World Food Day update: Monsanto monopoly, peasants fight back

On World Food Day, we were forced to admit that the global food system is not working for people. Why? Because since the beginning of the global food crisis, 150 million more people are hungry–now totaling one thousand million hungry people.

Family farmers and rural groups worldwide, through the global Via Campesina, have identified Monsanto and its corporate kin as the culprits perpetuating food and agricultural systems that produce unprecedented profits and poverty. Via Campesina, winner of the Food Sovereignty Award last week, is featured in this press release from Mexico.

Foro_via_campesina Peasants Worldwide Rise up Against Monsanto, GMOs

La Via Campesina carries out Global Day of Action against Monsanto

(Mexico, 16 October 2009) Today, International World Food Day, as declared by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations, La Via Campesina is mobilizing globally along with allies in an overwhelming expression of outright rejection of Monsanto and Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs), in the name of food sovereignty.

In the United States today, protests and teach-ins against Monsanto are taking place in Maine and Wisconsin. In Brazil, Via Campesina members are carrying out actions in the headquarters of Monsanto and Syngenta. In Europe, where nine countries have prohibited GMOs, Via Campesina organized an anti-Monsanto brigade traveling throughout the region. In India, thousands of farmers and allies are carrying out hunger strikes and occupying lands. Actions are being carried out in at least 20 countries and all nine regions where La Via Campesina is present.

Meanwhile, world leaders are preparing to meet at the FAO World Food Summit in Rome in November, where the powers of global governance and agribusiness will utilize the desperation of starving nations to accelerate the expansion of GMO-based agriculture throughout the world. The Obama administration’s proposal to dedicate over a billion dollars of emergency funding to developing countries for agriculture, and the U.S. government’s Global Food Security Initiative are thinly veiled efforts to this end.

Peasants, landless workers, migrants, indigenous peoples and consumers, identified transnational corporations, especially Monsanto, which, together with Syngenta, Dupont and Bayer control over half of the world’s seeds, and are thus the principal enemies of peasant sustainable agriculture and food sovereignty for all peoples. La Via Campesina is in a daily struggle to protect native seeds, patrimony of humanity, from corporations and patents.

Today, October 16, the strength of the movement is pushing the public opinion to reject Monsanto’s take-over of the food system.

“It’s time for all civil society to recognize the gravity of this situation, global capital should not control our food, nor make decisions behind closed doors. The future of our food, the protection of our resources and especially our seeds, are the right of the people,” said Dena Hoff, a farmer and coordinator of Via Campesina North America.

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