Rio+20 : Globalizing the struggle against agrochemicals
Media contacts - To interview farmers representatives in Rio
Click here to watch the video of the Press Conference in United Nations with Chavannes Jean-Baptiste and Nettie Wiebe from La Via campesina
(June 19, 2012, Río de Janeiro). La Vía Campesina organized a meeting of the Continental Campaign against agrochemicals within the context of the People's Summit in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The goal was to share experiences from different countries in their struggles against these poisons and to form an international space that brings together these experiences that are already being constructed.
In the Fifth Congress of the CLOC-Via Campesina, which took place in Quito, Ecuador in 2010, it was decided to launch a continental campaign against agrochemicals and in favor of life. Among the goals of the campaign is the struggle against transnational corporations producing these poisons and the eradication of agrochemicals to promote agroecological farming methods.
"I'm selling my land"
The participants from different countries discussed the status of the struggle against poisons in their countries. Silvia Rodríguez from CONAMURI Paraguay highlighted a common problem: government incentives to use agrochemicals. She also mentioned the fact that chemical use leads to the loss of fertility in the land, which has caused many farming men and women to abandon their landholdings. "In the Caaguazu region, you can see many signs that say: I'm selling my land. They are no longer able to produce anything and their animals are seriously ill. When they fumigate the wind spreads the agrochemicals and their crops are dead the next day."
Another point that was addressed is GMOs. The representatives from Mexico explained that their principal struggle is for the preservation of biodiversity, especially in the case of corn. In the Mexican culture they practice airborne cross-polinization and for this reason the GMO crops can contaminate native corn, which is an ancient tradition.
On the other hand, the Brazilian representatives raised the alert that Brazil is ready to approve crops that are resistant to 2,4 D, one of the most toxic herbicides in existence. Therefore, the struggle against GMOs and against agrochemicals cannot be separated from one another. It is important to mention that releasing these 2, 4 D varieties will further the use of this agrochemical, which is the active ingredient in Agent Orange, used during the Vietnam War.
Agroecology, a common solution
For the organizations that form part of CLOC-VC, the solution is agroecology, which is a rural development model that respects farmers and guarantees food sovereignty for the people. Cuba has a fundamental role in the training and education of Latin American militants. Paraguay as well, since they are training agroecology technicians in Cuba to bring that experience home.
The Ecuadorians highlighted the importance of taking action when it comes to consumption: "it's important to be clear about where our products come from". The Ecuadorian legislature has already approved the Popular Solidarity Economy Law, which prioritizes buying from small producers. "Instead of paying large companies, we pay our brothers and sisters".
In this exchange of experiences, agrochemicals and GMOs were identified as a dangerous problem in all Latin American countries. Agroecology is not just a political, environmental and social alternative, but it also guarantees the production of healthy food.
In this respect, the way forward now continues to be the construction of an international campaign that can strengthen local experiences and the struggle against agrochemicals.
(June 21, Rio de Janeiro) : Click here to watch the video of the march against agrochimicals.--