Governments Renew Commitment to Implement Farmers’ Rights!

Last week, the Governing Body of the International Seed Treaty (IT PGRFA) met for the fifth time (GB5) in the exclusive, chilled environment of the Al Bustan Palace Hotel, Muscat in the Sultanate of Oman. The results were promising, however, and Civil Society and Farmers’ Organisations helped stimulate commitment to essential changes in how the Treaty operates.

Attached is a brief report (GB5-CSOreflection_PatrickMulvany.pdf) including the near final text of the Farmers’ Rights resolution; also our Civil Society statements at the opening and closing sessions, presented by NGOs from Asia, Iran and by Via Campesina.

The degree of unanimity of the African, Asian and Latin American blocs, with significant support from some European countries, and with united advocacy from farmers ‘organisations and CSOs present, all contributed to better outcomes than some had predicted.

These outcomes included:

·         a good resolution on Farmers’ Rights (FRs), which renewed the commitment of governments to implement Farmers’ Rights

·         a coded call to UPOV and WIPO to report on their impacts on Farmers’ Rights
·         warm acceptance of the offer by a Farmers’ Organisations to produce a report for GB6 on the state of implementation of Farmers’ Rights
·         actions designed to improve the sustainable use of Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture, linked to commitments to realise Farmers’ Rights
·         commitments to review and change the multi-lateral Access and Benefit Sharing mechanism (MLS), to prevent pillaging of the System by patents on native traits
·         significant new voluntary financial contributions from Norway for the Global Crop Diversity Trust and for the benefit sharing fund to support on-farm conservation
·         acceptance of the distinction between NGOs and Farmers’ Organisations and the need to include us, especially representatives of farmers’ social movements, in negotiations
·         a request to the Secretary to report on relevant discussions that relate to Farmers’ Rights within other UN fora including the Committee on World Food Security .
African, Asian and Latin American regions were the most united on Farmers’ Rights that they have been since 1998/9 at the height of the negotiations on the Farmers’ Rights article (Article 9). This solidarity forced through a good resolution on Farmers’ Rights which commits governments, with the engagement of farmers’ organisations and CSOs: to develop national action plans; review and adjust laws that will allow farmers to save, use, exchange and sell seeds; and improve access to genetic resources.

As we said in our Final Statement:

Our Treaty should be at the heart of securing future food through establishing effective governance of PGRFA that will enable farmers to continue to conserve, develop and sustainably use a wide range of crop biodiversity on-farm, at a time of increasing social, economic, environmental and political threats. The Treaty will be judged on whether it can stop the losses and improve access to existing PGRFA which have been developed by small-scale farmers in situ and on-farm.

The Treaty must change in direction and process if it is to realise its objectives. And to do so it must provide facilitated inclusion of the organisations and social movements of biodiversity-conserving farmers, and support CSOs, in the deliberations and work of the Treaty.
The Treaty has the responsibility to ensure support for small-scale farmers in their task; the Treaty’s future depends on this. We urge the GB to assume this responsibility; we look forward to collaborating with the Secretariat and Bureau, inter-sessionally, and to purposeful mutual engagement in the next Governing Body meeting.

CSOs and farmers organisations, will continue, in the face of many challenges, to take our responsibilities: we will resist, we will organise and we will transform the seed and food system so that our Farmers’ Rights and food sovereignty are realised.

In addition to the main lobbying activities, the IPC presented a Side Event on Friday 27 September. The title of the event was Farmers’ Rights to their seeds and knowledge: a challenge for global governance of the ‘sustainable’ use of PGRFA. The presentations by CENESTA and MPA at the IPC Side Event are available. CSOs were also involved in many other Side Events including one celebrating the 30th anniversary of the Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (CGRFA), at which Patrick Mulvany presented a CSO perspective on the work of the Commission including its preparation of the State of the World’s Biodiversity for Food and Agriculture, an assessment, using the ecosystem approach, of all agricultural biodiversity. Presentation is available with the title: “Agricultural Biodiversity feeds the world when sustained in the framework of Food Sovereignty.”

If anyone wants more information or is interested in involvement in the inter-sessional process up to GB6, please get in touch.

