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Member of the National Association of Rural and Indigenous Women of Chile and the Political Coordination of the Latin American Coordination of Countryside Organizations (CLOC-Via Camepesina), Francisca Rodriguez is a leader in the global campaign to save native seeds that includes exposing several transnational corporations for their biodiversity privatizing policies.
She was interviewed by Real World Radio to analyze the victory obtained by Chilean social movements, which almost after five years of struggle managed to remove the “Monsanto Bill” from the parliamentary agenda. This Bill incorporated regulations from the International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants (UPOV 91) and penalized the multiplication of native seeds, opening the doors for the introduction of GM crops for domestic consumption in Chile.
Francisca “Pancha” Rodriguez talked about the circumstances around which the movements obtained current Chilean President, Michelle Bachelet, to commit not to pass the Bill which was preliminary approved by Parliament.
She also said that in Chile, the regulation was supported by some rural organizations, although the situation has changed today in the country and the claims of the peasants, together with a wide range of local movements and international networks, were successful. “Pancha” highlighted that during the four years the right-wing was in office in Chile, led by Sebastian Piñera, there wasn´t a negotiation table with the rural movements. The new stage implies a reassessment of how to take on the dialogue with the administration of the “New Majority” led by Bachelet, to make proposals around the defense and promotion of peasant seeds.
4th Special Conference for Food Sovereignty in Chile
The Chilean activist also talked about the call made by the Alliance for Food Sovereignty of Latin American and Caribbean Peoples to the 4th Special Conference for Food Sovereignty in Santiago de Chile.
The aim of this space is to prepare for the FAO regional meeting of Latin American and Caribbean governments, where 70 delegates from around 20 countries member of the Alliance will participate. This regional meeting will take place in the International Year of Family Farming declared by the FAO.
The Alliance is made up by regional networks of peasant organizations, rural women, indigenous peoples, the agroecological and environmental movement, agricultural workers and artisanal fisherfolk and coastal communities.
In addition there will be a women´s meeting, a debate about cattle farming in the framework of Food Sovereignty and a regional consultation towards the FAO Regional Conference where organizations from the Alliance and the Coordination of Family Farmers of Mercosur (COPROFAM) and others will participate and will have a voice, although resolutions are limited to member governments.
In the interview with Francisca Rodriguez she said that we need to call the International Year of Family Farming for what it is because the “family farming” concept hides a conceptual “trap”. “We are actually speaking of peasant and indigenous farming, that generates the culture and identity of the peoples”, she said.
Food and Popular Sovereignty is a path, said Pancha, which the movements are trying to promote within the FAO. The movements aim the FAO to resume its original goals related to the fight to hunger, the distribution of wealth and production means at the level of the countryside and fisheries.
“We want the countries of the region and the world to consider what the movements are discussing. The FAO cannot be a springboard for big companies, it cannot open the doors for land grabbing or for food to be considered trade”, said Pancha.
The FAO General Director, Brazilian Graziano Da Silva, will participate in the closing ceremony of the regional consultation to social movements and he is expected to meet with President Bachelet and delegates of the Alliance for Food Sovereignty.
“Pancha” said that the movements “have a lot to say” looking for commitments and actions at regional and national level. And she said that the Alliance is going through a moment of “consolidation” in the framework of a “very aggressive and demanding international agenda”.
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