Shashe Declaration - First Meeting of Trainers in Agroecology in Region 1 of Africa de la Via Campesina

Shashe Declaration - First Meeting of Trainers in Agroecology in Region 1 of Africa de la Via Campesina

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By Via Campesina

We have been meeting at the Shashe Endogenous Development Training Center in Masvingo Province, Zimbabwe, to plan how to promote agroecology in our region (Southern, Eastern and Central Africa). This experience reinforces our commitment and our belief in agroecology and agrarian reform as fundamental pillars for the construction of Food Sovereignty.

We are 47 people from 22 organizations in 18 countries (Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Rwanda, Angola, Uganda, Tanzania, Kenya, Zambia, South Africa, Central African Republic, Brazil, Mexico, Indonesia, Portugal, United States of America, France , and Germany). We are peasants and technicians from member organizations of Via Campesina, as well as allies of other peasant organizations and networks, NGOs, academics, researchers, interpreters and others.

We have been meeting at the Shashe Endogenous Development Training Center in Masvingo Province, Zimbabwe, to plan how to promote agroecology in our region (Southern, Eastern and Central Africa). In what were once large cattle ranches owned by three large landowners who owned 800 head of cattle and produced neither grain nor any other additional production, there are now more than 365 peasant families with more than 3,400 head of cattle, producing in addition, an annual average of between 1 and 2 tons of grains per family in addition to vegetables and other products, in many cases using agroecological methods and local peasant seeds. This experience reinforces our commitment and our belief in agroecology and agrarian reform as fundamental pillars for the construction of Food Sovereignty.

Threats and Challenges to Peasant Agriculture and Food Sovereignty

Our region of Africa currently faces challenges and threats that jointly undermine the food security and well-being of our communities, displacing peasant families and undermining their livelihoods, undermining our collective ability to feed our nations, and causing serious damage to the soil. , the environment and Mother Earth.

This includes the local and regional manifestations of the global food price crisis and the climate crisis that have been provoked by the advancement of neoliberal policies and by the greed and profit extraction of Transnational Corporations (TNCs). Cheap subsidized food imported by TNCs, made possible by misguided free trade agreements, lowers the prices we receive for our agricultural products, forcing families to leave the countryside and migrate to cities, while local and national food production is undermined . Foreign investors, invited by some of our governments, grab the best farmland, displacing local farmers, food producers, and reorienting the lands towards environmentally devastating mining, to the agrofuel plantations that feed to cars instead of people, and to other exporting plantations that do not contribute anything to build Food Sovereignty for our peoples, and only enrich a few.

At the same time, uncontrolled greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution from Developed Countries and the global corporate food system - based on long-distance transportation and industrial agriculture, are changing the climate in several ways. ways that directly affect farmers. Our lands are becoming more arid, with increasing scarcity of water, we face increasing temperatures, and progressively more extreme conditions such as strong storms, floods and droughts. The dates of the rainy seasons have become completely unpredictable, so that no one knows when to plant anymore. The changing climate is also implicated in epidemics of communicable diseases of both humans, crops and animals. All this hurts peasant families and affects food production.

We are up against TNCs that want to impose GMOs in our countries, regardless of whether or not there are currently moratoriums, and agencies like the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) that conspire with TNCs like Cargill and Monsanto and with our governments to buy from national research and national seed systems to sell transgenic seeds. These seeds threaten the integrity of our local varieties and the health of our consumers. The same companies even manipulate regional peasant organizations to promote GMOs, and we call on these organizations to resist being used in this way.

As our soils, agroecosystems and forests are more and more degraded by industrial agriculture and plantations, and the biodiversity of local seeds is lost, production costs under the conventional "Green Revolution" model are more expensive and remain out of reach of peasant families. The price of chemical fertilizers, for example, has recently increased on the international market by more than 300% in just a few years.

Facing this harsh situation for peasant agriculture and Food Sovereignty in our region, as members of organizations belonging to Via Campesina we adopt the following positions:

