Au delà de la crise alimentaire: La souveraineté alimentaire, repenser l’agriculture (Possibles, Été 2010)

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Bulletin d’information de la coaltion souveraineté alimentaire – Janvier 2010

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Un nouveau regroupement d’association d’agriculteurs au Québec : la CLAAQ

Après la publication du petit livre noir du monopole syndical détenu par l’UPA, plusieurs associations d’agriculteurs se sont regroupées afin de rétablir la démocratie en faveur des agriculteurs. Ils ont fondé la CLAAQ. À l’heure actuelle, seul l’UPA peut voir la liste des agriculteurs, un fait impensable dans une société démocratique. Le livre fût envoyé à l’ensemble des 125 députés et qui est aussi accessible via Internet.  Le nouveau site à deux objectifs : rejoindre les producteurs agricoles et leur permettre de se regrouper et faciliter les dons de la part des agriculteurs et des citoyens qui souhaitent le faire.

Les membres fondateurs de la CLAAQ sont des associations indépendantes d’agriculteurs et d’agricultrices qui couvrent tous les secteurs agricoles allant des petites fermes aux plus grandes exploitations agricoles :

  • Association des Jardiniers Maraîchers : Fondée en 1945, elle regroupe plus de 300 producteurs maraîchers qui représentent 80% de la production maraîchère québécoise.
  • Association des Érablières Transformateurs des Produits de l’Érable : Regroupe plus de 300 érablières qui transforment et mettent en marché leurs produits de l’érable.
  • Avenue Bio de l’Est : Fondé en 1999, le regroupement des producteurs et productrices horticoles biologiques du Bas-Saint-Laurent rassemble environ 15 fermes.
  • Les Céréaliers du Québec : Créé en 2004, il regroupe plus de 200 membres qui produisent des céréales ou des oléagineux.
  • Union paysanne : Fondée en 2001, elle regroupe actuellement plus de 300 agriculteurs dans l’ensemble des productions.
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Deux articles gratuits du Journal of Peasant Studies

À celles et ceux qui s’intéressent aux questions paysannes, mais qui ont un accès limité aux périodiques scientifiques. Deux articles sont disponibles gratuitement pour une période limitée… Attention, c’est en anglais. Voici les résumés avec les liens.

FOOD SOVEREIGNTY’, Guest Edited by Raj Patel
Grassroots Voices Section, Journal of Peasant Studies, Vol. 36, no. 3

Food sovereignty is the sort of thing one knows when one sees. This is a little unsatisfactory. The Grassroots Voices Section of the Journal of Peasant Studies (JPS), Vol. 36, No. 3 guest edited by Raj Patel marks an attempt to put a little more flesh on the concept’s bones, beyond the widely agreed notion that food sovereignty isn’t what we have at the moment. Patel offers an analytical discussion on the etymology of the term ‘food sovereignty’. The Section then reproduces the Nye´ le´ni Declaration on Food Sovereignty, which is followed by Hannah Wittman’s interview with Paul Nicholson, one of the leading thinkers in Via Campesina. In this dialogue, Nicholson explains the philosophy of food sovereignty, strongly emphasising its democratic, procedural character. Food sovereignty is not something that can be forged by one person alone, nor, as Nicholson notes, can it be brought about exclusively by peasants, particularly in contexts where peasants form the political and social minority. This is explored further by Christina Schiavoni’s account both of the Nye´ le´ni Forum and the applications of food sovereignty not in rural Africa, but in urban New York City. Asking activists and workers in a range of community gardens about food sovereignty, she points to the rich potential that food sovereignty has for urban contexts in the Global North. Marcia Ishii-Eiteman adds further nuance and scope to food sovereignty by showing how a group of natural and social scientists who were tasked with tackling the future of global agriculture arrived at conclusions strikingly similar to those articulated by the peasants at the Nye´ le´ni Forum. In recognising the ecological costs of industrial farming and the need for locally flexible policy in order to tackle future food crises, the International Agricultural Assessment of Knowledge, Science, and Technology for Development offers a rich and valuable complement to the political foundations of food sovereignty built by peasant groups. Finally, Rodgers Msachi, Laifolo Dakishoni, and Rachel Bezner Kerr present a concrete case study of moves toward food sovereignty in Malawi. The report of their experiences in developing the Soils, Food, and Healthy Communities project in northern Malawi shows the extent to which food sovereignty is simultaneously about farming technology, democratic policymaking, public health, the environment, and gender, but also how the process of increasing food sovereignty is integral to its achievement. Together, these papers offer practical wisdom and analysis from activists in North America, Europe, and Africa, reminding us of the past contributions to justice and food sovereignty, as well as of the contributions that are yet to come, from the world’s most organic intellectuals.

