FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: FROM LA VIA CAMPESINA
FARMERS PROTEST AGAINST AGRIBUSINESS CONTROL OF FOOD SYSTEMS AND LAND
Key messages and demands are:
Landworkers are on the front line of the climate crisis
Landworkers should therefore be at the forefront of climate negotiations
No to corporate control of the food system
Yes to Food Sovereignty and Agroecological farming
Interviews and video footage are available on request. Images attached.
Please contact joanna.blundell@
Nov 8, Glasgow: Delegates from the global landworker movement La Via Campesina – an alliance representing over 200 million subsistence and peasant farmers across the globe – have staged an action at COP26’s Blue Zone on Monday Nov 8, at 4pm.
They demanded that agroecological farming and food sovereignty be recognised as a real solution to adapting to a changing climate, reversing biodiversity loss and soil depletion, and to have their voices represented in negotiations.
They called out the false solutions being put forward at this year’s COP by huge agribusinesses and the Agriculture Innovation Mission for Climate, which bypasses agroecological methods of farming that cool the earth.
Dee Woods, spoke on behalf of the European Coordination group of La Via Campesina, an organisation that represents more than 200m subsistence and small-scale farmers in more than 80 countries. She said:
“We are the ones who feed the world. We provide 70-80% of the food you eat yet our voices are missing from the negotiations at COP26. Only the industrial farmers are allowed to speak here. What we are witnessing is the corporate capture of UN systems. Private finance, not governments, are making the decisions.
Our voices should be centred. The farmers, the pastoralists, the peasants, black, indigenous, people of colour, people who are experiencing hunger, poverty, the landless, we are the ones who should be the centre of negotiations at COP26. We are the ones who hold the solutions.”
Marissa Reyes, from Puerto’s Rica’s Organización Boricuá, also a member of La Via Campesina, said:
“I am here representing the Caribbean, but also the global south. We don’t have enough representation here and it is important that we do, as it is the south that is suffering most from the climate crisis. I farm on an agroecological land collective in Puerto Rico, and I know that we already have the solutions that agroindustries are not capable of offering.
Agrobusinesses profits from disasters, such as the hurricanes in Puerto Rico in 2017, while we – who have real solutions to the climate crisis – become more vulnerable. Agroecology should be at the forefront of adapting to climate change, not disaster capitalists.”
Jean Thevenot is from the Basque country and speaks on behalf of the Confédération Paysanne and Youth Articulation of European Coordination of La Via Campesina:
“Food sovereignty centres local control, values local food producers and providers and democratises decision-making power in our food and farming systems. Food produced in this way has always fed the world, is feeding the world now and will continue to feed the world. It is food sovereignty that will lead rural areas towards climate justice.
Through food sovereignty we will reclaim control over the food systems, as stated in the United Déclaration on the Rights of Peasants, voted for by the UN General Assembly in 2018.”
Members of the Landworkers’ Alliance – who were responsible for organising and leading the Farmers Bloc at Saturday’s Global Day of Action march, also joined the action.
The Landworkers’ Alliance spokesperson Holly Tomlinson said:
“It is crucial that funding for adaptation includes funding for small-scale farmers in the global south. But here at COP26, even the insufficient £200bn pledges by wealthy countries to those most vulnerable have not been delivered.
What we are calling for is funding made directly to small-scale agroecological farmers, who sequester carbon and protect biodiversity, to empower them to make the changes needed to secure our food supply and restore soil health.”
Please contact Joanna or Yali to arrange interviews
- Joanna Blundell, LWA Press Officer joanna.blundell@
landworkersalliance.org.uk, 07740 932466
- Yali Banton-Heath, LWA Campaigns Communications Coordinator yali.bantonheath@
Notes to editors:
- The Landworkers’ Alliance (LWA) is a union representing over 1,700 small-scale farmers and landworkers in the UK.
- The LWA is a member organisation of international landworkers movement La Via Campesina – an alliance representing more than 200 million peasants in 81 countries across the globe
- Food Sovereignty is an approach to food and farming which centres local control, values food producers and providers and democratises decision-making power in our food and farming systems.
- Agroecological farming practices promote soil health, incorporate trees into agricultural systems, reduce the need for imported animal feed that drives deforestation elsewhere, eliminate pollution from nitrate fertilisers, manage livestock in a climate-friendly way, localise food economies and respect diversity of cultures, local systems and grassroots decision-making.
- The UN’s climate science agency the IPCC has warned that without changes right along the food value chain, food system emissions are likely to increase by 30%-40% by 2050, thereby closing the window to limit warming to 1.5°C.
- A Food, Farming and Countryside Commission report released in January 2021 and commissioned by the UK Government showed clearly how Agroecology can produce enough healthy food for a UK population, while also cutting UK greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture by at least 38% and creating a resilient food system.
- This year marks 25 years of the global Food Sovereignty movement, which stands against the corporatisation of our food and farming systems and advocates for environmental and social justice to be at the heart of food and agriculture. La Via Campesina and the Landworkers’ Alliance are integral to this global movement.