World Food Day
World Food Day was proclaimed in 1979 by the Conference of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). It marks the date of the founding of FAO in 1945. The aim of the Day is to heighten public awareness of the world food problem and strengthen solidarity in the struggle against hunger, malnutrition and poverty. In 1980, the General Assembly endorsed observance of the Day in consideration of the fact that \"food is a requisite for human survival and well-being and a fundamental human necessity\" (resolution 35/70 of 5 December 1980). The first International Day of Rural Women was observed on 15 October 2008. This new international day, established by the UN General Assembly in its resolution 62/136 of 18 December 2007, recognizes “the critical role and contribution of rural women, including indigenous women, in enhancing agricultural and rural development, improving food security and eradicating rural poverty.” Small food producers are composed of farmers, agricultural workers, fisherfolks, pastoralists, indigenous peoples and women, men and young people (CSM Lobbying Document on developing guidelines/framework/code on responsible agricultural investment). Food Sovereignty is the inalienable RIGHT of peoples, communities, and countries to define, decide and implement their own agricultural, labour, fishing, food and land policies which are ecologically, socially, economically and culturally appropriate to their unique circumstances. Rights of small producers; indigenous peoples for self-determination; gender justice in food and agriculture; and rights of agricultural workers are part of this struggle and are directly linked to the right to life and livelihoods. Widget by Way2Blogging


Saturday, September 29, 2012

Polonnaruwa District Farmer, Fisher and women leaders gathered

Polonnaru District freshwater Fisheries Organization organize and conducted a planning and awareness work on future activities related to Week of action on Food sovereignty with the Farmer, Fisher and Women Leaders on 20th Sep 2012.

A Program on Sustainable, Traditional Agriculture

A Program organized by the Kuratiyawewa farmers organization and accommodated by Prajashakthi Development Foundation in Puthlam district will commence on 10th of October 2012 in Palugassegama. participants will receive discourse on Rights for land, Water and seeds and possibilities of  sustainable agriculture to adapt to the climatic alterations.

 After a common discussion, a local plan for related future activities will disclosed.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Land grabbing worsens hunger: Communities resisting land grabs to commemorate ‘World Foodless Day’

Land grabbing worsens hunger.
Pesticide Action Network Asia and the Pacific (PAN AP) and its partner communities will commemorate this year’s ‘World Foodless Day’ on October 16 through a coordinated campaign against land grabbing, a widespread phenomenon that is believed to be a major factor in aggravating existing conditions of poverty and hunger across the region.
Data shows that despite positive economic indicators heralded by many countries in Asia, the number of hungry and malnourished are continuously climbing.  According to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), 925 million people are hungry and malnourished around the globe. Around 578 million of them are in Asia, with women and children as the most vulnerable.
“This month, the FAO Committee on Food Security will once again tackle the issue of hunger and malnutrition in its 39th session, without recognizing that hunger and poverty are rooted in the lack of access to productive resources, particularly land. We will bring to the fore the voices of small food producers, indigenous peoples, and rural women who are being driven away from their lands by large-scale foreign investments in agriculture,” said Sarojeni Rengam, PAN AP executive director.
The latest data by the international NGO GRAIN has recorded hundreds of cases of large-scale agricultural investments all over the world, encompassing 227 million hectares of land since 2001.These land grabs have already caused or will cause the displacement of entire populations. In Asia, there are cases of massive land grabbing in Cambodia, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Philippines, India, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, Laos and Indonesia. In Laos alone, almost half or 43% of farmlands are already controlled by foreign corporations.
Rengam decried neo-liberal policies that encourage large-scale foreign investments in export food production, palm oil and bio fuel production, timber plantations, special economic zones, and tourism—both as a food supply strategy by import-dependent countries and as a renewed source of profits by the industry. “The so-called ‘approaches to ending hunger’ by the FAO, multilateral institutions, and Asian governments are all hinged on policies which cause massive displacement and hunger of food producers,” she said.
In Indonesia, almost 300,000 hectares of forest land has been acquired by foreign corporations and are being turned into sugar cane or palm oil plantations, with thousands of peasants losing lands that they have tilled for decades. “The loss of our food sovereignty is caused by policies on trade liberalization and the monopoly of vast areas of land,” said Rahmat Ajiguna, secretary general of Alliansi Gerakan Reforma Agraria (AGRA).
But communities have learned to fight back. On January 2012, thousands of peasants mobilized in front of the Presidential Palace and Parliament, resulting to a special legislative committee to address agrarian conflict.“Peasants organize, reclaim lands that have been grabbed, and file suits against government policies that  support land monopoly and land grabbing,” Ajiguna said.
Meanwhile, in Sri Lanka, peasants and fisher folks are forcibly evicted from their lands and fishing grounds by plantation and tourism projects. “As a response, we are holding actions in the district, national, regional, and global levels. These include conferences, signature petitions, street drama, prayers, dialogues, and mobilizations,” said Herman Kumara, national convener of the National Fisheries Solidarity Movement (NAFSO).
Similar actions will be held by partner organizations in Indonesia, Pakistan, Philippines, and India from October 1-16, as communities prepare to bring to global attention the often neglected issue of land grabbing. Mean while, PAN AP will continue to engage the FAO, which is building international consensus on the Principles of Responsible Agricultural Investment. The group believes that is crucial for the demands of small food producers, which are majority of the world’s hungry and poor, to be heard in the process.
“Our demand is to stop these large-scale agricultural investments as the most effective way to curb world hunger and malnutrition. Do not deprive access to lands, seas, and other productive resources to people who have been their custodians and who have fed their nations for generations. Uphold people’s food sovereignty and implement genuine agrarian and fisheries reform!” Rengam concluded.

