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By Nikhil Aziz
May 11th, 2009
Saulo and I traveled with our partner Rafael Alegria of the Via Campesina and COCOCH (Honduran Coordinating Council of Campesino Organizations), about an hour northeast of Honduras' capital Tegucigalpa, near the town of Comayagua, to meet Analina Claros, one of the leaders of the Nueve Noviembre (November 9th) settlement, and her neighbors. This is what she shared with us over a wonderful homecooked stew of chicken and vegetables and freshly made corn tortillas, all grown and raised in their settlement:
My colleague Saulo Araujo and I were recently in Guatemala visiting our partner CONIC (National Coordination of Indigenous Peoples & Campesinos). CONIC's staff took us to visit a local community they have been working with in the village of Cocorval, in the Department of Chimaltenango, over an hour's drive from Guatemala City on a "chicken bus."
By Saulo Araujo and Lilian Autler
April 29th, 2009
Representatives of two of Grassroots International’s Brazilian partners were in the San Francisco Bay Area April 22 - 29 to meet with U.S. allies and help educate the U.S. public about the damaging impacts of agrofuel production in Brazil. Altacir Bunde is an economist and leader of the Popular Peasant Movement (MCP) and coordinator of the Creole Seeds Project in Goiás, Brazil. Altacir has been a leading voice in the movement to protect agro biodiversity and defend against the expansion of large scale single crop plantations in the Central Plateau of Brazil.
Henry Saragih is chairman of the Indonesian Peasant Union (SPI -- Serikat Petani Indonesia), and the General Coordinator of La Via Campesina. La Via Campesina is an organization of organizations, part of a global movement of peasants, family farmers, indigenous and landless people. The interview was conducted (and later edited) by Nic Paget-Clarke for In Motion Magazine on October 18, 2008 during the 5th International Conference of La Via Campesina. The conference was held at the FRELIMO Party School in Matola, Mozambique. Matola, Mozambique
Saulo Araujo, Grassroots International Program Coordinator for Brazil & Mesoamerica, and I traveled to the People's Summit of the Americas with the Hemispheric Social Alliance (HSA). The HSA is composed of networks, social movements and organizations from across the Americas that are primarily opposed to free trade. Its beginnings were in the Belo Horizonte, Brazil People's Summit in 1997 in anticipation of the Santiago, Chile Summit of the Americas.
Two new reports are available from Other Worlds, a multi-media education and organizing collaborative.
Progressive social movements from across the hemisphere met in Trinidad from April 15-18 for the IV People's Summit, a parallel event to the Summit of the Americas.
Led by local trade unions and the Assembly of Caribbean Peoples, the IV People's Summit happened at a critical moment in the Americas.
The promises of economic prosperity through free trade agreements have left many across the Americas without the basic means of decent living. The unemployment rate in the United States is over 8%. Further south, severely affected by the same failed policies, small-scale farmers have been turned into food beggars in larger cities in the Latin American and Caribbean regions, and millions have been forced to migrate in search of economic sustenance.
Last month I was in Istanbul to participate in the People's Water Forum that was being held simultaneously with (and challenging) the World Water Forum. The latter is organized by water corporations through their front, the World Water Council, and with the support of multilateral financial organizations like the World Bank and the World Trade Organization.
A new report from the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) found that genetic engineering has not significantly increased crop yields in relation to other agricultural technologies.
In an April 14th, 2009 press release, Doug Sherman, author of the report and biologist in the UCS Food and Environment Program, commented "The biotech industry has spent billions on research and public relations hype, but genetically engineered food and feed crops haven't enabled American farmers to grow significantly more crops per acre of land ... In comparison, traditional breeding continues to deliver better results."
When it rains, it pours. This week has seen a deluge of global food and trade strategies, all of which may deeply impact food and agriculture policies for Grassroots International, our partners and our allies.