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30 de abril de 2014 | | |

Agricultural workers and their participation at the 4th Special Conference for Food Sovereignty, to be launched on May 2nd

The principle of Food Sovereignty gathers different social sectors in the development of public policy proposals, and among them, rural workers play an important role and are claiming visibility, respect for their rights, and state actions both at national and international level.

In Latin America and the Caribbean, regional networks and organizations have joined to create a coordination tool called the Alliance for Food Sovereignty. This alliance is calling for the 4th Special Conference for Food Sovereignty, to take place this week before the 33rd Regional Conference of the FAO.

Both events will take place in Santiago, Chile, where 70 delegates from social organizations are expected to participate. There, they will discuss with government representatives about policies related to family agriculture, in the International Year of Family Farming as declared by the FAO.

Alessandra da Costa Lunas, leader of the Confederation of Agricultural Workers (CONTAG) of Brazil and of the Alliance for Food Sovereignty, highlighted that for the social movements that incorporate this principle to their platforms, family farming has the face of peasants, indigenous people and artisanal fisherfolk. And it also implies the defense of territories, seeds and the knowledge of farmers, the rural population and rural workers.

“For us, the International Year of Family, Peasant, Indigenous and Non-Patriarchal Farming is an opportunity to have dialogues and build concrete proposals for the strengthening of this sector in all our countries”, said the leader from Brasilia.

But Lunas recognizes that this dialogue doesn´t exist in most countries. And that other logic, such as the promotion of agribusiness, is prioritized when planning the food systems of the populations and territorial management.

Lunas, who was also coordinator of COPROFAM (Coordination of Family Farming Organizations of Mercosur), highlighted the importance of doing advocacy work related to public policies in spaces such as UNASUR (Union of South American Nations) or CELAC (Community of Latin Amercican and Caribbean States).

Stregnthening agroecological food production is an example of the concepts to be integrated by the countries with explicit promotion policies. She highlighted that in October, 2013 Brazil passed the National Agroecology Plan in the context of the building of a new broad rural development policy.

Despite the different situations, all countries share many elements, said Alessandra: we all need dialogue spaces and political strengthening because family farming is responsible for the majority of the food that reaches our population.

The fact that Venezuela recently entered Mercosur, that Ecuador is getting closer and that organizations are increasingly articulating their work has motivated a broadening of the discussions by countryside organizations throughout the continent.

Trade negotiations, such as the FTA with the EU would have clear impacts on the agrarian sector of Latin American countries, and that is why it is fundamental that organizations express their position, said Alessandra in the interview with Real World Radio.

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