Permaculture blog

Rio+20: Peasant farmers' demands

Published by Sam Page on 08 June 2012

"We, peasants and indigenous peoples, are the ones who are concentrated in the highest levels of poverty because we have been deprived of land and we have been constrained by law or by force so that we cannot cultivate and exchange freely. Nonetheless, we are people who have been resisting expulsion from the countryside, and still we are more than 90% of the rural population. Our forms of agriculture cool the planet, care for ecosystems and secure the food supply for the poorest.

Every real solution happens to impinge upon the unbridled profits of capital, put an end to the complicity of governments and supports forms of production that effectively care for the planet. Food Sovereignty is at the heart of the necessary changes, and is the only real path that can possibly feed all of humanity. Our proposals are clear and introduce real solutions:

  1. We should exchange the industrial agroexport food system for a system based on food sovereignty, that returns the land to its social function as the producer of food and sustainer of life, that puts local production of food at the center, as well as the local markets and local processing. Food sovereignty allows us to put an end to monocultures and agribusiness, to foster systems of peasant production that are characterized by greater intensity and productivity, that provide jobs, care for the soil and produce in a way that is healing and diversified. Peasant and indigenous agriculture also has the ability to cool the planet, with the capacity to absorb or prevent almost 2/3 of the greenhouses gases that are emitted every year. 
  2. The land currently in the hands of peasants and indigenous peoples is around 20% of all agricultural land in the world. And yet l, on this land the peasant and indigenous families and communities produce slightly less than half of the world’s food. The most secure and efficient way to overcome hunger around the world is in our hands.
  3. To secure food for all and restore the earth’s normal climate, it is necessary to return agriculture to the hands of peasant communities and indigenous peoples. To do this, we must have urgent, integrated, sweeping agrarian reform that ends the extreme and growing concentration of land that affects all of humanity today. These agrarian reforms will provide the material conditions for agriculture to benefit all of humanity and thus , the defense and protection of peasant and indigenous agriculture is up to all of us . In the short run , it is necessary to halt all transactions, concessions, and transfers that result in concentration or monopoly control of land and/or the displacement of rural communities.

  4. Peasant and indigenous systems of agriculture, hunting, fishing, and shepherding that care for the land and the food supply should be supported adequately with public resources that are not subject to conditionalities. Market mechanisms—like the sale of carbon and environmental services—should be eliminated and replaced with real measures like those mentioned above. Ending pollution is a duty that no one should be able to avoid by paying for the rights to continue the destruction.

  5. The legitimate use of what international organizations and enterprises now call biomass is to feed every living being, and then to be returned to the earth to restore its fertility. The emissions that come from wasted energy should be reduced through saving and eliminating waste. We need renewable, decentralized sources of energy, within reach of the people.

Our goal is to bring back another way of relating to nature and other people. This is also our duty, and our right and so we will continue fighting and calling on others to continue fighting tirelessly for the construction of food sovereignty, for comprehensive agrarian reform and the restoration of indigenous territories, for ending the violence of capital and restoring peasant and indigenous systems of production based on agroecology..."

Read more at La Via Campesina and at Rio+20