Via Campesina is an international movement which coordinates peasant organizations of small and medium sized producers, agricultural workers, rural women, and indigenous communities from Asia, America, and Europe. It is an autonomous, pluralistic movement, independent from all political, economic, or other denomination. It is integrated by national and regional organizations whose autonomy is jealously respected. Via Campesina is organized in seven regions as follows: Europe, Northeast and Southeast Asia, South Asia, North America, the Caribbean, Central America, and South America. Via campesina has one member and is collaborating with other organisations in Africa.
Its origin goes back to April 1992, when several peasant leaders from Central America, North America, and Europe got together in Managua, Nicaragua, at the Congress of the National Union of Farmers and Livestock Owners (UNAG). In May of 1993, the First Conference of Via Campesina was held in Mons, Belgium, where it was constituted as a World Organization, and its first strategic guidelines and structure were defined.The Second International Conference was held in Tlaxcala, Mexico, in April, 1996, which was attended by 37 countries and 69 organizations in order to analyze a series of issues that are of central concern to small and middle-scale producers, such as: food sovereignty, agrarian reform, credit and external debt, technology, women’s participation, rural development and others.
Via Campesina is at present in a process of expansion and consolidation, and from its very nature, it is a pluralistic, democratic, multicultural movement, with a wide geographical coverage as a result of which, it is one of the most representative organizations for small and middle-sized producers world-wide. This complexity demands an enormous effort in order to accomplish the articulation, communication, and coordination need among the regions, their respective member organizations, as well as the whole movement in general. The complex work that Via Campesina takes on demands an important effort to achieve the articulation, communication, and coordination among regions, as well as between member organizations of each region and the global movement. Via Campesina works on the defense of professional interests, the political, the economical, communication, gender, training and technology.
The principal objective of Via Campesina is to develop solidarity and unity in the diversity among small farmer organizations, in order to promote economic relations of equality and social justice; the preservation of land; food sovereignty; sustainable agricultural production; and an equality based on small and medium-sized producers.In order to achieve these objectives, Via Campesina has defined its strategies among which are the following:
The articulation and strengthening of its member organizations.
Inflluencing power and decision-making centers within governments and multilateral organizations in order to redirect the economic and agricultural policies that affect small and middle-scale producers.
The strengthening of women’s participation in social, economic, political, and cultural matters.
The formulation of proposals in relation to important issues such as: agrarian reform, food sovereignty, production, trade, research, genetic resources, biodiversity,environment and gender.