A summary of proceedings at GB5 has been published by ENB www.iisd.ca/biodiv/itpgrgb5

Patrick Mulvany

Chair: UK Food Group; Adviser: Practical Action; Observer: IPC for food sovereignty
Mobile: +44 7949 575711 (UK)
Email: patrickmulvany@clara.co.uk
Skype: pmulvany
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one day workshop on Strengthening Local Economies in Times of Global Economic Crisis’ by NAPM

NAPM -AP Chapter is organising a one day workshop on – 

“Strengthening Local Economies in Times of Global Economic Crisis”

Date – 05-May-2012          Time – 10am to 5.30pm

Venue – Cellar 1, Sundarayya Vigyana Kendram, Baghlingampally, Hyderabad


Background –

In the context of the current Global Economic Crisis we are faced with new challenges. The mainstream economists continue to harp on free markets, integrated globalised economic models as the answer and seek more liberalization, reforms and access to markets; which are in reality leading to increased price inflation, increased volatility and vulnerability of local markets due to global / external events. This is also leading to the impoverishment of people in sectors like small trade, agriculture, handloom and all other people employed in various traditional, rural livelihoods.

The thrust of the free market enterprise was to strengthen the hands of large investors, while weakening the support systems to the small scale sectors and agriculture, which is leading to wealth accumulation in the hands of a few corporations.

The Current Global Economic Crisis has demonstrated that this model is a failed model and there is a need to rethink on the way forward. Gandhiji had time and again stressed on the democratic nature of Indian Economic model which was basically a localized economic model where in the production was oriented towards local markets. Even to this day, the strength of the Indian Economy lies in the strong local market which however, has been weakened over the last 20 years to become dependant on external markets in the name of liberalization. While all this was being done in the name of increasing foreign exchange via access to export markets, in reality this integration has led to increased influx of foreign goods into the country leading to a ballooning trade deficit and the devaluation of the rupee.

The fall of the rupee is translating into higher petroleum costs, higher transportation costs, and higher agricultural input costs and thus having a cascading effect on the entire economy and making the cost of sustenance of the common people sky rocket. 


There fore, it is important to look at alternatives from the Mainstream that will protect the Rural Livelihoods and promote Sustainability. In the context of the Current Energy Crisis and the Inflated demand for More and more Energy, in this “Energy Centered Developmental Model” too it is imperative to look at alternative systems.

The One day Workshop will throw some light on the situation of the Current Global Economic Crisis and How Localised Economies can actually be a boon to the majority of the people of the country, while also moving us towards a low energy system of economy. 

Schedule of the Programme – 

10 am – Registration / Introduction of the Participants and the Workshop. 

10.30 am – Limitations of the Current Economic Model and the Need for Alternative Vision.

(Speakers – Dr. Aravind Susarla, Center for Regional Studies, Hyderabad Central University)

10.45am – 11.15am – Discussion on the above subject.

11.15am – Ecological, local input based agriculture and impact on rural Life and economy

(Speakers – Farmers from – Punnami Organic Farmers’ Co-operative Society – Vempalle, Kadapa)

11.30am – 12pm – Discussion

12 pm – Local input, Ecological Construction practices – impact on rural livelihoods, ecology and energy consumption

(Speaker – Er. B.N. Mani. Project Engineer, Rural Technology Park, NIRD, Hyderabad)

12.30 – 1pm – Discussion

1pm-2pm – Lunch Break

2pm –Efficient Energy Use and Water Management – Impacts for agricultural / rural economy

(Speaker –  Parcha Kishan Rao, Certified Solar Engineer, Farmer, SRI Trainer, Khammam)

2.15 – 2.45 – Discussion

2.45 – Localising Waste Management – Impact on economy, ecology, health and energy consumption.

(Speaker – Major, Shiv Kiran, Sukuki Exnora

3PM-3.30PM – Discussion

3.30pm –  Localising cloth production (Handloom and Khadi) – prospects for Employment generation and energy conservation

( Mrs. Nirmala, Cheneta Colour Weaves, Hyderabad)

3.45 – 4.15 – Discussion.

4.15 – Localising Health Needs

(Dr. K. Satyalakshmi, Research Professor, Gandhi Nature Cure College, Hyderabad)

4.30 – 5.15pm = Discussion

5.15pm – Vote of Thanks.

Land reforms at current juncture Response of media and civil society organisations

Land reforms at current juncture

Response of media and civil society organisations

 

Round Table meeting

 

 

11th November, 2011                         10:30 a.m to 1: 30 p.m           SVK, Hyderabad

                                                  INVITATION

 

Dear Friends,

 

Greetings from Bhumikosam- Ikya Sanghatana

 

We believe that you are aware of the present status of implementation of Land reforms in our state as well as country.  The present trend can be generally termed as reverse land reforms process where in, instead of making agricultural, residential and common use land available for majority of the people, the lands are being taken away from the small and marginal holders and making impossible for the landless to have land in the future.  Agriculture lands as well as commons from which majority of the landless poor draw their livelihood are being appropriated by few individuals and corporate companies and their use is being changed on the name of development and employment generation.

