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Wakulima n0 Dec 2009 Via Campesina Africa

Wakulima n0 Dec 2009 Via Campesina Africa

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Published by Raj Patel
The first issue of La Via Campesina Africa's newsletter.
The first issue of La Via Campesina Africa's newsletter.

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Published by: Raj Patel on Jan 28, 2010
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The voice of African farmers
Newsletter of Via Campesina Africa I • No. 0 December 2009
Dear Friends of La V
aCampesina in Africa,We are very pleased to sendyou this first issue of"
", a monthlypublication by La ViaCampesina Africa (Region 1).
means “peasants” or“farmers”, “the one who worksthe land”, in Kiswahili language,a local language common toseveral countries of our region.This publication aims to be thevoice of all the peasants andsmall farmers in Africa, and inparticular in Southern Africa,Eastern Africa and CentralAfrica. In it, we find the day-to-day stories of the African family-based small farmers: theirdifficulties, their struggles, butalso their achievements. This isalso a way for all of us to knowbetter this part of the world andto know one another better. Wewill always try to get thenewsletter translated into thethree “main” languages of thecontinent: English, French andPortuguese.Please feel free to translate itinto your local languages if youfeel it will be of help and interestfor your people. We will try tobe a mirror of what are the mainchallenges and what is theactuality for Via Campesinamembers organizations, butalso to reflect what ishappening for our movement atthe international level, andissues of interest in othercountries of our region.We hope you will enjoy ournewsletter.
The Editors 
Southern Africa's Rural Women Assembly:
Guardians of Land, Life andLove
(Limpopo Province, South Africa, from 28th to 30th October 2009)
Guardians of Land, Love and Life 
was the theme of rural women’s assemblywhich brought together 250 women from 9Southern African countries (Botswana,Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia,South Africa, Swaziland, Zambia andZimbabwe) representing peasantorganizations, small farmers, rural women’sorganizations, farm workers unions andNGOs. The women gathered together inthe province of Limpopo, South Africa fromthe 28 to 30 October 2009, to discuss andwork through their common problems and
News from MadagascarLand Grab in Madagascarstill relevant today
(Pag. 2)
InternationalCopenhagen: La ViaCampesina joins themobilisations
Small farmers cool down the earth! 
 (Pag. 3)
find solutions through their struggles and joint campaigns.“For us, land is life. It is an expression ofour existence and is integral to ourecosystems on which we survive as aspecies - the water, seeds, plants andanimals. Our culture and humanity isdeeply rooted in the land and how we useit. For us land is the basis for the future ofour children and the restoration of ourdignity and hope”, say the women in theirfinal declaration ( continue p. 2).
News from Mozambique 
 Jatropha! A socio- economic pitfall for the country 
(pag. 4)
News from the Region 
: Uganda and Tanzania
(pag. 3)
Photo: Tineke D'haese
Wakulima Via Campesina Africa I. December 2009
The global economic crisis, the food crisis and the energy crisis,especially climate change, are all the creation of the rich and powerful in the world, yet the poor, especially rural women who are the producers of food and the guardians of life, sit with empty plates and go to bed hungry. All of our governments have committed themselves to reducing and eradicating hunger and poverty by 2015 as the MDG state, but instead the number o hungry and poor people is increasing day after day. It is ironic that in an instant, the governments of rich countries were able to find billions of US dollars to bail out the banks (the agents of financial capital) yet after years and years they do not show the same willingness to find resources to solve hunger, climate change,etc 
.”, they continue.
The food sovereignty of the region, our indigenous seeds, our forms of local and traditional production are also being eroded as our governments do little to protect local agriculture for large- scale agroindustry that puts profits before human beings.
The declaration also mentions the spread of HIVAIDS, which isclosely associated with cultural practices suchas polygamy. Throughout the region there is a growing concernthat polygamous relationships are the basis for many ruralwomen’s oppression and exploitation. After three days of deepanalysis of the problems they are facing in their everyday life,they made the following demands: that the governments of theregion honour their commitment to the Maputo Declaration, wherethey all agreed to dedicate 10% of national budgets to agriculture;from this 10%, at least 60% should be allocated to small scalefarmers; scrap market-led land reform and land tenure policiesand instead enact popular people-led reform of land ownership;that our governments and SADC implement measures thatprotect our biodiversity, the atmosphere, the environment, nativeseeds, and our water resources; that our governments and SADCprotect our local markets from dumping of cheap foods at theexpense of achieving regional food sovereignty; that ourgovernments and SADC enact measures that prevent dumpingof toxic waste that destroys life on our soils, rivers and oceans;that our governments and SADC allocate greater resources tofighting preventable diseases linked to poverty (TB, Malaria)and implement an urgent plan of action to contain anderadicate the HIVAIDS pandemic; that our governments andSADC acknowledge that polygamy, as a cultural practice,oppresses women and therefore discourage this practice; thatour governments and SADC recognize that domestic violence,rape and abuse are destroying our societies and communities,therefore it requires common programs to retrain and resourceour Police, the Justice Systems, our social and culturalinstitutions and Education System.For the participants, the assembly was very inspiring, as it wasthe first time such an event happened in our region of theworld.Women went on into their minibuses back to their countries,full of a new energy and hope, and made an appointment for2010, maybe this time in Mozambique, for their secondassembly.Note: The assembly was coordinated by Women on FarmsProject (convening organization), African Institute for AgrarianStudies (AIAS), Eastern and Southern Small Scale FarmersForum (ESAFF), Land Access Movement South Africa(LAMOSA), Mozambique National Union of Farmers (UNAC),Namibia National Farmers Union (NNFU), National SmallHolders Farmer’s Association of Malawi (NASFAM), Trust forCommunity Outreach & Education (TCOE), Via CampesinaAfrica 1.
