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11 May 2015 | | |

Advances in the struggle for Food Sovereignty

Native seed farmers celebrate big event in Uruguay

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Over 900 people participated in the 6th National Native Seed and Family Farming Festival organized by the National Native Seed Network in Paysandú, Uruguay, on April 26-27. The Festival took place precisely in Termas de Almiron, near Guichon city and was preceded by the 7th National Meeting of Native Seed Farmers who belong to this network made up by over 300 farming families from around the country gathered in 27 local groups.

The farmers meeting was attended by over 400 people and it was organized based on three themes, said Pablo Galeano, member of REDES-Friends of the Earth Uruguay, and also a member of this network. "The goal of the meeting was to assess the work of the network in the past two years and plan its main lines of work for the future (...) basically around three themes: the discussion of a National Agroecology Plan and how the network will be involved in the building and execution of this plan; also the concept of native seed that has been discussed for a long time and lastly the definition of priorities and lines of work for the next two years".

In terms of planning, in addition to internal issues around how the network works such as the availability of machinery to clean seeds or for small-scale farming, or the planning of capacity building sessions, workshops and technical visits, the farmers organization gave priority to the work towards the development of a national agroecology plan.

Galeano said with reference to this that "we are in the first steps of the process to develop this plan and the meeting was useful to contribute with this first step and to position the network in the role it will play as articulator around this issue".

The Festival itself included discussion panels with regional and international speakers, a seed exchange market with tens of stands and shows with local artists.
In addition, there were several workshops for young people and activities for children.
One of the main tables dealt precisely with the plan, where there was a presentation by members of the Brazilian seed cooperative Bionatur of the Landless Rural Workers Movement (MST) with their new Agroecology Plan.

Given the concern of the local population about the potential implementation of fracking projects in the area, there was also a table about this hydrocarbon extraction technique. The issue of the financialization of nature was also addressed in one of the main tables. And there was another table that focused on the impacts of agribusiness in Uruguay.

The organizers showed great satisfaction over the development of the festival and its outcomes. This is a space that strengthens the farmers network each time it takes place.

You can access the final declaration of the 6th Native Seed and Family Farming festival here (in Spanish): http://www.redes.org.uy/2015/04/30/declaracion-del-encuentro-nacional-de-productores-y-productoras-de-semillas-criollas-y-de-la-fiesta-de-la-semilla-criolla-y-la-agricultura-familiar/

Pablo Galeano from Radio Mundo Real on Vimeo.

Imagen: Real World Radio

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