Voices from the field

Voice from the field 1

Micherline Islanda, Union of Small Producers (Tet Kole ti Peyizan Ayisyen), Haiti

The term “food system” designates all the stages necessary to feed a population, from growing, harvesting, and packaging, to transportation, marketing, consumption, and waste.

Access to land is a huge problem in Haiti and a huge barrier to food sovereignty. The dominant industrial food system is not sustainable because it does not provide enough nutritious and culturally appropriate food to everyone and additionally compromises the health of the planet. Industrial agriculture is among the major polluters, threatening the survival of future generations. 

To address these challenges, we conduct training sessions based on LVC’s axes of struggle. We organise young people and gather to study the origin of this domination and economic exploitation. We analyse the actions of the State and the structural and systemic issues that prevent peasants from owning or accessing our territories. We also work on social and cultural domination, access to credit, marketing, processing, handicrafts, fisheries and fish farming, livestock, land tenure, environment, infrastructure, tourism, mining and energy resources, access to drinking water and sanitation. We study local agroecological systems that are important to build food sovereignty. We practise and share agricultural production that is centred on family farming practices.

Voices from the field 2

Chengeto Sandra Muzira, Zimbabwe Small Holders Organic Farmers’ Forum (ZIMSOFF), Zimbabwe

In Africa, the organised peasant youth of La Via Campesina play a significant role in pushing the agroecology agenda; we play a significant role in fostering a general understanding and appreciation of agroecology among the general public through a variety of avenues and platforms. Yet, the lack of adequate public policies or public-financial assistance to peasant youth as well as the increasing appropriation of peasant seeds by industry poses a great challenge for the youth here.

Various organizations in Southern, West and Eastern Africa have played a great role in addressing these challenges through capacity-building workshops on agroecological practices. Peasant youth are also encouraged to engage in the different Ministries of Agriculture during policy formulation and implementation. Young peasants in our organisations also receive training on the latest technological developments and the opportunities and threats. For instance, our workshops have debated the dangers of GMOs in the continent of Africa and the growing digitalisation of agriculture. 

Organizations such as Kenya Peasants’ League, Eastern and Southern Africa Farmers’ Forum (ESAFF) Uganda, Zimbabwe Small Holders Organic Farmers’ Forum (ZIMSOFF), Landless People’s Movement, West and Central Africa (WECAF) members, União Nacional de Camponeses (UNAC), and Confédération Paysanne du Congo (COPACO) have further continued to network and exchange knowledge between young peasant farmers through seminars, conferences and symposiums on agroecology.

Voices from the field 3

Marlan Ifantri Lase, Serikat Petani, Indonesia

The threat of a food crisis can be tamed in Indonesia because in many ways we are still a strong agricultural society. Yet, Indonesia is relying on food imports such as rice, meat, wheat, and also sugar. It is because of the continued application of ‘food security’ as an approach to agricultural and rural development that the food imports are threatening our society.

The government must accelerate the implementation of agrarian reform and protect our local market as ways to help food producers live in dignity, so that young people can find peasantry and agriculture/food production attractive.

Serikat Pateni Indonesia has helped to establish Food Sovereignty Areas (KDP) in our agricultural land and territories. KDP is an area where we make use of natural resources in the area in agroecological manners. We adopt agroecology to produce sufficient, safe, healthy, nutritious and sustainable food by and for the people. We create livelihood support by linking the harvest to dynamic peasant markets in our territories. We promote and practice the cooperatives’ economic system to ensure fair prices for the welfare of peasants and local consumers.

Voices from the field 4

Vimukti (Anuka) De Silva, Movement for National Land and Agricultural Reform, Sri Lanka

The economic, political and social instability in debt-based economies like Sri Lanka is crushing the dreams of young people. Peasant youth, already vulnerable in many ways, face a daunting future. Many of us desperately migrate to cities and other countries for very dangerous and insecure jobs. The micro-finance loans have trapped women and rural families in a vicious cycle of debt and indignity. Organised as the Movement for National Land and Agricultural Reform, we are constantly trying to build an alternative political and economic process by uniting the youth to stand up for their rights. The dominant capitalist model considers food as a commodity to trade. Food production in the capitalist framework does not find the answer to hunger in any way. Therefore, we are looking to agroecology and food sovereignty, real solutions for society and the food chain.