Thursday, July 10, 2008

La Via Campesina Press Release

La Via Campesina Press Release

The G8 is using the food crisis to promote their free trade agenda

(Hokkaido, 9 July 2008) Reacting to the G8 Leaders statement on Global
Food Security issued last night in Hokkaido, Via Campesina farmer leader
Mr. Yoshitaka Mashima said: «We do not understand why the G8 leaders
pretend to solve the food crisis with more free trade while it is the
liberalisation of agriculture and food markets that continue to lead us to
the current crisis. People need to eat local food to protect themselves
from the instability of world markets. We do not need more imported food».

At a press conference today, farmers leaders said that the G8 governments
were mistakenly using the current food and climate crisis to promote the
free trade agenda that is serving large companies and not producers of
food and consumers. The G8 leader's statement insists on reviving the
agonising WTO negotiations and on preventing countries from regulating
food exports.

However, small farmers around the world, men and women, have experienced
the devastating effects of free trade and WTO policies on livelihoods and
local food production. They defend the right of countries to protect their
domestic markets, to support sustainable family farmers, and to market
food in the countries where it is produced.

The G8 leaders statement also fails to address two major causes of the
current food price crisis: speculation by major traders and transnational
companies, and the development of agrofuel as a new source of energy. It
is important to keep in mind that these root causes of the food crisis are
the consequences of the neoliberal policies promoted by the G8
governments, the WTO, the World Bank and other institutions.

Finally, the G8 also explicitly promotes a new green revolution in Africa
(the AGRA initiative) and genetically modified organisms (GMO) as a
solution to the food crisis. The development of industrial agriculture,
with the use of GMO seeds, large amounts of chemical pesticides,
fertilisers and monoculture has left millions of farmers in debt. It has
also destroyed land due to chemical contamination. Small farmers are
kicked out of business only to be replaced by large agribusiness
companies. This model of food production and distribution is based on the
intensive use of fossil fuels and clearly contributes to the climate

The G8 statement talks about « fostering small holder agriculture ».
However, Mr. Mashima said: « we are wondering how the world richest
nations will support small farmers if they do not even allow them to enter
the countries where they are meeting ». Nineteen Korean farmers from the
international network Via Campesina were deported from Hokkaido airport on
July 5 after being detained for 48 hours under the pretext that they could
disturb the official meetings.

Peasants and small food producers are currently producing the very large
majority of the world food. They promote small scale food production for
local markets that create jobs and protect consumers health and the
environment and respect human cultures and communities. No solution to the
current crisis will be found without listening to voice.

More information

Via Campesina position on the Food Crisis: "An Answer to the Global Food
Crisis: Peasants and small farmers can feed the world!"

Via Campesina position paper on Global Warming: "Small scale sustainable
farmers are cooling down the earth"

Farmers leaders available for interviews in Hokkaido, please call

Mr. Shinya Takeda: +81 80 2091 0813
Mr. William Kramer: +81 90 5542 3194

More information on:

Nouminren (Japan Family Farmers Movement):

Via Campesina:

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