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Editorial

Newsletter no 16 - Peoples Struggle against WTO

Wednesday 2 April 2014, by Manu


WTO kills farmers!
Food and agriculture are central to our lives as peasants and small farmers.
Agriculture is not only our livelihood; it is our life, our culture and our way
of relating to Mother Nature. The logic of free trade runs counter to this, as
it makes food a commodity; a mere product to be bought and sold. This principle
of free trade is embodied and pushed forward by the World Trade Organization
(WTO). The WTO’s Agreement on Agriculture aims to make agricultural policies
the world over more market oriented in order to facilitate greater trade flows.
This is why we in La Via Campesina have been at the forefront of the struggle
against the WTO since its launch in 1995. Since the beginning, we have consistently
called for “WTO out of agriculture”. We were in the streets of Seattle,
Cancun, Hong Kong, Geneva and this year in Bali.
The commodification of food and agriculture through the WTO has caused the
death of farmers – farmers’ livelihoods have been wiped out by cheap agricultural
products being dumped in their markets below their costs of production. Korean
farmer Lee Kyung Hae killed himself on the fences of the WTO Cancun Ministerial
wearing a sign that said “WTO Kills Farmers”. That still carries true today as hunger
grows, lands are grabbed by transnational corporations, peasants go into vicious
debt cycles as they are unable to sell their produce, family farmers are wiped
out by large agribusiness and food is poisoned by genetically modified organisms.
We in La Via Campesina believe that the only way forward is to fight for Food Sovereignty.
All peoples should have the right to culturally appropriate, nutritious and
healthy food, and their food and agricultural systems should not be determined by
the whims of the free market. We need to call for an end to the WTO and fight for
an economy based on justice with food sovereignty at its heart.

Henry Saragih, Chairperson of Serikat Petani Indonesia

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Nyéléni newsletter no 16

- Peoples Struggle against WTO