Brazil: MPA holds a historic peasant congress

More than 4 thousands people, from all Brazilian States, have left their homes and farms to join caravans from different regions of the country towards Sao Paulo, to attend the First National Peasants Congress of MPA, the Small-Farmers Movement of Brazil.


Source: La Via Campesina (14th Oct ’15)

The symbolic Pavilion of Vera Cruz, the same place where the biggest trade union in Brazil, the CUT, and the Workers Party (Partido dos Trabalhadores) were founded, decades ago.

MPA has mobilised thousands of rural women and men to come together and consolidate all the work the movement has been doing in the last 20 years and reaffirm their class identity as peasants. MPA is re-affirming at this congress the strategic alliance between rural peasants and urban workers.

“This congress has the task to put together what we have built so far in various areas such as health, food production, work on seeds, youth and organisational strengthening. Now, we want to take a great step and consolidate our understanding as a peasant class that we need to articulate with the workers class”, said Isabel Ramalho, from MPA National Board.

Mobilising the peasantry to challenge agribusiness

MPA is mobilising peasants to take the task of building a peasant agricultural project that fights and challenges the agribusiness model that is still powerful in Brazil.

“This same government has also allowed the progress of the capital and of the agribusiness model”, said Isabel Ramalho.

Brazil is one of the top agribusiness drivers in the world. The country has become the world´s top agricultural exporters. In 2012 Brazil surpassed the United State as the largest buyer of pesticides for its agriculture.

Agribusiness, which includes biofuels, is responsible for 27% of the country’s GDP and corresponds to at least 37% of the Brazilian export.

The First National Congress takes place in a context of a political turbulence in Brazil. The gains that former president Lula talked about may risk being eroded Brazilian President, Workers Party Dilma Rousseff, is facing strong criticism from conservative right wing sectors. In the last years, many street protests called even for the impeachment of President Dilma Rousseff.

Brazilian social movements, however, have taken the stand to support Dilma Rousseff since, although not always satisfied with the government policies, “we should not allow a step back on what we have achieved in this country”, said Willian Clementino, from National Confederation of Farmworkers.

Seeds, Soil and Small Farmers now Vital to Greece

Dr Vandana Shiva – L’Huffington Post, 29 July 2015

The citizens of Greece voted a clear No in the recent referendrum on austerity, yet they are being punished with further austerity measures while the banks which gave bad loans are bailed out by the public financial institutions.

This so called bailout of Greece is but the perpetuation of a dysfunctional economic model which should end as Pope Francis has said so clearly in his encyclical.

During the crisis, it is the small farms of Greece which gave work to unemployed youth. It is the gardens in balconies and terraces that allowed people in Athens to eat while the banks closed and pensions dried up. And our partner Peliti in the Global Alliance for Seed Freedom has increasing demands for Seeds as people must turn to growing their own food to survive this financial war against Greece, just as victory gardens allowed the US and European citizens to survive during the 2nd World War.

Yet it is the farms that the European banks want to destroy. An article in the Financial times of 22nd July mentions that increasing taxes on farmers is one element of the new package of austerity measures.

The right answer must be a passionate love for life and freedom. That is why we must defend or seed freedom and save seeds, we must defend our food freedom and grow our own food.

In 2014, the European Commission was forced to roll back its Seed Laws that would have locked Greece into seed slavery. The new recipe on taxes on farmers is an attempt to lock Greece into food and financial slavery.

Russians are content to let Westerners be the guinea pigs for GMOs

(NaturalNews) The future of agriculture in Russia won’t involve genetically-modified organisms (GMOs), says the country’s Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich. In order to preserve the quality and integrity of its food supply, Russia plans to stay with organic growing methods that protect the soil and boost yields naturally, a move that Dvorkovich says will make his country’s food among the “cleanest in the world.”

Meanwhile, Russia is leading the way in ridding its land of toxic poisons, stressing the need for agricultural policies that take a precautionary approach to controversial modalities like biotechnology that involve artificial gene splicing and toxic pesticides.

The Vice President of Russia’s National Association for Genetic Safety, Irina Ermakova, had this to say recently about the issue:

“It has been proven that not only in Russia, but also in many other countries in the world, GMOs are dangerous.

Consumption and use of GMOs obtained in such way can lead to tumors, cancers and obesity among animals.”