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The control of the global food system, the changes in the use of land that have taken place for some years now, the growing use of agrotoxics in developing countries, were some of the issues discussed at the event on Food Sovereignty and Food Security held last Friday, October 19 in Montevideo, Uruguay.
The event was organized to mark the World Food Sovereignty Day, on October 16. The Organizing Commission was made up by members of the Uruguayan Nutrition Union (SUN), the Extension Service of the University of the Republic, the School of Nutrition of the University, REDES-Friends of the Earth Uruguay, the Agroecologic Movement of Latin America and the Caribbean (MAELA) and Slow Food Uruguay.
The event began with presentations by Fernando Glenza and Leda Gianuzzi, both professors of Food Sovereignty at the University of La Plata, Argentina and by Miryam Gorban, BA in Nutrition from the University of Buenos Aires. The participants held 3 simultaneous workshops to address issues such as: agribusiness and family farming, market economy and solidarity economy, food and culture. Finally, there was a closing panel made up by Lauro Meléndez of the Ministry of Social Development of Uruguay, Jacqueline Gómez of the General Board of Rural Development (of the Ministry of Livestock, Agriculture and Fisheries), Dario Mello of La Via Campesina Brazil and Alberto Gomez of the Agroecology Network of Uruguay.
The panelists agreed on the concept of food sovereignty, which reflects the farmers’ struggle. They acknowledged the role played by social movements in fighting for food sovereignty.
Miryam Gorban said this principle “implies talking about access to natural goods, production models, transformation and commercialization of food, food security and consumption, as well as agrarian policies”.
She said it is a political concept.
Meanwhile, the leader of La Via Campesina Brazil, Dario Mello, emphasized the difference between food security and food sovereignty. He said the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) opened a space called the Committee on World Food Security, which is not enough because it is focused on the problem of food and agriculture in terms of food production and supply, without questioning the agrofood chains and the origin of food, while food sovereignty focuses on how food is produced and distributed, said Mello.
He mentioned an example of this is the concentration of resources. “In Brazil, 56% of the land is owned by 3.5% of producers, while 40% of the poorest farmers only have 1% of the land”. He concluded by saying “unless this situation changes, we cannot talk about food sovereignty or social justice, nor can we end poverty”.
A two-and-a-half year process of work which resulted in a meeting with several thousand Brazilian peasants; “a process that didn´t start now, and that won´t end here”, said Itelvina Massioli, national leader of the peoples´ struggle for land, agrarian reform and food sovereignty, in interview with Real World Radio after the 6th Congress of the Landless Rural Workers Movement (MST).
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