Via Campesina press statement

15th October 2012

World Food Day: Agribusiness investments are destroying small-scale family farmers and peasants

(Rome, 15th October 2012) At the press conference that took place today in Rome during the 39th session of the World Committee for Food Security, the Via Campesina representatives highlighted the risks that peasant agriculture will face if the issue of agricultural investment were to open the door to new land- water- and natural resources’ grabbing.

For the Via Campesina, the question of agricultural investments is extremely important, as depending on how they are handled, they can either provide support for peasant agriculture or, on the contrary, destroy it. Land-grabbing in Africa has become extremely violent, as Ibrahima Coulibaly, West African member of the International Coordinating Committee of the Via Campesina said, adding « the multinationals investing in Africa do anything but benefit the most vulnerable »

Kalissa Regier, a small-scale family farmer in Canada, and member of the National Farmers Union insisted on the fact that « rather than using large-scale private investments or public-private partnerships, the States should mobilise public funding to support small-scale family farmers and peasants who grow most of the world’s food, and who play a central role in combating hunger. » Since the last session in October 2011, the World Committee for Food Security has been working on the principles that would provide States with guidance in elaborating their agricultural investment policies. These principles should not be a red carpet for the agribusiness multinational corporations.

The international peasant movement is all the more aware of this question as the examples of violations of farmer’s rights by private sector investments are increasingly frequent. As Rodolgo Gonzalez Greco, a member of the National indigenous people’s movement in Argentina said, the daily lot of the Argentinean peasants is « threats, houses burnt to the ground, farmer’s leaders assassinated, livestock water poisoned, their herds slaughtered, roads blocked by barbed wire to stop their children from going to school, and their women from fetching water ». All these acts are carried out by armed people who have been contracted by the agribusiness interests of the Argentinean soy bean sector, and they are being repeated throughout the world.

On the eve of a new World Food Day, the Via Campesina is relaunching its struggle for food sovereignty, and denounces the daily violations of farmer’s rights, and wishes to remind the public that only small-scale farmers and peasants can feed the world.

For more information on land grabbing, and to view the documentary projected during this press conference please click here: Struggle against land grabbing in Mali

Press contacts :

Andrea Ferrante : Tel +393480189221

Marzia Rezzin : Tel + 393342245183

link to viacampesina.orgLa Via Campesina is an international movement of peasants, small- and medium-sized producers, landless, rural women, indigenous people, rural youth and agricultural workers. We are an autonomous, pluralist and multicultural movement, independent of any political, economic, or other type of affiliation. Born in 1993, La Via Campesina now gathers about 150 organisations in 70 countries in Asia, Africa, Europe, and the Americas.


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