Friday, August 29, 2014

LVC South Asia Regional Meeting: Sevagram, August 25-28, 2014

La Via Campesina's South Asia Region convened in Sevagram Ashram on August 25th-28th, 2014 for our regional meeting. We had over 50 participants, coming from Nepal, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and India. Women and youth were well represented, and participated in the Youth and Women's meetings. We had presentations on recent developments regarding the WTO and GMOs from Afsar Jafri (Focus on the Global South) and Kavitha Kuruganti (ASHA). LVC activists joined in on a field visit to a local natural farm as well as a session by a local agriculture innovator (solar powered electric fence to keep out wildlife). A highlight of the four-day meeting was a cultural performance by a local musician who sings songs about organic agriculture and environmentalism in a typical bhajan style. We also had the opportunity on the first day of our meeting to visit a local village during Pola, a farmers' holiday when the bulls are fed sweets and get the day off! (See bulls dressed for the occasion below)


Pola Festival



Women resolved to hold a leadership training for women from the region before the end of the year, and the youth have taken on many projects include communications, youth exchange, and leadership development. LVC General Assembly resolved to make Amritha Bhoomi in Karnataka (International Center for Development and Agroecology School) the first LVC Agroecology School in South Asia. We also resolved to develop our relationship with other South Asian movements.

A more in-depth update and summary of action plans will be released soon.



Presentation from Afsar Jafri (Focus on the Global South)
Women's Meeting
Youth Meeting - Jenny sharing about MONLAR in Sri Lanka Youth Plan

Youth Presentation from Food Sovereignty Alliance

Field Visit to Natural Farm

Update from ANPFA (Nepal)

Mid-session musical entertainment courtesy of Ramanna from KRRS


Thursday, August 7, 2014

Farmers Support GOI's pro-Farmer position at WTO, call for Agriculture out of WTO

Indian Coordination Committee of Farmers Movements
Road No. 2, A – 33, Mahipalpur Extension, New Delhi – 110 037, IndiaTel: 011 - 2678300026784000; Fax: 011-26785001; Email: yudhvir55@yahoo.com

August 6, 2014
To: Shrimati Nirmala Sitharaman,
Minister of State Finance
138, North Block, New Delhi
Dear Shrimati Nirmala Sitharaman:

We are a network of farmers’ organizations in India, comprising of farmers movements from Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, and Maharastra.

We appreciate the Government of India’s uncompromised stand in the WTO and commitment to food security. At the WTO General Council the Government of India has postponed the Trade Facilitation Agreement indefinitely until a solution on public stockholding has been found.  We appreciate the roles the Government of India and you have played in this position, and we will extend support to the Government of India for any pro-farmer and pro-poor position you have in the WTO. However, our position since the Uruguay Round has always been that there is no place for agriculture in the WTO, and Indian farmers have been the champion of this fight, both at home and internationally.

We agree with you that a permanent solution on the issue of public stockholding for food security is paramount to trade facilitation. Thank you for taking a permanent stand for India against pressure from developed countries such as the USA and protecting the interests of Indian farmers. Protecting farmers means protecting food security at large for Indian citizens. Recognizing and acting upon this is a first step for seeking justice for small farmers in a body such as the WTO.

However, the WTO is a fundamentally flawed institution that bends the economic playing field in favor of developed countries and large MNCs at the cost of the livelihoods of the poor.  Since the creation of the WTO, farmers’ organizations of India have held strong that agriculture has no place in the WTO. Especially for a country like India, which has a majority rural population, relinquishing sovereignty of our food system to the interests of foreign corporations and developed countries will have a fatal impact for our population. To truly take the “farmers’ stand” the Government of India must demand an end to agriculture in the WTO altogether.

The
 WTO 
has 
always 
been 
the
 centerpiece 
of
 the 
free 
trade
regime
 with 
its 
multilateral
 reach 
and 
its 
special 
ability
 to
 legally
 enforce
 and
 penalize
 countries
 in
 order
 to
 implement
 global
 trade
 rules.
  It
 has
 been
 18
 years
 since
 the
 WTO
 was
 established.
 The
 multiple
 crises
 of
 finance,
 food,
 climate,
 can
 all
 be
 linked
 to
 the
 free
 trade
 regime
 and
 how
 it
 has
 overexploited
 the
 planet,
 pushing
 us
 into
 this
 climate
 crisis,
 poisoning
 our
 food
 and
 speculating
 on
 prices
 driving
 them
 up
 beyond
 people’s
 reach
 and
 letting
 banks
 and
 transnational
 corporations
 run
 unregulated
 pushing
 us
 all
 into
 the
 brink
 of
 a
 global
 recession.

What 
we 
need 
is 
not 
more 
free
 trade, 
but
 rather,
 a 
new
 system,
 one 
that 
is 
based
 on peoples’
 sovereignty,
 economic,
climate,
 social 
and
 cultural
 justice.
What 
we 
need 
is
 a
 trade
 that
 is
 based
 on
 complementarity,
 solidarity
 and
 that
 has
 at
 its
 heart,
 the
 peoples’ 
interests 
and 
not 
that 
of 
corporations.
We
need 
an 
agricultural 
system
 that 
is 
based
 on 
food 
sovereignty
and 
not 
based 
on 
growing 
cash 
crops 
for 
the 
markets.

There
 are
 hundreds
 of
 alternatives
 from
 communities,
 from
 social
 movements,
 from
 peasants,
 workers,
 women, 
migrants,
 fishers, 
youth 
and 
economic 
justice 
activists.


One again, thank you for standing strong for farmers at the WTO and holding back on the Trade Facilitation Agreement in the interest of public stockholding. We urge you to continue to work in the same direction until agriculture is out of the WTO altogether.

Sincerely,

Yudhvir Singh

Convener, ICCFM


Rakesh Tikait,
BKU U.P

Ajmer Singh Lakhowal, State President, BKU Punjab,

KS Puttanaiah,
Karnataka Rajya Raitha Sangha,Karnataka

Chamarasa Patil
Karnataka Rajya Raitha Sangha,Karnataka
Sh Vijay Jawandhia
Shetkari Sanghatna Maharashtra

S Kannaiyan
South Indian Coordination Committee of Farmers Movements

CK Janu
Adivasi Gothra Mahasabha

P Raveendranath,
Kerala Coconut Farmers Association



Chukki Nanjundaswamy, Karnataka Rajya Ryot Sangha, Karnataka

Sella Mutthu,
President, Tamila nadu Farmers Association, Tamilanadu

Nallagounder,
Uzhavar Ulaippalar Katchi,
Tamil Nadu Farmers Assocation