Positions of Via Campesina in the Africa Region 1

We believe that…

  • Agroecological agriculture practiced by peasant families, and Food Sovereignty policies, offer the only reasonable and feasible solution to the multiple challenges that our region faces.
  • Only agroecological methods (also called sustainable agriculture, organic farming, organic farming, etc.) can restore soils and ecosystems that have been degraded by industrial agriculture. Not even chemicals can work after severe degradation, but agroecology can restore soil organic matter and fertility, it also strengthens the functional processes of the agroecosystem such as nutrient recycling, soil biology, natural pest control, etc. We have seen how agroecological peasant systems have a much higher total productivity per unit area than industrial monocultures, with few or no purchased inputs, reducing dependency and increasing the autonomy and well-being of rural families while producing abundant and healthy food for our people. Via Campesina's global research shows that sustainable peasant agriculture can feed the world, based on endogenous knowledge and agroecology.
  • The global food system currently generates between 44 and 57% of global greenhouse gas emissions, almost all of which could be eliminated by transforming the food system based on the principles of agroecology, land reform and Food Sovereignty. Sustainable peasant agriculture cools the planet, and is our best solution against climate change.
  • To adapt to climate change we need the greater resilience of diversified agroecological systems (and water conservation and harvesting, watershed management, agroforestry systems, green manures, etc.) and the genetic diversity of local peasant seeds and seed systems. peasant women. We demand that our governments withdraw support for industrial seed corporations with their standardized and often genetically modified seeds, and instead support peasant seed systems based on the recovery, protection, multiplication, storage, multiplication and exchange of seeds. locally.
  • Our national education and research systems are severely skewed towards more industrial agricultural practices, the same ones that are killing our planet and contributing to the failure of Africans to feed ourselves. We demand the reorientation of research towards methods oriented to peasant agriculture and agroecology, and the transformation of the curricula at primary and secondary school levels, and in higher education, to focus on agroecology.
  • We call for an end to trade liberalization and to renew the protection of domestic markets so that African farmers can receive fair prices that allow us to raise production and feed our peoples.
  • We call on our governments to create comprehensive programs to support agroecological agriculture carried out by peasant families and to rebuild Food Sovereignty, including genuine agrarian reform and the defense of peasant lands against land grabbing, the reorientation of public acquisition of being fed by government agencies from agribusiness to the purchase of organic food with fair prices to small farmers for the supply of schools, hospitals, institutional cafeterias, etc., as a means to support farmers and to provide healthy food for children, sick people, and government employees, and production credit programs for agroecological peasant agriculture instead of subsidies linked to chemical fertilizers and pesticides.
  • At COP-16 in Cancun, Mexico, the world's governments (except Bolivia) agreed to do business with TNCs that traffic in false solutions to climate change such as agrofuels, GMOs, carbon markets, REDD +, etc., in Instead of agreeing to seriously and effectively reverse global warming through real emissions reductions by Developed Countries and the transformation of our global food, energy and transportation systems. We demand that our governments behave more responsibly at COP-17 in Durban, South Africa, rejecting the signing of agreements imposed by the North and by TNCs, and supporting instead the Cochabamba Principles on Climate and Rights of the Mother Earth.

Commitments of the Via Campesina

While we demand that our governments act in all of the ways mentioned above, and we will increase the pressure on them to do so, we will not wait for them. Instead we pledge to continue building agroecology and Food Sovereignty from below. We are committed to taking the following practical steps:

  • We will build organizational structures in La Via Campesina at the regional level to support our member national organizations in their work to promote agroecology among their member families. This includes regional training programs, exchange visits, the production and socialization of educational materials, and the identification, documentation, systematization and socialization of successful cases in the region so that everyone can learn the lessons they entail. Among the structures that we will build is a network of local trainers and practitioners of agroecology in Via Campesina in our region.
  • We will promote the creation of agroecology training programs and schools in our organizations, and agroecological promotion programs from farmer to farmer and from community to community.
  • Through our organizations we will promote the creation and strengthening of local peasant seed systems.
  • We will document the Zimbabwean experience of land reform and organic farming by beneficiary families, as important steps towards Food Sovereignty, from which those of us in other countries can learn.
  • We will work to "maintain carbon in soil and trees" in the areas under our control, by promoting agroforestry, tree planting, agroecology, energy conservation, and by confronting land grabbing for mining and for industrial plantations.
  • We will engage and pressure governments at all levels (local, traditional provincial, national and regional) to adopt Public Policies that favor agroecology and Food Sovereignty.
  • We will build a powerful voice of small farmers and peasants to be present together with other sectors of civil society at COP-17 in Durban, and at Rio + 20 in Brazil, with the message that we We oppose false solutions to climate change and we demand the adoption of the Cochabamba Principles. We will insist on Sustainable Peasant Agriculture and Food Sovereignty as the true most important solutions against climate change.

African @ s! We can feed ourselves with Agroecology and Food Sovereignty!

Sustainable Peasant Agriculture cools the planet!

No to the Corporate Food System, to GMOs, to Land Grabbing!

Yes to Agrarian Reform and an Agroecological Food System!

Let's Globalize the Struggle! Let's Globalize Hope!

Masvingo District, Zimbabwe, June 20, 2011

The Via Campesina

Video: Jane Mt Pleasant: Food Sovereignty and Food Security (June 2022).