April Summary: Updates from member organizations around the world: Via Campesina

In the history of peasant struggles, April has been a unifying month of peasant resistance and mobilization around the world. Every year, on April 17, we commemorate the resistance of 21 Brazilian farmers who were brutally shot dead defending their lands in 1996 in what became known as the El Dorado Dos Carajás massacre. Since then, La Vía Campesina has marked this day as the International Day of Peasant Struggles to advance our quest for dignity, social justice and food sovereignty in the midst of global crises. Since the inception of the new United Nations Working Group for the Implementation of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Peasants and Other People Working in Rural Areas (UNDROP), aimed at translating its principles into concrete measures that safeguard farmers’ rights in national legislation, to the establishment of a novel framework for global agricultural trade that regulates markets to curb abuses and disparities while ensuring equitable incomes and prices for those who feed the world, peasant voice shines like a beacon of hope. In addition, he defends peasant agroecology as a remedy for climate change. In our effort to highlight these struggles, we share some notable actions taken by our member organizations around the world.

In a webinar in April, the UAWC (Union of Agricultural Work Committees of Palestine), with the participation of the Special Rapporteur on the right to food, explained how Israel’s attacks, with more than 70,000 tons of explosives, have targeted the agricultural sector. This has impacted food sources and undermined food sovereignty, essential for the survival of Palestinians.

In Tunisia, the persecution and criminalization of farmers who in 2021 recovered lands illegally exploited by investors in Siliana persists. On April 17, summoned for a new judicial process, the peasants took the opportunity to demand their right to land, enshrined in UNDROP, during a demonstration in front of the courts.

Moving on to news from South America, in Argentina, the national peasant and indigenous movement Somos Tierra reported a 90% increase in food prices under Milei’s management, without regulation for the agribusiness and distribution giants. They denounce the renewed push by the Argentine government to join the UPOV-91 agreement, which promotes the market concentration of seed companies such as Bayer-Monsanto, also benefiting from reduced tariffs for the import of herbicides such as glyphosate.

In Brazil, the MST began our month of peasant struggles with land occupations at the national level. They carried out 24 occupations in 11 states, mobilizing more than 20 thousand landless families, demanding agrarian reform in a context of budget cuts for access to land and basic rights.

On April 17, peasants of Honduras They gathered at the National Congress in Tegucigalpa, in the form of a food fair, to demand an end to criminalization and violent evictions, as well as real access to land and financial support. In 2023 alone, 37 evictions were reported, mostly harming companies and peasant cooperatives. They also demanded the annulment of the Free Trade Agreement with the United States due to the unfair competition generated by the entry of tariff-free products.

In a new episode of “The Voice of La Via Campesina” in The Savior, farmers denounced the hoarding of land, seeds and water through megaprojects. In areas such as Valle el Ángel and San José de Villanueva, the real estate development of residential megazones puts access to water in productive areas at risk due to the intensive use of the resource for commercial purposes. These projects highlight the peasant struggle against a type of development that exceeds the capabilities of the territory, undermining sustainability and impoverishing local communities.

In Caribbean news, April 25, in Haiti, a presidential council with 7 political representatives and 2 civilian observers was sworn in to establish a transitional government leading to elections within two years. This period, marked by insecurity due to illegal arms trafficking, requires pacifying the nation, affected by gang violence, and revitalizing a battered economy, addressing growing food insecurity. La Vía Campesina in Haiti hopes for a government that supports food production and strengthens its political participation.

The Boricuá Organization of Puerto Rico held a panel on peasant agroecology as a transformative educational process. They highlighted how agroecology strengthens communities and allows farmers to remain and protect their territories, ensuring quality food. Based on their experiences on farms and agroecology schools, they recognized its importance in integrating natural and social elements, as well as recovering ancestral knowledge and technologies in pursuit of food sovereignty, social and climate justice.