In Andhra Pradesh too the trend is similar as seen from the non implementation of KRR committee recommendations as well as many pro-poor land reforms legislations on one side and adoption of land alienation policies in a big way on other hand. The communities are being displaced from their lands and resources both directly and indirectly. Directly on the name of industrial/ employment/development polices. Many cases of land alienation in this form expose the insensitivity with which the state has behaved with its own citizens and betrayed them. Land alienation is also happening indirectly by way of agricultural and urbanisation policies that are making agriculture and land holding unviable for the marginal producers.  Also the aspirations among various generations are varying. Majority of the young generation seem to be not interested in Agriculture and the old forms of land use. Building on this situation, Governments are posing a trade off between employment of youth and land holding of the other generations as well as other land less sections.

With the present neo-liberal policies, the land now has become a valuable commodity or an asset having speculative value or that earns dividends/rent or returns rather than a source of livelihood. From primary form of engagement like agriculture, livestock, fisheries, collection of food, fodder, fuel etc., and for bona-fide livelihoods, the interaction with the land and related resources has been rapidly moving towards commoditisation/commercial exploitation and as a means of high profit generation for few people. These policies are leaving majority of the marginal producers land less, asset less, work and worthless and totally making dependant on other dominant sections/governments for their survival. In this scenario, traditionally landless classes particularly dalits and some tribal communities are losing the opportunity of accessing land and moving up the ladder of societal structure. Lakhs of families are pushed in to absolute poverty and starvation. They don’t have any form of self-reliance and does not have any chance of getting equitable opportunities for education, health and basic services.

These are some of the observations from the interactions with the communities in the year long Jan Satyagrah Samvad yatra which started on 2nd October from Kanyakumari and being led by Ekta Parishad at national level and AP Alliance for Land at state level.

We would like to share these observations with eminent people like you and discuss on the response of the media and various civil society organisations in this context in advancing the pro-poor land reforms agenda. We request you to make it convenient to attend this round table meeting where in several civil society members and senior media representatives are participating. The meeting time is between 10:30 a.m -1:30 p.m in the Meeting hall (ground floor) of Sundariah Vignana Kendram, Baghlingampally, Hyderabad.

 

Looking forward for your participation in the meeting

 

With regards,

 

CH. Ravi Kumar

On behalf of Organising committee, Bhumikosam Ikya Sanghatana and JAN SATYAGRAHA

———————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————-

EKTA PARISHAD, is an organisation with the presence in several states which had taken up a campaign on land rights to the poor in 2007 called Janadesh. As part of it 25,000 landless poor, particularly adivasis walked more than 300 k.m from Gwalior to Delhi and demanded the central government for the policies that provide land to the poor. Government responding to the demands had formed a committee called State Agrarian Relations and unfinished task of land reforms. As part of this process a council was also set up with Prime Minister as chairperson. Though the committee has given its recommendations in 2008 nothing has happened in last three years and not even a single meeting was held of the council. This shows the lack of seriousness of the government on land reforms. To put pressure on the government to act on its own promise and implement the recommendations of the committee as well as mobilise public opinion towards that objective, this year long Samvad yatra is being undertaken. After this yatra in October 2012 one lakh people will walk from Gwalior to Delhi as a last resort (Jan Satyagrah) to demand the government to change its policies and democratise the access and ownership of the land and livelihood resources.

 

Alliance for Land – AP (Bhumikosam – Ikya Sanghatana) is a collective of several organisations working to secure land rights to the poor in Andhra Pradesh.  Alliance for Land is coordinating the 16 day yatra covering 16 districts (Chittoor, Nellore, Prakasam, Guntur, Krishna, West Godavari, Khammam, Warangal, Karimnagar, Nalgonda, Hyderabad, Medak, Ranga Reddy, Mahabubnagar, Kurnool and Anantapur) from 2nd November to 17thNovember.

———————————————————————————————————————————————————————————          

ORGANSING COMMITTE, BHUMIKOSAM – IKYA SANGHATANA

A.P Vyavasaya Vrittidarula Union, Dalit Bahujan Front, A.P Mahila Samatha Society, A.P Dalita Samakhya, Adivasi Sanghala Samakhya, Adivasi Sankshema Parishad, Natwan Sangham, Shramika Sakthi Sanghatana, Yanadi Samakhya, Dalita Bahujana Vyavasaya Karmika sangham,

 Rytu Swarajya Vedika