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The Black Fraternal Organization of Honduras (OFRANEH) was awarded the Food Sovereignty Prize 2015 by the US Food Sovereignty Alliance, which recognizes the work of grassroots activists who work for a more democratic food system.
In a ceremony held on October 14 in Des Moines, US, capital city of Iowa, OFRANEH was awarded the international prize. At national level, the organization awarded was the Federation of Southern Cooperatives that gathers mainly African American farmers of 16 states of this US region.
According to the Prize´s website, it recognizes, among other things, the promotion of food sovereignty through awareness-raising, organization of grassroots actions, development and implementation of programs and policies. It also takes into account processes where the leadership of women, indigenous peoples, migrant workers and other food producers marginalized by the world food system is prioritized.
OFRANEH, created in 1978 as a Garifuna indigenous federation of Honduras, was the first grassroots organizations of native peoples of the country and defends the culture and ancestral territory, continuously threatened by tourist and oil palm (agrofuel) businesses, in addition to the Honduran State itself.
The Food Sovereignty Prize´s website highlights that Garifuna people are linked both to land and the sea and obtain their food through farming and fishing. In addition to the threats by oil palm, hotels and drug dealing, they add that Garifuna people also suffer the consequences of the rise of the sea level and the increase of frequency and severity of storms caused by climate change.
"The Garifuna, who have already survived slavery and colonialism, are now defending and strengthening their land security and their sustainable, small-scale farming and fishing", states the website. Along these lines they highlight OFRANEH´s role to help organize direct actions to file legal national and international appeals, promote the Garifuna culture and support "movement building", always prioritizing the work of women and young people.
Meanwhile, the US organization awarded with the "Food Sovereignty Prize 2015", the Federation of Southern Cooperatives, was created in 1967 and its work to help mainly African American family farmers maintain their tenure over their lands is highlighted. Farmers from 16 US Southern States are part of the federation. 90% of them are African American. "The Federation’s work is today more important than ever, given that African-American-owned farms in the US have fallen from 14% to 1% in less than 100 years.", states the Prize´s website.
The Landless Rural Workers Movement of Brazil (MST) in 2011 and la Via Campesina in 2009 are among the previous organizations that were awarded this prize.
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