Box 1

African peasant youth in defence of Agroecology

Excerpt from a Declaration by the Peasant Youth Articulation members in Southern and Eastern African region of LVC.

“We the young peasants, members of La Via Campesina in Southern and Eastern Africa, recognize that agroecology has the ability to restore degraded agricultural ecosystems, including the loss of biodiversity, and sustainably feed many African countries’ rapidly expanding populations. Agroecological production systems are diverse and improve ecosystem health and services, making ecosystems more resilient to changing climatic conditions, significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and address socioeconomic barriers that perpetuate injustices and inequalities in our food systems. Additionally, the peasant agroecology approach is transversal, contributing importantly to various layers and dimensions of local social contexts.

We further recognize that Agroecology is the best way to adapt to climate change and mitigate its effects, because it uses farming techniques like crop diversification, conservation tillage, green manures, natural fertilizers, biological pest control, rainwater harvesting, and production of crops and livestock in ways that store carbon and sustainably protect natural resources.

We want our governments to take decisive action towards the domestication of the UNDROP which sets platforms for voices from rural communities to be heard and stresses that small-scale farmers, especially the youth, have a right to protect and conserve production resources and the productive capacity of their lands. Our governments must support the creation of conditions for strengthening the skills development of the youth to create ethical and profitable opportunities in areas and activities that protect and restore ecosystems. It is imperative to support peasant family farms in all the diverse ways as they are the key champions of agroecology, a lasting solution to achieve climate justice.”

Box 2

Latin American peasant youth in defense of food sovereignty

Excerpt from a Declaration by the youth representatives from 11 countries of South America, Central America, North America and the Caribbean.

“As in other productive sectors of the world, the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has been very negative in the agricultural sector, generating a great social and economic loss. Small- and medium-sized producers have been affected and the lack of government support in some countries aggravated the impact of COVID-19, worsening the social, political, health and economic crisis.

We, the youth, reaffirm our commitment to defend agroecology as an important part of the struggle for food sovereignty and the rights of peasants. We stand in solidarity with the countries of Cuba, Haiti, Puerto Rico, Nicaragua, Venezuela, Colombia as they resist the interference by and influence of capitalist, neoliberal countries, where agribusiness and transnational corporations continue their indiscriminate onslaught. We denounce the criminalization of the struggles, attacking the sovereignty and autonomy of the peoples, provoking displacements, forced migrations and worsening of poverty in some countries. We call for guaranteed full respect for gender equality, the fundamental rights of the entire population and a life free of violence and insecurity. We also call for the guarantee of the universal right to health to all, and denounce the attempts to monopolise COVID-19 vaccines by the rich countries, thus violating the right to health of the most impoverished countries.”

Box 3

The future of family farming: Discussing intergenerational turnover

Contribution from International Planning Committee for Food Sovereignty (IPC)

The future of family farming—including agriculture, fishing and pastoralism—is threatened by multiple factors such as the effects of climate change, the loss of traditional knowledge and the detrimental effects of food policies which, at different levels, favour corporations over small-scale farmers and profit-making over the right to food. The combined effect of these factors is leading to a gradual loss of family farmers, which undermines food security worldwide. In this already difficult context, the survival of family farming is at greater risk due to the difficulty to ensure generational turnover.

According to the Global Action Plan of UN Decade of Family Farming (UNDFF), “generational turnover” refers to “the capacity to retain young people on farms and in rural communities” and is one of the preconditions to keep agriculture and food production “viable and sustainable”. In its recent report on Youth Engagement and Employment in Agriculture and Food Systems, the High-Level Panel of Experts of the UN Committee on World Food Security refers to the notion of “generational sustainability” defining it as “intergenerational collaboration and the evolving, dynamic balance between generations”. In the report, generational turnover is connected to the degree of youth engagement in food systems and particularly: “a carefully built and maintained inter-generational balance and multi-directional exchange of generation-specific knowledge, resources and livelihood strategies can enhance the role of young people in leading successful and endogenous innovation in food systems and contributing to sustainable agrarian, rural and urban transformations”.

What are the barriers which globally prevent generational turnover in family farming? And which visions, policies and actions are needed to overcome such barriers and ensure generational sustainability while at the same time meeting the needs and aspirations of different generations?

