Statement from Frie Boender before World Forum of Food Sovereignty (WFFS)

Thank you for asking for input from Frie Boender, Denmark, via the Nordic farmers and smallholders coordination.

Since we have not participated in the preparations to the forum, we are not informed about the considerations behind ‘the moves’ that has formed it. It seems that the organizers have done a lot to open up the forum for as many people as possible. We are well aware of logistic and economic conditions that an alternative forum like WFFS has to be held under. However, many who might have liked to contribu­te directly and constructively to the forum experience it as being a bit closed.

Anyway, we will attempt to keep up with the news and, if possible, contribute directly to forum via the Nordic CPE-delegates from Sweden and Norway.

We, Frie Boender, defines Food Sovereignty (FS) as the right for all countries and peoples (and other legitimate ­democra­tic communities) to control theirs own natural resources and decide theirs own sustainable food and agricultural policy in order for small farmers to keep their house and provide the local/­regional consumers with healthy and culturally acceptable food without it leading to dumping.

The international committee of Frie Boender approves the goals of the European delegation that has been send to us. We have been discussing the questions connected to the goals and have the following (polemic) points to make.

Frie Boender is very positive towards a coordination of FS with the environmental and cultural policy of a given food sovereign territory as long as these environ-cultural policies ‘stay on the ground’, and truly and globally benefit the households of the small farmers and theirs cultiva­ted biodiversi­ty. FS should not be used to ‘green­wash’ agro-business or facilita­te long distance trade of basic food (organic or not) if an equiva­lent reasonably can be produced locally. Dumping – and indeed social dumping – should not be allowed.

We, Frie Boender, recommend a tax on unnecessary transport of food, and that the total amount CO2 consumed due to transport should be calculated.

We are also very concerned about the legitimate democratic unit of food sovereign. At the moment, however, we cannot see other realistic opportunities than the State. We are open to other ­for­ma­tions at a local and especial­ly on a Scandinavian/Nordic level as we are towards claiming international FS for a given sector, sheep meat for example.

WTO is out of the question, and should be closed down immediately. The possibilities of an alternative international small farmer based trade-system should be established.

Frie Boender prefers to farm in a social and political environ­ment that build on local trust and international solidarity rather than centralistic con­trol and sanc­tions.

Small farmers are among those in Denmark who have the lowest income. We have to pay for being controlled, are fined without mercy and are obliged to invest in uneconomic technologies. On top of this we are to compete with heavily subsidized agro-industrial products and food from low-wage countries. This is simply not fair.

We wish that the urban people of Denmark would show the same sympathy and respect towards the local small farmers as they do towards theirs ‘fellow’ pets.

May small farmers all over the world be united for food sovereignty! We demand to be treated with human dignity!

All our best wishes go to the European delegates at WFFS.

Keep up the fighting spirit. Listen to delegates of NOrdbruk and NBS!

On behalf of the international committee of Frie Boender, Tao Kongsbak