A course organized by the Small Farmers Movement (Via Campesina) is taking place in Santa Catarina, Brazil. The course will focus on analyzing the global seed market, the patenting system and process of genetic modification of seeds promoted by transnational corporations. They also highlight the importance of native seeds owned by peasants and small farmers.
The course also deals with the global olygopolic system of seeds, science and patents, seed concentration and privatization of research and resistance processes.
The corporations’ attempt to achieve laws that will criminalize the conservation, exchange and improvement of native seeds is part of these debates.
With participants from different organizations of the Southern Cone, as well as from Mozambique, the course has a strong political and practical component, in terms of the peasant work methodology with native seeds, which is part of the work that the MPA has been doing for the past ten years.
Blacia Romero of the National Coordinator of Rural and Indigenous Women of Paraguay (CONAMURI), told Real World Radio that in that country GM crops are advancing and displacing the peasants. She said the dispute between agribusiness and the communities reached the political sector leading to the ousting of President Fernando Lugo.
Animals and Seeds
Juan Burba of the National Peasant and Indigenous Movement and Argentina says the course provides them with a common strategy “to nationalize the native seed struggle”. There is a bill in the Argentinan Congress that aims to adapt the local rulings based on the guidelines known as “UPOV 91” (International Union for the Protection of Vegetable Species) by increasing the privatization of phitosanitary resources and by favoring transnational corporations.
Juan highlighted the presence of transnational corporation Monsanto in Argentina through the installation of a big silo at “Malvinas Argentinas” in Cordoba province to adapt the seeds for GM corn.
He said that besides defending native seeds, taking into account the reality of peasant and family farming, the breeds of native cattle should be defended as part of food sovereignty.
Meanwhile, Milciades Quintana, of the Organization of Struggle for Land (OLT) of Paraguay highlighted the concept of agrarian reform, where the issue of access to land adds up to the control of seeds for quality food production, as opposed to industrial farming and agrotoxics.
Milciades described Horacio Cartes adminstration, to be sworn in in the coming days, as a representative of the soy producers, land owners and drug dealers that answers to the interests of eleven million hectares of land that were wrongfully acquired and that the peasants demand, since they are currently being exploited by national and foreign businessmen.
The course will lasts until May 12 and it will deal with organizational aspects both at the family and community level to build a broad strategy to defend seeds.
The people specialized in this at the MPA simulate the processes of peasant communities in Mozambique, Venezuela and other countries.
Valter Da Silva, coordinator and part of the national leadership of the movement told Real World Radio that the seed is at the basis of the “peasant way of being, living and doing agriculture”.
Therefore, it is a basic ingredient among the peasant organizations.
A two-and-a-half year process of work which resulted in a meeting with several thousand Brazilian peasants; “a process that didn´t start now, and that won´t end here”, said Itelvina Massioli, national leader of the peoples´ struggle for land, agrarian reform and food sovereignty, in interview with Real World Radio after the 6th Congress of the Landless Rural Workers Movement (MST).
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