Food Sovereignty

A Crisis of Empty Promises

Our partners in Guatemala have told us: the current food crisis will continue unless we guarantee the land, water and seeds rights of communities necessary to grow food. The same message is being echoed in Brazil, Mexico and many neighborhoods in the U.S.

In two separate statements, Guatemala's National Peasant and Indigenous Coordination (CONIC) and Brazil's Small Producers Movement (MPA) put forth food sovereignty as a solution to the crisis: the right of communities to produce food for local markets and for consumers to have access to local healthy foods. Both organizations denounce the expansion of industrial agriculture and growing control of agribusinesses for contributing to the hunger of urban and rural communities.

Farmers bringing message to the Food Crisis Summit in Rome expelled

Partner press release from Via Campesina

Rome, Italy, 3 June 2008

Watch the video of the action in Rome!

Farmer and civil society leaders carrying out a peaceful action today in Rome, Italy at the FAO Summit on the Food Crisis were forcefully removed from the premises. At around 1:30pm farmers and representatives of civil society organisations staged an action at the press room to deliver a message that millions of additional people are joining the ranks of the hungry as the corporations that control the global food system are making record profits.

Civil Society forum calls for Rethinking of the Global Food System

Rome, June 1, 2008. 

On the eve of the High Level Conference on World Food Security in Rome, farmers, fisherfolk, indigenous peoples and nongovernmental organisations (NGOs) have declared a People's State of Emergency.

"Governments and intergovernmental organisations must immediately stop any policies, which lead to violations of the human right to food", says Maryam Rahmanian of CENESTA, Iran. "Free trade policies have seriously damaged the food system over time, leading to the food crisis that we're facing today". Parallel to the official conference, civil society organisations are holding a five day Forum to voice their demands on how to overcome the crisis.

Food Riots, Food Rights, a Fast, and a Corporate Agribusiness Campaign: A Global People's State of Emergency Declared!

Food Riots and a Fast

I have had the privilege of accompanying some of the largest and most dynamic social movements in Latin America over the course of my work at Grassroots International. In early 2001, we struggled with how to share the news of the agrarian reform and land rights struggles of our partners in Brazil and other Latin American and Caribbean countries in ways that would resonate with folks here in the United States. What we came up with back then was to connect land rights with food rights.

More recently the right to food has been the daily bread of the news media as the sharp increase in food prices have resulted in food riots in Africa, Asia and Latin America. In the US, the working poor are suffering hunger in silent resignation.

FUNAGUAS Protests the Bunge Corporation

The following is an English translation of a statement made by Judson Barros, the president of FUNAGUAS, as he protested the Bunge Corporation outside its annual stockholders' meeting in New York.

Bunge Food Inc. has been in the public eye over the last two months in many media outlets in Brazil (magazines, websites and newspapers) for two reasons:

The Time has Come for La Via Campesina and Food Sovereignty

Around the world it seems more and more that the time has come for La Via Campesina.  The global alliance of peasant and family farm organizations has spent the past decade perfecting an alternative proposal for how to structure a country's food system, called Food Sovereignty.  It was clear at the World Forum for Food Sovereignty, held last year in Mali, that this proposal has been gaining ground with other social movements, including those of indigenous peoples, women, consumers, environmentalists, some trade unions, and others.  Though when it comes to governments and international agencies, it has until recently been met with mostly deaf ears.  But now things have changed.  The global crisis of rising food prices, which has already

An Answer to the Global Food Crisis: Peasants and small farmers can feed the world

By La Via Campesina

Prices on the world market for cereals are rising. Wheat prices increased by 130% in the period between March 2007-March 2008. Rice prices increased by almost 80% in the period up to 2008. Maize prices increased by 35% between March 2007 and March 2008 (1).  In countries that depend heavily on food imports some prices have gone up dramatically. Poor families see their food bills go up and can no longer afford to buy the minimum needed.

Food Price Crisis

Food prices have been increasing sharply. According to the World Bank, global food prices have climbed by 83% over the last three years. The real price of rice rose to a 19-year high in March 2008, an increase of 50% in two weeks alone while the real price of wheat hit a 28-year high, triggering an international crisis.

Dangerous Liaisons

"Burning food today so as to serve the mobility of the rich countries is a crime against humanity" said Jean Ziegler, United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food criticizing the growing push for using food crops as fuel crops and diverting land use from food cultivation to fuel cultivation. In the face of the growing global crisis that he said could lead to "widespread hunger, malnutrition and social unrest on an unprecedented scale" United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon convened a global task force to respond, and called for closing the $755 million funding gap in the UN's World Food Programme.

April 17th: International Day of Peasant's Struggle

(Jakarta, 17 April 2008) Small farmer's organisations and their allies are today celebrating the International Day of Peasant's Struggle commemorating the massacre of 19 landless workers, women and men struggling for land in Brazil 12 years ago. Today dozens of groups, communities and organisations in more than 25 countries around the world are organising more than 50 actions such as farmer's markets, conferences, direct actions, cultural activities and demonstrations to defend their right to food and their right to feed their communities.