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Nearly 250 people, including rural women, family farmers organizations, rural workers, teachers, students and researchers, environmental organizations, cooperatives, local authorities and fishermen will meet this weekend in Uruguay around the concept of food sovereignty and its challenges.
Representatives of the Latin American Coordination of Countryside Organizations (CLOC-Via Campesina) of Uruguay and Argentina will participate in the event, as well as the food sovereignty program coordinator of Friends of the Earth International Martin Drago, who will talk about the experience of the Alliance for the Food Sovereignty of the Peoples of Latin America and the Caribbean, a group that comprises dozens of networks and organizations of the continent.
It is a two-day event focused on the concept of Food Sovereignty as a principle and right of rural and urban workers, built in processes of struggle and mobilization of social movements around the world to criticize the model of agribusiness that exploits, damages and takes over land and natural resources, affecting the local and national economies.
The principle of food sovereignty acknowledges and reclaims the country’s and peoples’ right to decide on their own production, distribution and consumption policies and strategies. It highlights the key role played by peasant and family farming and agroecology and the role of women in preserving seeds and in everyday production.
The Forum aims to feed into the concept of Food Sovereignty in Uruguay, at a time when people are increasingly discussing about rural development, a fair wealth distribution and a stronger management of production units by workers.
There will be a first day of debates on the impacts of agribusiness, the deterioration of water basins and the health of rural communities, the importance of public procurement and the growing acquisition of land by transnational corporations in Uruguay. Then, on Saturday 20th and Sunday 21st the debate will take place in a land experience field of the National Institute of Colonization, which is run by small-scale cattle growers, rural workers and women.
Ignacio Cirio, member of Redes-Friends of the Earth Uruguay said they expect a rich and diverse debate around the concept of food sovereignty and said that the forum will be the first step towards a permanent coordination of organizations around this issue.
He highlighted that in the months prior to the preparation of the Forum, the “need to create critical and constructive spaces for debate was clear. It is a great meeting opportunity for organizations that consider food sovereignty as their strategy towards achieving social justice”.
The Forum is organized by REDES-Friends of the Earth Uruguay, the Service of Extension of the University of the Republic, Movimiento por la Tierra, Programa Uruguay Sustentable,
Slow Food Uruguay, Network of Rural Women Groups of Uruguay and the Network for the rescue and revalorization of native and creole seeds.
The event has the support of the Federation of University Students’ Union (FEUU) and the Catholic Archdiocese of Tacuarembo-Rivera.
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