Food Sovereignty Now ! Assert our right to land, water and seeds !

Week of Action on Food Sovereignty  [9-16 October] to mobilize  Communities to resist  land grabbing, demand rights for water, seeds and land for food sovereignty,

Proposed Action Plan on Food Sovereignty Campaign


Despite global efforts to curb the number of hungry and malnourished in the world, the figures are continuously climbing.  Around the globe, 925 million people are hungry and malnourished (FAO 2012).  In spite of positive economic indicators heralded by many countries in Asia, the region is home to the most number of hungry people with 578 million (FAO Hunger Report 2011) with women and children as the most vulnerable.
In October 2012, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) will once again give focus to the observance of the World Food Day[i] (WFD) to raise awareness and understanding of approaches to ending hunger. Ironically, on the eve of the WFD is the International Rural Women’s Day[ii] to recognize the critical role and contribution of rural women in food security and rural development. In the same month, FAO Committee on Food Security  (CFS) meets for its 39th session and the issue of hunger and malnutrition will be on its agenda once again without recognizing that hunger and poverty are rooted in the lack of access to productive resources, particularly land, water and seeds.
Meanwhile, the “approaches to ending hunger” by the FAO, multilateral institutions, governments and corporations are hinged on neo-liberal policies that promote aggressive investment in agriculture to “revitalize rural economies”, among others. At the national level, small food producers[iii] in rural and coastal communities, herders in the grasslands  are not only forced to live with the reality of hunger and malnutrition, they are also facing the grim reality of being displaced to give way to large-scale foreign investments in agriculture.
The current phenomenon of large-scale foreign investments that lead to global land grabbing has caused massive displacement in rural communities. In the latest data by the international NGO GRAIN, there are 400 cases of large-scale agricultural investments all over the world. In Asia, documented cases show massive land grabbing in Cambodia, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Philippines, India, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, Laos and other places. The data set reveals that globally, nearly 35 million hectares of land have been subjected to these investments since 2006. It has resulted in increased landlessness, displacement of people, violations of human rights and degradation of natural resources, thereby further worsening poverty and hunger among small food producers. 
Land grabbing has undoubtedly placed the food security and sovereignty of the world’s people, primarily the small food producers, in grave peril.  This caused to increase the hunger, starvation and malnutrition among the food producing rural communities  in the world.
To highlight the worsening hunger and malnutrition and the global phenomenon of land grabbing, People's Alliance for Right to Land, Praja Abhilasha Network, and National Fisheries Solidarity Movement of Sri Lanka  proposes to use the occasion of the World Food Day on October 16. And with the commemoration of the International Rural Women's Day, It is also an opportune time to emphasize the plight of rural women and their critical roles and contributions in agricultural production and the communities food security.  
As the FAO leads global commemoration of WFD, it is also an opportunity to highlight the ongoing FAO-led process of developing the “principles of responsible agricultural investment (rai)” which addresses the phenomenon of global land grabbing and promote investments in agriculture that  that contribute to food security and nutrion and to support the progressive realization of the right to adequate food in the context of national food security.
The commemoration of the World Food Day would be a great opportunity for the Sri Lankan food producers to highlight their situations, expose the difficulties they face due to land grabbing, loss of sea beaches, lagoons and many other water bodies, coastal areas natural forests, for tourism and many other so called development projects launched by the government, investors in the name of development. At the end, the small food producers will lose their livelihoods and become further marginalized and extreme poor.  The injustices caused to the poor and vulnerable people do not highlight in the main stream media which are keeping under the cover of development and we expect to expose these with the participation of the food producers, rural communities who are the victims of present neo liberal economic policies.  

