The International Day of Peasant and Agrarian Struggle is remembered on April 17th each year, a day of solidarity to the struggle and persecution peasants and small scale farmers face around the world. April 17th 2016 marks 20 years since 19 peasant men and women were murdered by security forces in Brazil’s northern state of Para whilst demonstrating for agrarian reform. The victims were part of a demonstration of 1,500 landless men and women calling for the federal appropriation of a… (more…)
The Landworkers’ Alliance (LWA) hung a 7m banner over the entrance to the treasury today to highlight the continued sell off of publicly owned farmland and council housing under the Government’s austerity programme. The action took place as part of La Via Campesina’s ‘International day of Agrarian Struggle’ that will see co-ordinated actions across more than 70 countries highlighting threats to the livelihoods of 200 million ecological and family farmers worldwide.
The LWA’s action focussed on the 9,500 acres of publicly owned farmland and 219 working farms that have been sold by local councils since 2010 under pressure from the Government to raise capital and meet fiscal deficits. The sell off of the public farmland estate is part of £37bn of privatization sales made by George Osborne since 2010 under which public food and farming assets have been regarded as any other commodity to be bought and sold.
A huge thank you to everyone that participated in our recent Brexit survey. To summarise the results: 80% of members wish to remain in the EU Unsurprisingly, food and farming issues are important factors in people’s decision. Almost 50% of members feel that the Landworkers’ Alliance should stay neutral, but provide facts and challenge spin to help voters make their minds up. This formed a significant majority however it is worth noting that 31% of respondents felt the LWA should campaign to stay in… (more…)
In the upcoming EU Referendum The Landworkers’ Alliance want to act on behalf of our membership. Please Respond to this Quick Survey and help decide The Landworkers’ Alliance position on Brexit. Rebecca Laughton considers the impact leaving or staying in Europe would have on farming in the UK, with contributions from Ed Hamer and Lynne Davis Back in December, I attended a symposium organised by Tim Lang at City University entitled “UK, Food, Europe: in or out?”. Over the course of a day… (more…)
The Landworkers’ Alliance (LWA) are announcing official support for the ‘Farming to London’ march taking place on Wednesday 23rd March 2016. LWA members will be travelling to London from across the UK to take part in the demonstration and to show solidarity with the UK’s wider farming community whose livelihoods have been undermined by policies of the Conservative government. “We commend Farmers For Action (FFA) for calling this demonstration to highlight the inequality of the UK’s agriculture industry” says LWA… (more…)
This week Monkton Wyld Court, home to one of the oldest continually operating micro-dairies in the country, hosted a packed ‘micro dairying’ conference. Over 2 days, 50 dairy farmers from around the country gathered to discuss ways in which farmers can survive in the current dairy crisis.
Discussions focused around presentations by farmers who have successfully built dairy businesses based on herds of 10 – 40 cows. In each case, success depended on reclaiming the margin from middle men by finding ways to sell high quality milk directly to customers. As well as increasing sales prices, these micro-dairies have managed to cut production costs by making better use of pasture, managing breeds for resilience over yield, and often added value by processing.
The Landworkers’ Alliance will be launching the UK’s first Draught Animal Power Network (DapNet) on Sunday 3rd April at Tinkers Bubble in Somerset. The day will include demonstrations of horse-powered field work & logging, presentations of modern and traditional draught-powered tools and a seminar to discuss the potential of a network for connecting and training draught-animal landworkers in the UK. The day will also offer an opportunity to have a go at leading or driving a working horse and using draught-powered cultivation tools.
The Landworkers’ Alliance and The Land magazine have joined forces to produce a rural manifesto which aims to challenge the elitism that dominates rural policy. The manifesto is also supported by the Family Farmers Association.
The manifesto was launched on Wednesday 6th January at 1.00pm in the Old Library of Oxford Town Hall at the Oxford Real Farming Conference. It includes 46 action points, on matters such a housing, land ownership, agriculture and rural employment. These all have the common aim of making Britain’s rural land and resources more accessible to a wider constituency of people. The full manifesto can be downloaded here:
The Landworkers’ Alliance will be hosting small-scale dairy producers from the UK and India at 9.00am on Thursday 7th January as part of the Oxford Real Farming Conference to discuss the current dary crisis; the false solutions represented by free trade; and the answers that farmers’ unions are proposing.
The UK dairy industry is in a state of ongoing crisis with the prices paid to farmers far below the cost of production. Instead of guaranteeing a fair price for dairy farmers however, the government’s response has been to announce a strategy for increasing the export of milk products to Asia.
The target for this milk has been China and Russia, but the export of milk to Russia has been banned in the sanctions and China has started to increase its own milk production in an attempt to supply the Russian market. Therefore the looming new export market is India – home of the world’s strongest “people’s milk” industry. The EU-India Free Trade Agreement, currently under negotiation, seeks to remove tariffs on European dairy exports to India.