In South Asia, on the occasion of International Peasants’ Day, the Pakistan Kissan Rabita Committee (PKRC) organized a farmers’ rally in Lakhi Gulam Shah, Shikar Pur district, Sindh province. They demanded better prices for agricultural products and extended their solidarity to similar protests by farmers around the world. The PKRC also expressed solidarity with the long-suffering people of Gaza who face extreme violence and famine as the genocidal attack against them continues with impunity.

He Bangladesh The Agricultural Workers Federation (BAFLF) held a demonstration organizing agricultural workers in Gazipur to commemorate the International Day of Peasants’ Struggles calling for better wages and working conditions. BAFLF has been leading struggles across the country to regularize agricultural workers who are employed in state agricultural institutes.

In Southeast and East Asia, the Northern Peasants’ Federation (NPF) in Thailand held a rally in April to highlight several overlapping community land issues with the governor of Phrae province. According to the NPF, Treasury officials in Phrae province falsely announced the cancellation of community land titles to Ban San Klang villagers, sparking protests. Villagers continue to resist forced land leasing, demanding fair treatment and access to basic infrastructure.

In April, the Japanese The family farmers movement, Nouminren, issued a warning statement about ongoing efforts to amend the Farm Bill. Farmer unions expressed concern that these amendments were being rushed through without proper deliberation or consultation. On April 17, they held a protest near the House of Representatives. Despite these protests, on April 19, the Japanese government passed a bill in the Lower House to revise the basic law on food, agriculture and rural areas, ostensibly to improve food security amid the resulting supply disruptions. of the war between Russia and Ukraine.

Turning to news from southern and eastern Africa, in Tanzania, some 21 local MVIWATA networks in Ruvuma, Njombe, Iringa, Morogoro, Dodoma, Shinyanga, Simiyu, Geita and Mtwara mobilized on April 17 and held dialogues on peasant struggles in their villages. Other actions carried out included tree planting in degraded areas, establishment and learning in agroecological demonstration plots, free health clinics, etc.

In Uganda, ESAFF Uganda hosted an event on April 17 to train local government leaders on UNDROP. This initiative is part of the organization’s campaign for UNDROP to be domesticated by the national government.

In Central and West Africa, CNOP-Mali organized community workshops in April as part of phase II of the project to support land and forest tenure security through land commissions, mechanisms charged with resolving disputes between rural communities. These workshops, held in collaboration with the Koulikoro Regional AOPP, aimed to share information about the project and raise awareness among stakeholders on the diversity of ways to manage and prevent conflicts over land and natural resources through such a mechanism. .

In Go, the Togolese Coordination of Organizations of Farmers and Agricultural Producers (CTOP TOGO) organized awareness-raising sessions in all the country’s prefectures from April 4 to 19 to mobilize the main actors in the corn, rice, horticulture and poultry farming. These activities aimed to inform the actors of the value chain about the activities and benefits offered by the Project to Support the Incentive Mechanism for Agricultural Financing Based on Shared Risk (ProMIFA), and at the same time awaken their interest and commitment to ensure the success of the project.

Moving on to news from Europe, in Belgium, the peasant movement protested against the Ether Energy project, which seeks to install 22,000 solar panels on 30 hectares of agricultural land. 150 people participated in the protest, including farmers and citizens, demanding a moratorium on agrivoltaics in Wallonia and the regulation of the agricultural market. Protesters planted potatoes in the threatened area and warned of the dangers of grabbing agricultural land for the installation of solar panels.

In Germany, social organizations from Brandenburg held a meeting in commemoration of the International Day of Peasants’ Struggles, together with workers from three peasant collective farms. During the event, the history of this day of action was remembered, highlighting that in recent months each day has been April 17. “Farmers resist daily, not only during farmers’ protests. “They oppose the logic of unlimited growth and defend their right to exist in society,” said an AbL representative, who concluded his speech with a call to remain on earth and resist daily.

If there are any important updates that we have missed, please send the links to [email protected] so we can include them in the next edition. We only include updates from La Via Campesina members. For a full update on various initiatives starting in April 2024, please visit our website. You can also find the previous editions of our news summary On our website. Additionally, condensed versions of our news summary can be accessed as podcast on Spotify.