La Via Campesina: Agricultural sovereignty means ecological cultivation and local non-GMO seeds
Could the UN Food Programs have erred in focusing on food security? This is what the movement proposes.La Via Campesina(La via Campesina) is a global movement that fights for food sovereignty because it believes that the path to food security is blocked.
A quarter of a century of struggle for food sovereignty
The “Farmer Way” organization emerged as a global movement calling for food sovereignty and opposing and opposing what is known as “food security” policies in the mid-nineties of the last century as an inevitable result of the spread of poverty and hunger in the world and the deterioration of the conditions of farmers and peasants and the rise of the dominant liberal thought.
The establishment of this organization was announced in May 1993 during a conference hosted by the Belgian city of Mon, and its headquarters is currently in Harare, Zimbabwe.
Since then, the movement has held its general assembly every 4 years, the last of which was in July 2017 in the Basque Country in northern Spain, and today it is present in about 81 countries; It includes about 200 million members representing 182 organizations.
As for the term “Food Sovereignity”, it is a term launched by La Via Campesina during the World Nutrition Summit held in Rome from 13 to 15 November 1996, and the organization chose October 16 from each A year marked for celebration of World Food Sovereignty Day.
The owners of this movement believe that food sovereignty is a philosophical concept and a correct view of what the agricultural world should look like, which depends primarily on farmers and small farmers who inherited their profession from father to grandfather for centuries, and not on the seed production laboratories and factories manufacturing pesticides and fertilizers that destroyed the lands and undermined the health of Human.
Pillars of Food Sovereignty
And according to what came withpress release – issued by the organization on October 18 in celebration of its 25th anniversary, and published on the “Common Dreams” website – food sovereignty is “the right of peoples to healthy nutrition, suitable for the agricultural culture of each country, produced by clean ecological methods.” sustainable, and in a way that allows every farmer in the world to do their business the way they know and want.
The concept of food sovereignty also calls on food producers, consumers and supervisors to be at the center of food policies, not commercial companies and global markets.
The concept of food sovereignty is based on 3 main pillars. The first pillar is to encourage local agricultural methods that characterize each country, and this is counteracted by the rejection of agricultural policies that come from abroad, which are not suitable for the local agricultural culture.
The second pillar is to support and expand ecological agriculture through the use of locally produced seeds, not those imported from foreign laboratories, which are often genetically modified, while relying on biological fertilizers that guarantee healthy and clean agricultural crops.
As for the third pillar, it is to give priority to the small farmer by providing the necessary support he needs, and providing all the facilities he requires, especially with regard to obtaining land and ensuring the distribution of his products without obstacles, a problem that many underdeveloped countries suffer from.
Food sovereignty or food security?
The term “Food Security” was defined during the World Food Conference that was held for the first time in November 1974 by the Food and Agriculture Organization, and the term was one of the most important outcomes of this conference.
According to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), food security is the availability of sufficient food at all times, and it has identified 3 main pillars: availability, accessibility and stability.
Although the “FAO” organization has focused on the importance of food being healthy and of varied and balanced nutritional value, the owners of “La Via Campesina” believe that the global policy pursued by the “FAO” does not guarantee food security and poses a threat to the peoples of the world and their future.
The owners of the initiative believe that global food policies encourage production by any means, as they allow the use of pesticides, chemical fertilizers and genetically modified seeds, which poses a threat to human health, as it makes poor countries not economically independent and plunges them into endless economic dependence.
According to the FAO statement, the term “food security” considers people who suffer from hunger as minors who benefit from food produced in Western countries and “recognize food security as a basic human right but do not defend the necessary conditions for food production, who produces? For whom? and how? And why? All these questions are absent, but there are no focused efforts on how to feed the poor?
Hence, instead of providing facilities to import hybrid seeds at high prices, the owners of the “farm road” are looking to establish biological agriculture by encouraging local production that depends on healthy methods.
Arab presence in 3 countries
The presence of the “farm road” movement in the Arab world is still not wide; Where we find it in only 3 countries, namely Morocco, represented byNational University of Agricultural Sector(FNSA), the Palestine it representsFederation of Agricultural Work Committees(UAWC), Tunisia represented inMillion Rural Association“(MRW).
Turkia Shaibi – who is the head of the Million Rural Association – said in a statement to Al Jazeera Net over the phone that “Arab representation in this movement is still limited to 3 countries, but we expect that representation will expand soon to include North African countries such as Mauritania, for example.”
Our speaker added – about the goals of this movement and its projections in Tunisia – that “we struggle to encourage biological agriculture, and preserve the genes of our seeds in order to achieve food sovereignty. Tunisia ranks fourth in the world in olive oil production and this is encouraging, but unfortunately the olive trees What we plant we import from Spain and it is not suitable for our soil because it consumes a lot of water, and this makes us dependents and not masters of our food.” Despite this, Tunisia has made significant progress in the field of gene preservation through its establishment of a gene bank in 2011, as our interviewer confirms.