. The crisis coincided with an increase in land grabbing in many parts of the world, but especially in Africa. It is in response to these events that the idea of developing some criteria on agricultural investments came up in international policy and governance arenas.
Recently Rita Zanotto from the Landless Workers Movement (MST) sat down with Grassroots International’s Sara Mersha to talk about global movements, partnership and power.
Since our office is in Boston, Grassroots International takes special satisfaction with the ouster of Veolia from running Massachusetts Bay Commuter Railroad system here. Veolia’s operation in the occupied West Bank has made it a consistent target of human rights organizations, including Grassroots International and our allies. We join with other members of the Boston Coalition for Palestinian Rights, which initiated the “Derail Veolia” campaign. While we celebrate this moment, we recognize the importance of continuing to push for the MBTA and MassDOT to recognize human rights as part of its decision-making – including both international concerns as well as the need to ensure good jobs and local hiring.