A fine April day in Bury St Edmonds saw 75 LWA members and friends assemble outside the British Sugar factory. We were there to mark Via Campesina’s international Day of Peasant Struggle which commemorates the massacre of 19 landless farmers in Brazil in 1996
Joined by the Rev Billy and his choir, and various musical accompaniment, we heard how the subsidy system favours big corporate agriculture at the expense of small farmers, and the damaging effects of the current sugar industry on employment, climate, health, and farming.
British Sugar exemplifies the problems of industrial farming. They have a monopoly on UK production. All profits go to their corporate owners, Associated British Foods. Subsidies support the production of a cheap commodity that has massive health costs. High chemical inputs and low employment rates are bad for rural communities and wildlife.
Our alternative is food sovereignty, which would form the basis of a new National Food Policy . This would limit CAP payments to large farms, diversify production, and provide local, affordable, nutritious food to our communities. It would also provide a decent wage to farmers and workers in the wider food industry.
Around the world, numerous protest and actions saw farmers asserting their rights to land and to farm responsibly, against the imposition of new trade deals like TTIP and against various ‘developments’ like golf courses and factories that remove people from their land.