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24 November 2009 | |

Paving the way

Interview with Martha Robbins of La Via Campesina Canada and the struggle for food sovereignty to come

length: 7:56 minutes
Download: MP3 (5.4 Mb)

The National Farmers Union of Canada, a member of La Via Campesina, participated in the Forum: Peoples Sovereignty Now!, held in parallel to the FAO’s Summit in Rome, last week.

One of the representatives of the Canadian organization, Martha Robbins, told Real World Radio that despite what people might think about the benefits that small farmers may receive from the Northern countries, “we share our struggles with the southern peasants because we fight against an equally unfair system”.

“Our solution is Food Sovereignty, promoting it equally around the world. That is why we are here outside the FAO in Rome”, said Robbins.

The free trade agreements, such as the ones signed between the US, Canada and Mexico have been equally devastating to the Mexican economy, the most fragile of the three, as it has been to the Canadian peasants, says Martha. “Even though it is true that the US and Canada are exporting more and more food, this is not reflected in the small farmers”.

Hunger as a political weapon

The outcomes of the Forum: Peoples Sovereignty Now! will be assessed in full extent when the reform promoted by the FAO’s Commission on Food Security is implemented with a stronger presence of peasant organizations.

The Forum’s Final Declaration, which ended on November 18, was signed by 640 people of 93 countries. It provides a platform for political action from the movements to the governments: “Food sovereignty entails transforming the current food system to ensure that those who produce food have equitable access to, and control over, land water, seeds, fisheries and agricultural biodiversity.

All people have a right and responsibility to participate in deciding how food is produced and distributed.

Governments must respect, protect and fulfill the right to food as the right to adequate, available, accessible, culturally acceptable and nutritious food”.

“Governments have obligations to provide emergency aid. But this must not undermine food sovereignty and human rights.

Emergency aid should be procured as locally as possible and must not be used to pressure countries into accepting Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO). Food must never be used as a political weapon”, reads the declaration.

(CC) 2009 Real World Radio

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