Southern Africa Rural Women:
Guardians of Land, Life and Love
Last year we heard a lot about the case of the SouthKorean company Daewoo, and the contract supposedlydealt with the Malagasy Government, about the rent for 99years of 1.3 million hectares of arable land in the country,i.e. half of the total of cultivable lands. After a lot of protests,at national and international levels, and as one of the pointsof discord in the complicated political situation in thiscountry, it seems that the Daewoo issue has been put intothe trash bin, even if civil society and more particularlyfarmers are still waiting for an official announcement by thecurrent government.But there is now another very important concern for thesmall farmers and local communities of the island: theactions of the Indian steel giant VARUN, mainly in theregions of Sofia and Atsinanana. This company, whicharrived in Madagascar in March 2008, first announced theywould carry on activities around mining exploration(uranium, oil, among other natural resources), but after theycreated several Malagasy companies, they also haveprojects in the agribusiness sector, for which they needhuge quantities of fertile lands already occupied by
Land Grab in Madagascar still relevant today
hundreds of farmers’ families. Due to this situation, deMalagasy Farmers Coalition (CPM, member of La ViaCampesina), feels there is a real danger for the farmers of thecountry, and more particularly in 13 districts of the provincesof Sofia, and is appealing to the local and national authoritiesnot to sign any agreement with VARUN, and are asking forinternational solidarity to support their struggle. For moreinformation, or to send a solidarity message to our friendsfrom Madagascar, please write tocpm@moov.mgwith copytovcafrica@gmail.com*
* Sources: Press Release by Defense des Terres Malgaches, and La coalition Paysanne Malgache, nº20, Sept-Oct 2009 
News from the region
After a tough debate among the Assembly members, a newland bill was finally adopted in Uganda, on November 26th.According to the text, which still must be approved by thePresident of the Republic of Uganda to become law:
A landlord can evict a tenant only after a court order andonly on the grounds that the occupant has not paid groundrent. 
A landlord who has occupants on his land cannot startselling it off without notification of the occupants.
A tenant may handle a certificate of occupation, issued bythe landlord, but cannot assign or pass it over to somebodyelse without first notifying the owner and giving him firstpriority to buy the land.
Somebody who attempts to evict, evicts or participates inthe eviction of a lawful tenant risks up to seven years in jail.The text seems to protect the land occupants a little better.Sometimes communities are living there for hundreds ofyears. But land is still private property that can be sold andbought.
Source: the New Vision online,
Public fury haltsbiofuel onslaught on farmers
Tanzania has suspended investments worth millions ofdollars after a storm of protest over the eviction offarmers to make way for biofuels. The country will notstart any new agrofuel project before the governmentreviews the selection criteria for each investment. Thegovernment has also halted allocation of huge chunks ofland to biofuel investors.Under fire from international and local environmentalists,the government said it will stop further acquisition of landby biofuel investors pending clear procedures andpolicies on such investments.Already, 40 companies have biofuel projects in thecountry.
The 400,000 hectares of agrofuels in the Wami basin tha would displace thousands of rice farmers was reported b GRAIN in 2007.
Source and complete article: 
Wakulima Via Campesina Africa I. December 2009
Copenhagen: La Via Campesina joins the mobilisations
Small farmers cool down the earth! 
Small farmers – women and men - fromaround the world will gather inCopenhagen in December to defend theirproposal for solving the climate crisis.Sustainable farming and local foodproduction are actually cooling down theearth. Peasant agriculture allows carbonto be sequestrated in soils and uses lessfossil fuel-based machines and chemicalinputs. Moreover if we eat local, lessenergy is used to ship food around theplanet. Given the huge impact ofindustrial agriculture on greenhouse gasemissions, a massive conversion fromindustrial monocultures to small-scalesustainable agriculture and thedevelopment of local markets wouldactually allow a massive reduction of allgreenhouse gases. (1) Combined with aserious programme to reduceconsumption, such a plan would actuallymake irrelevant any discussion on carbontrading, bioengineering and othertechnological fixes and trademechanisms currently discussed in theto get out of poverty.La Via Campesina supports and takespart in non-violent actions of civildisobedience when it is justifiedpolitically in order to develop a societywith more justice and dignity. We clearlyreject violence as a means of action aswe reject the violence of the policiesdiscussed behind closed doors. Policiesallowing companies to get carboncredits to develop monocultureplantations are violent policies. Inremote villages, they lead to landevictions, farmers’ resistance,repression and environmentaldevastation.We strongly condemn the repressivelaws that are being passed in Denmarkto muzzle dissent. In the run up of theUNFCCC, we call for mobilisation andunity among all social movements in ourlarge and rich diversity. We believe thata confident democracy can only bestrengthened by allowing people fromaround the world to defend andimplement climate justice, food justiceand social justice.
(1) Explanatory data to be published in Copenhagen – Dec 2009.
UNFCCC.We believe that these points have tomade in Copenhagen. We believe thatthe people's voices from around theworld have to be heard. The growingglobal democratic movement for justiceof many social movements preparing forCOP 15 shows the importance of theseissues..People's voices make many tunes, theycan whisper or shout, they sing or play,they talk or debate. The history of socialmovements shows that protests takemany shapes too. In La Via Campesina,civil disobedience has always been partof the strategies carried out to supportfood sovereignty, along with debates,political work, and the promotion of realalternatives in our fields. Whenhundreds of farmers occupy a piece ofland grabbed by a transnationalcompany, when thousands of themgather in front of the WTO to ask for anend to the liberalisation of agriculturemarkets, we defend our right to live. Ourright to feed the world and to feedourselves. Our right to be respected and
Source: http://www.viacampesina.org/main_en/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=811&Itemid=75 

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