The World Foodless Day "Week of Action towaeds Food Sovereignty" aims to 

      1) Create broad public awareness on the global phenomenon of land and sea grabbing and the        impact of these on hunger and poverty in Asia.
2)      Promote and highlight people’s resistance against land grabbing and demand for food sovereignty at the national and international platforms.
3)      Build up and strengthening the existing links of social movements, civil society organizations, trade unions and progressive political groups in our own country/ies in Asia, Pacific and beyond to work common direction of food sovereignty,
4)      Conscientize and mobilize wider possible grass root groups, national, regional and international groups to work on Land, Water, Seeds and Food actions for food sovereignty.
 5)      Resist and stop totally the loss of natural resources, degradation of environment and violation of human rights of the local communities who engage in to protect their rights.
Campaign Strategies
  1. The World Foodless Day Campaign is an open platform and calls for everyone to join. This will be launched actions from grass roots groups up to national, regional and global levels as much as we can.
  • PARL, NAFSO and PA encourages all its local and international partners, especially local community organizations to take part in the campaign.
  • The campaign is open to other organisations that may not necessarily be part of PARL, PA and NAFSO. We encourage CSOs, Trade Unions, Religious groups, political groups, environmental organizations, women's groups, human right groups and many more to use this platform for the same objectives, or more.
  • The campaign is an opportunity for community organisations and other groups working with communities to highlight specific issues and cases surrounding land grabbing, right to water, seeds and right to food, the fight against hunger and the struggle for food sovereignty,
  1. PARL/PA/ NAFSO will provide campaign and advocacy tools, which participatory organizations can modify depending on their needs and capacity. These tools include:
·         An online portal/hub open for all activities by partners and other organisations that wish to participate in the campaign. The portal/hub will contain press releases, feature stories, photos, posters, videos and other materials.
·         Online sign-on petition letter addressed to national governments and the FAO on the need to critically address the issue of land grabbing
  1. PARL/PA/ NAFSO will coordinate sectoral, national level seminars, national level campaign
·         National Seminar on Plantations sector,[Kandy] Fisheries sector,[Negombo and Matara] and  Agriculture sector [Puttlam Kurunegala and Kekirawa]
·         National Level seminar on Land issues of Internally Displaced People, LLRC recommendations and Land issue, Launching the Permanent People's Tribunal report and  Launching the data base on Land Grabbing,
·          National level campaign against the land grabbing issues of H/E coexistence issues, Internally Displaced People's Issues, Development displaced people's issues and Land tenure issues in the plantation sector,
What organizations can do at the local and national level:
At the local/national level, organizations are encouraged to hold various types of activities around the week of action of the WFD (October 9- 16).
 These may include, but not limited to the following:
*      Launch press conferences, TV and radio guestings, or arrange for media features to present case studies, analyses and positions on land grabbing. Maximize online media and social networks.
*      Distribute leaflets, paste posters, conduct community level focus group discussions, build up links among various communities, compile poems, viridu or various types of religious songs to vanquish all sorts of ill actions against people.
*      Hold public fora, people’s assembly, public meetings and hearings and discussions with different sectors and propose actions that may be undertaken to contribute to the campaign.  
*      Conduct activities that highlight rural women’s significant roles in the fight for food sovereignty. Activities may include fora on women, women-led theater performances and other creative forms.
*      Engage artists’ involvement and hold various cultural and creative campaign activities.
*      Hold rallies and public demonstrations at relevant government agencies, local offices or pertinent embassies of foreign corporations involved in land and sea grabs.
*      Dialogue with government officials/ agencies for a review or repeal of laws that intensify land and sea grabbing and the enactment of policies that foster food sovereignty.
*      Publish case studies and other documentation materials on land grabbing.
*      Observe WFD on October 16 (Tuesday) as Global Day of Action through various activities   
*      Resist land and sea grabbing now!
*      End hunger!
*      Women assert our rights to land and resources! 
*      Assert people’s food sovereignty[iv]!
*      Genuine agrarian and aquatic reforms now!
*      Assert the rights of Seeds and Water !
It is important to note that while various activities will take place during the month of October in relation to WFD, partners and other participants are encouraged to declare October 16 as the global day of action.  Below is the suggested timeline of the campaign:
September – Gather political support and plans from various national organizations, regional actions  on the land campaign
September 24th: PA/NAFSO groups planning meeting on Food Sovereignty campaign
September 25th - Launch WFD Blog site [Responsibility : NAFSO Blog Master]
