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One of the efforts of the Latin American Coordination of Countryside Organizations-Via Campesina has been the promotion and mobilization around food sovereignty, which goes back to 1996.
Nowadays, the networks and organizations promoting food sovereignty are part of the “Continental Alliance for Food Sovereignty”, which participated in the 1st Assembly of CLOC-Via Campesina in Managua, Nicaragua.
The Alliance is an open space for organizations under permanent construction. Ahumada invited the member organizations of CLOC to join this construction, which will be formally presented in a public event next year.
In parallel to the 1st World Food Summit of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) held in 1996, Via Campesina organizes a Rural Women’s Workshop, an alternative forum prior to the official conference to question the FAO’s proposal on Food Security. The main proposal that came out of the workshop was to fight so that food is not turned into a commodity and for food sovereignty understood as the peoples’ right to cultivate their own food according to their own food culture. The International Seed Campaign of La Via Campesina was founded as a result, which later on promoted the creation of the alliance.
Mariu Ahumada, coordinator of the Alliance for Food Sovereignty, says that the alliance is the result of the hope of La Via Campesina as a key element in the struggle against neoliberalism.
Ahumada emphasized that the Alliance “works so that the FAO is open to discuss about the need to implement the principle of food sovereignty with the participation of social movements”.
He clarified “The alliance is not part of the FAO, it does not promote any process with the FAO. We are a space created by the social movements that aims to build food sovereignty. We are autonomous, independent. We have never worked with the FAO. We know that there are interests of transnational corporations at the FAO, that is why we advocate for reclaiming its original purpose”.
Ahumada believes that food sovereignty cannot be promoted by governments “We have to do it. Despite few exceptions like Bolivia, Ecuador and Venezuela, it’s the social movements that have to promote food sovereignty as a fundamental principle for common wellbeing. This is why we need to stop land grabbing, the use of agrotoxics and GM seeds. We also need to stop the agroindustrial model of food production”, said Ahumada.
The alliance proposes as fundamental principles to recognize the right to food, the urgent need for an agrarian reform, the protection of natural resources, eliminating the globalization of hunger, reorganizing trade, fighting for social peace and the democratic control of production.
Photo: Escuela Campesina Francisco Morazán - ATC Nicaragua.
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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