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Small producers will fight to bring healthy food to everyone

Small producers will fight to bring healthy food to everyone

Solidarity across movements and borders is key and we have to build our collective response to this crisis, organizing our communities, mobilizing our organizations to take initiative, give direction and demand that our governments channel resources to those who they need them the most“.

Small-scale food producers stand in solidarity andthey will fight to bring healthy food to everyone.

The COVID19 crisis is rapidly expanding and worsening, highlighting and exacerbating existing inequalities in wealth, health, racism and gender. In many countries it will turn into a deep social and economic crisis in which the most vulnerable will again suffer the most serious consequences: they will not have access to health care, they will lose their jobs and income, their electricity and water will be cut off. because people will no longer be able to pay the bills and there will be many evictions where they will no longer be able to pay the rent. A major food crisis is also looming in many regions, as people will no longer be able to afford to pay for food.

Local markets are being closed and farmers, ranchers, livestock keepers, herders and fishermen are often not allowed to bring their products to consumers, although community-supported agriculture and other direct selling methods appear to be an exception in some regions. As a consequence of severe and sometimes brutal curfew, fishermen may not be allowed to go out to fish and sell their catch, herders to sell their products, and farmers and agricultural workers to perform the essential tasks in their fields to ensure consumer products. In many countries, migrant workers essential for agricultural production cannot move. Food is left to rot in the fields despite the huge increase in demand for healthy local foods.

We condemn the violence that is being committed in certain countries against peasants, migrants and agricultural workers, as well as against the poor and vulnerable. We demand that governments pay more attention in dealing with this crisis and do not impose brutal force on the people.

In many countries, priority is being given to large corporate food companies who are demonstrating that their just-in-time delivery model, based on a poorly paid and precarious workforce, often migrant, cannot guarantee the availability of food in times of crisis.

This crisis is deepening and we will continue to be in full solidarity with those who will be seriously affected if we do not act collectively: indigenous peoples, food and agricultural workers (many of whom are migrants), small-scale food producers, including peasants, fishermen and itinerant herders, migrants, refugees, people living in zones of war and conflict, the rural and urban poor, people without access to public health systems and, in especially those who live without access to clean running water, food and sanitation and without the possibility of avoiding infections.

Solidarity across movements and across borders is key and we have to build our collective response to this crisis, organizing our communities, mobilizing our organizations to take initiative, give direction and demand that our governments channel resources to those who the more they need them. They also have to organize free access to water, food, housing and health services for all, ensure that evictions do not occur, and ensure small-scale food production and distribution to local consumers as a crucial and indispensable activity. which must be given priority to guarantee the right to healthy and nutritious food.

As small-scale food producers and consumers and other social movements and NGOs, we are aware of the importance of stopping the transmission of the virus. In several countries, our organizations are issuing recommendations on how to protect ourselves and prevent transmission. We will find appropriate ways to transfer healthy food through open air markets, direct sales and other channels for consumers, school children, hospitals and care homes. We are creating local solidarity committees to guarantee access to food for the homeless, unemployed workers and the most vulnerable sectors of the population.

The High-Level Panel of Experts on Food Security and Nutrition of the United Nations Committee on World Food Security recently recommended that all governments should “support local communities and citizens to increase local food production (including vegetable gardens). family and community) through appropriate stimulus packages (in cash and in kind) to improve food recovery capacity ”. All governments must also guarantee and support the functioning of local markets and direct sales with the new protection standards for all the people involved, ensuring that the supply of essential food is not interrupted. Governments should also strengthen decentralized and mobile public procurement programs that can secure sales from small-scale producers and make food available to those who need it. Existing public programs for children, for all those who suffer from hunger, must be drastically improved and expanded. New social protection programs must be implemented for the millions of people facing hunger or loss of livelihoods.

Government public support to deal with this crisis must go to the most vulnerable and marginalized in our societies, we must guarantee social security for the most vulnerable groups, including small-scale producers who may face economic difficulties due to this crisis . We demand stable and decent incomes for small food producers, as well as adequate wages and conditions for rural workers and specific protection for seasonal migrant workers and displaced migrants with documentation problems or residents in precarious situations.

We join the demands of unions and other social movements to stop evictions, abandon austerity policies and immediately expand public health and social security budgets to guarantee universal social protection and free access to medical care. We also support the call for immediate debt relief that would allow the reallocation of resources already available in developing countries. Resources should range from interest payments and reimbursements to health, social protection and other immediate measures. We also demand appropriate financial incentives, such as subsidies and tax cuts for smallholders, and we support transformative approaches like agroecology, which have enormous potential to transform food systems.

It is unacceptable that vulnerable sectors are not supported and that small-scale producers go bankrupt and food and agricultural workers (many of them are migrants) are unemployed and therefore have no access to food, while the corporate sector absorbs fundamental public resources. It is unacceptable that this crisis reinforces the industrial food system that destroys the environment and has contributed to the current health crisis, generates poverty and hunger and imposes on us the junk food that causes widespread diseases such as obesity and diabetes, which have made people people even more vulnerable to COVID19. Furthermore, given the scientific evidence, the relationship between recent recurrent epidemics, new outbreaks of epizootics, and current agribusiness and extractivism (either through habitat destruction and / or intensification of livestock operations) is evident. We demand that immediate measures be taken to initiate the transition to agroecological food systems, and that industrial exploitation of animals be abandoned in favor of circular mobile pastoral systems, and extensive livestock production as part of mixed farming systems.
The current crisis cannot be allowed to broaden the corporate neoliberal agenda with bailouts for mega-corporations, the rise of oligopolies, and the destruction of resilient local food systems.

In times of crisis, human rights are more important than ever. There will be no effective response to the pandemic if governments misuse extraordinary measures, augmenting repression and protecting the interests of a few.

This pandemic has revealed and aggravated the brutal conditions of inequality and precariousness that were already leaving millions of vulnerable people without access to the means of survival: as organizations of small-scale food producers, along with the rest of the society, it is It is essential to mobilize, build strong alliances and initiatives, lobby the media and our governments, and advance our action on the ground.

We need to maintain and strengthen local small-scale food production to increase access to healthy food for all and simultaneously strive to improve public health and universal social protection systems.

Food sovereignty of the peoples now!

Source: International Planning Committee for Food Sovereignty (CIP)

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