La Via Campesina works for food sovereignty

laviaIN 2013, La Via Campesina will celebrate its 20th Anniversary.  Almost 20 years ago, in 1993 a group of farmers’ representatives – women and men – from the four continents gave birth to the movement at a meeting in Mons, Belgium.  At that time, agricultural policies and agribusiness were becoming globalized and small farmers needed to develop a common vision and organize the struggle to defend it.  
Small-scale farmers’ organizations also wanted their voices to be heard and to participate directly in the decisions that were affecting their lives. Over the last 20 years the local struggles of national organizations have been strengthened by being a part of this vibrant international peasant movement, inspired by a common struggle and the solidarity and support from other organizations.  

LaVia2La Via Campesina is now recognized as a main actor in global food and agricultural debates. It is heard by many global institutions such as the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), the United Nations (UN) Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the UN Committee on Food Security (CFS) and the UN Human Rights Council, The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and is broadly recognized among other social movements from local to global level.

La Via Campesina has become a key global movement. It now comprises about 150 local and national farmers’ organizations in 70 countries from Africa, Asia, Europe and the Americas. Altogether representing about 200 million farmers united  in a common struggle to realize food sovereignty. 

This includes: 
  • the defense of a food system that brings healthy food to local populations and provides livelihoods to local  communities;
  • the promotion of peasant-based agroecological model of food production primarily for local markets that will sustain food supplies, equitably and sustainably, now and for future generations;
  • the recognition of the right of women and men peasants worldwide, who currently feed 70% of the world’s peoples, to have a dignified life without threat of criminalization;
  • ensuring their access to natural wealth – land, water, seed, livestock breeds – needed for agroecological food production;
  • the rejection of the corporate agribusiness, the neoliberal model of agriculture  and the instruments and commercial pressures that support it;
La Via Campesina has taken significant steps in promoting food sovereignty and small holder, peasant-based sustainable food production as a solution to the current multiple global crises. Food Sovereignty is at the heart of the changes needed to build the future we want, and is the only real path that can possibly feed all of humanity while honoring the rights of Mother Earth.  For food sovereignty to work, however, we still need genuine agrarian reform, which will change the systems and structural relations that govern resources such as land, seeds and water.  
As the climate crisis has deepened, we have made clear, in numerous global forums, that our forms of small-scale sustainable agroecological production cool the planet, care for ecosystems, provide jobs and secure the food supply for the poorest. La Via Campesina is convinced that in order to create deep social change we must build and strengthen our alliances with other sectors of society.   

Help to intensify these efforts over the coming years:
  • To increase advocacy for food sovereignty with both global institutions and with national governments.
  • To make farmers voices heard all over the world through enhanced communications
  • To cool the planet by expanding sustainable peasant agriculture through agroecology.
  • To preserve biodiversity and defend seed sovereignty through support for farmer to farmer seed exchanges.
  • To strengthen Women’s and Youth leadership for food sovereignty.
  • To increase the struggle to recover people’s natural resources: land, water and seeds.
Who is la Via Campesina? The international peasant’s voice

La Via Campesina
Via Campesina is an international movement of peasants, small- and medium-sized producers, landless, rural women, indigenous people, rural youth and agricultural workers. We are an autonomous, pluralist and multicultural movement, independent of any political, economic, or other type of affiliation. Born in 1993, La Via Campesina now gathers about 150 organisations in 70 countries in Asia, Africa, Europe, and the Americas.

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