Between May and October 2022, the Youth Working Group of the International Planning Committee for Food Sovereignty (IPC) has carried out a dedicated global consultation to address these questions. The consultation intended to create a space for youth and non-youth IPC members from around the world to gather, discuss their needs and share ideas. Although the analysis of results has not been finalised, the consultation made visible the existence of multiple obstacles which are common across all regions of the IPC. Among them:

• The marginalisation of family farmers in food systems, including unsupportive legal and policy environments.

• The lack of adequate legal services, enabling policies and physical infrastructure to facilitate the intergenerational transfer of natural resources, farm assets and knowledge and skills, especially outside the family domain.

• The reproduction of socio-cultural barriers rooted in patriarchy and colonialism which make it difficult or impossible for young women, gender/sexually diverse youth and Indigenous youth to access inheritance rights.

• The low economic viability of family farming makes it difficult or impossible for a young person to live and work as a peasant/food producer.

• The decreasing attractiveness of family farming for young people due to the persistence of a social stigma related to being a peasant as well as to the lack of respect for the social status of family farmers.

• The decreasing attractiveness of family farming for young people due to the emerging difficulties of producing food in a changing climate.

• The increasing youth exodus from rural to urban areas due to the lack of adequate infrastructure and services to meet the needs of today’s rural youth.

• The marginalisation of youth in decision-making spaces at different levels (regional, national, international), which often makes youth participation merely performative and undermines the possibility of enhancing youth agency.

• The lack of suitable spaces to ensure intergenerational dialogues about generational turnover as a two-sided process and not only a unilateral transfer from older to younger people.

During the consultation, the IPC Youth WG identified the need to keep our attention on the issue of generational turnover in family farming and continue working on it in close collaboration with other WGs in all regions and with all constituencies as a topic concerning everyone and not only the youth. The aim could be to identify a common IPC position and global strategy to improve generational turnover in family farming. The youth have also discussed the importance of using the outcomes of the consultation to continue influencing the agenda and work of the FAO, particularly in the context of the UNDFF.

Box 4


In this video, peasant youth from Europe, organised by the European Coordination of La Via Campesina (ECVC), sing the popular protest song L’estaca by the Catalan songwriter Lluís Llach—one of the symbols of resistance against Francoism. In the song, fascism and all forms of oppression are described as a pole (“l’estaca”) to which we are all chained but which, if we pull hard and together, we will manage to bring down. The song has been translated into a multitude of languages, becoming a universal hymn of liberation from all kinds of authoritarian and oppressive regimes and a call to unity towards freedom from all constraints.

The original song in Catalan:

Read here the translation of the song in English.

L’avi Siset[1] em parlava
de bon matí al portal
mentre el sol esperàvem
i els carros vèiem passar.

Siset, que no veus l’estaca
on estem tots lligats?
Si no podem desfer-nos-en
mai no podrem caminar!

Si estirem tots, ella caurà
i molt de temps no pot durar,
segur que tomba, tomba, tomba
ben corcada deu ser ja.

Si jo l’estiro fort per aquí
i tu l’estires fort per allà,
segur que tomba, tomba, tomba,
i ens podrem alliberar.

Però, Siset, fa molt temps ja,
les mans se’m van escorxant,
i quan la força se me’n va
ella és més ampla i més gran.

Ben cert sé que està podrida
però és que, Siset, pesa tant,
que a cops la força m’oblida.
Torna’m a dir el teu cant:

Si estirem tots, ella caurà
i molt de temps no pot durar,
segur que tomba, tomba, tomba
ben corcada deu ser ja.

Si jo l’estiro fort per aquí
i tu l’estires fort per allà,
segur que tomba, tomba, tomba,
i ens podrem alliberar.

L’avi Siset ja no diu res,
mal vent que se l’emportà,
ell qui sap cap a quin indret
i jo a sota el portal.

I mentre passen els nous vailets
estiro el coll per cantar
el darrer cant d’en Siset,
el darrer que em va ensenyar.

Si estirem tots, ella caurà
i molt de temps no pot durar,
segur que tomba, tomba, tomba
ben corcada deu ser ja.

Si jo l’estiro fort per aquí
i tu l’estires fort per allà,
segur que tomba, tomba, tomba,
i ens podrem alliberar.

[1] “Siset” is short for “Narcis”. It seems to refer to Narcís Llansa, an old man with whom Llach went fishing when he was young.