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United Against Land Grabbing on April 17
 
This year’s International Peasant's Day of Struggle - launched by the Via Campesina movement - focuses on land grabbing.

On Sunday the weather in Brussels was miserable, but the Cinquantenaire Park was nevertheless invaded for a huge picnic made entirely with local products. In Tete, in Mozambique, a large public demonstration is being organized right now. In Washington, Professor Eric Holt-Gimenez, director of the Food First organization, is about to open a discussion on the book Food Movements Unite and on the current food crisis. In Ecuador, the wonderful aromas of local typical dishes - such as fish cazuela and corn pies – have filled the Plaza Civica in San Vincente, where the Festival de Sabores y Saberes was celebrated on Sunday.

These are just a few examples of the many events taking place around the world to celebrate the International Peasant’s Day of Struggle called by the international farmers’ movement Via Campesina.
Every year hundreds of initiatives are organized to assert the importance of small scale farming to meet the growing food needs of the planet. The date has been chosen to commemorate a dramatic event: on April 17 1996, 19 farmers of the Sin Tierra movement were killed by the Brazilian police while participating in a peaceful demonstration.

This year the Day focuses on land grabbing: the buying or leasing of agricultural land. The phenomenon is spreading and tramples on the rights of rural populations, stealing their most precious asset: land. Since the beginning of the financial crisis in 2007/2008, more than 50,000 hectares of fertile land have been given away at ludicrous prices by local governments, mainly in Africa, but also in Latin America, Australia, Asia and Eastern Europe. A total surface the size of Spain. Plots are undersold or more often leased to public (governments or sovereign funds) or private investors (corporate companies, banks and pension funds) which hope to obtain quick profits by speculating on the value of the land and of the crops that can be grown.

“Land grabbing has resulted in the concentration of the ownership of land and natural resources in the hands of large-scale investors” states the call published by Via Campesina. “This has led to the eviction and displacement of the local populations - usually farmers -, the violation of human rights and women rights, increased poverty, social fracture and environmental pollution.”

Read the call by Via Campesina

Follow the Day on Facebook or on www.viacampesina.org

Slow Food is promoting a campaign against land grabbing.
To know more, visit www.slowfood.com

 
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