September 26th- Negombo Lagoon Protection Alliance meeting on Destruction of Negombo lagoon through reclamation, Mangrove destruction, and encroachments of Islands of Negombo lagoon,[Sri Vimukthi Fisher Women Organization, Lagoon Fisher people's Organization and Kalapu Mithuro, Meepura news paper collaboration action]
September 26-29 - Ekta Parishad / Ahimsa Land campaign at New Delhi, 2 participants from PARL/NAFSO to attend the same.
September 29- Negombo Solidarity Committee will meet at NAFSO on Negombo development destruction issues,
September 30- 4 October- Ekta Parishad Solidarity March from New Delhi to Glawior, India, One Community member from Internally Displaced People, will attend to this.
October 1 – Online petition  launch on WFD - On line signature campaign (media release on the event) 
October 3- People's regional committee meeting at Galle, Southern Fisheries Organization mediate to educate the membership of the organization, Rathgama Lagoon protection from destruction due to tourism projects will be discussed,
October 4- NAFSO steering committee meeting on planning session of Food Sovereignty Campaign during the World Foodless  Day week of Action,
October-5 Education activities on Plantation sector issues at Colombo, MONLAR organize the work shop,
October 6 -8  Build-up activities leading to WFD (media releases, online petition, etc)
October 9- Grass Roots action on World Foodless Day campaign- Focus Group Discussions, Protests, Marches, Pickets, leaflet distribution, Poster pasting,
October 10- Why Hunger Food Sovereignty  Award for NAFSO at New York, USA.
                        District level advocacy work with district secretariat, divisional secretariats, provincial council levels on peoples issues, submission of petitions, signature campaigns, media discussions, protests continue,
October  11– Fisheries sector seminars at Negombo, Matara and Fisheries and Agriculture sector seminar at Puttlam, Kekirawa, We expect both PAMALAKAYA, Philippines and Pakistan Fisher folk Forum -Pakistan to attend the Fisheries sector forums. A member from Food Sovereignty South Asia Network would be attended to the seminar at Puttlam;
October 12- Conscientization campaigns using street theatre at Moneragala, Wellawaya, Veherayaya, Thanamalwila areas,
October 13- "Towards People's Plantation" - Plantation sector national seminar on Land Tenure issues, Asserting the rights of plantation communities for 37,000 ha of estate lands for  plantation communities, Food Sovereignty Network South Asia representative will attend to this seminar at Kandy.
October 14- Religious activities in Mannar district, Many other churches in the north of SL, Some of the Buddhists temples at Moneragala, Religious activities at Negombo lagoon areas,
Global partners from India, Bolivia, USA which are belong to Joining Hands Against Hunger Program[JHAH] will join with prayer services, illuminating lights at churches and houses in selected communities in Solidarity with Food Sovereignty campaign.
October 15- World Foodless Day National Campaign against Land Grabbing at Colombo.
National level demonstration against land grabbing will be held in Colombo on 15th. What we have planned so far is to have a demonstration with the participation of affected communities (around 500 - 700) in-front of Viharamahadevi Park.  During the demonstration the groups will present their demands and issues using placards, banners, cutouts, street dramas and other exhibits. Objective of the demonstration is to highlight the issue of land grabbing and its impact on food security of the country.
October 16 – WFD with national partners doing various activities as part of the Global Day of Action. One of the main National Activity will be a National Seminar with the participation of selected group of leaders at Colombo.
  Land grab database and some of the other reports will be launched during a conference on 16th, (in SLFI or a similar place) with the participation of media, foreign missions, representatives of UN agencies, civil society representatives and political leaders.
.       A memorandum with our demands will be submitted to all the relevant people during the 16th session. (As agreed during our last PARL meeting, Sandun, Thilak, Herman and Kumar will prepare the memorandum which captures our main demands)
IDP Issues, Launching of Land Grabbing data base, Report launching of Permanent People's Tribunal, Analytical report launching on LLRC report and Land issues at the 16th meeting,
Partners from PAN AP will join the media campaign at Malaysia, Philippines, Sri Lanka and Indonesia against the land grabbing issues in the regions,- Stop Land Grabbing now! campaign
October 27-29th - Media WS on Kalpitiya Land Grabbing issue among selected 15 journalists,
October-November- UPR sessions at Geneva and taking part as CSOs on Land, HR, Rule of Law and Democracy in the country,
November: [dates to be fixed] The victims of Human Elephant coexistence issues group will launch a massive campaign against the proposed forceful evictions from their traditional agriculture lands,
November 08- Southern Fisheries Organization will convene District Seminar of Land, Water and Food Issues with 500 people.
November 21- World Fisheries Day celebrations at Kalpitiya Peninsular protesting against the land grabbing issues at 14 islands at Kalpitiya islands,
 November 30 – Evaluation and feedback of partners (online)

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Steering Committee Meets for Planning

Steering committee of the Week of Action program met on 24th Sep to Discuss local plans and evaluate the progress of the work.