The full Grassroots Voices on Food Sovereignty, Journal of Peasant
Studies, 36(3) can be downloaded for FREE:

Rethinking Public Policy in Agriculture: Lessons from History, Distant
and Recent by Ha-Joon Chang

This article reviews the histories of agricultural policy in 11 of today’s developed countries between the late-nineteenth and the mid-twentieth century and in 10 developing and transition economies since the mid-twentieth century. After discussing the theoretical limitations of the prevailing orthodoxy, the article discusses the history of a wide range of agricultural policies concerning issues like land, knowledge (e.g., research, extension), credit, physical inputs (e.g., irrigation, transport, fertilizers, seeds), farm income stability (e.g., price stabilisation measures, insurances, trade protection), marketing, and processing. The article ends by discussing the policy lessons that may be learned from these historical experiences.

The full article can be downloaded for FREE for a limited period of time:

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Newsletter : African Agroecological Alternatives to the Green Revolution in Africa #10

IFC Partners with AGRA

16 February, 2009

The International Finance Corporation (IFC) has partnered with the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) in Nairobi to unlock credit and financing for small-scale farmers and agribusinesses across sub-Saharan Africa.

The partnership between IFC and AGRA specifically focuses on developing market-based incentives and tools for agricultural development. Both the organizations will work together in various ways to scale up AGRA’s partnerships with investors and national commercial banks to make loans available to farmers and agribusinesses like seed companies, expand and finance agro-dealer networks, and support ‘fertilizer value chain’ financing, including regional procurement of fertilizer. The partnership will provide credit guarantees to African-based financial institutions in order to leverage significant private sector financing for agriculture. They will also expand AGRAs Agro-dealer Development Program to recruit and train significantly more agro-dealers.

The IFC is the private sector lending arm of the World Bank. Loans from the IFC are public monies used by the Bank to stimulate the private sector. Last year the IFC invested US $1.4 billion in agribusiness projects but only 40% of this went to developing countries.

AGRA’s VP Calls for Increased Investment in Agriculture

12 February, 2009

Speaking at a meeting hosted by UN Commission on Sustainable Development in Windhoek, Namibia , Dr Akinwumi Adesina, AGRA vice-president warned, ‘the next food crisis must not catch the continent by surprise.’

The meeting participants included ministers of agriculture and development from across Africa , international institutions, donors, farmer groups, civil society and development partners. Dr. Adesina called for African governments to increase their investment into agriculture and called for a Green Revolution in Africa. Dr. Adesina noted problems with previous Green Revolutions. The overuse of fertilizers and pesticides created environmental and health related problems. The reliance on monocultures led to losses of genetic biodiversity. Farmers who took out loans for fertilizers and seed face a bad situation: big debts and little income.

2009 Annual Letter from Bill Gates: Introduction

January 2009

Bill Gates presents his first annual newsletter on the Gates Foundation. He shares what the goals of the foundation are, where progress is being made and where it is not.
Melinda Gates will be sharing some of her thoughts in a video format each fall. Neither of these communications will replace the full annual report that we publish each year at


China Marches on in Africa

28 January, 2009

Chinese businessmen are pursuing expansion in African. Beijing and Chinese companies have pledged tens of billions of dollars to Africa in loans and investments mostly to secure raw materials for the world’s fastest-growing large economy.

China-Africa trade has surged by an average 30 percent a year this decade, soaring to nearly $107 billion in 2008.

China’s pursuit for land and resources in Africa is just one of many attempts by corporations around the world to secure land and resources for export-based food and bio-fuels production. This neo-colonization of Africa will have vast implications for Africa’s people and environment.

AFRICA:Climate Change Threatens Food Security

19 January, 2009

According to the Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations, one in three people living in Sub-Saharan Africa were chronically hungry in 2007. The region is also hardest hit by extreme poverty, harboring 75 percent of people worldwide that live on less then a dollar a day.

Since 2007, erratic rainfall has led to increased food shortages in southern Africa where droughts damaged and destroyed maize crops in Lesotho, Namibia, Mozambique, Swaziland, Zimbabwe and South Africa.

Agroecological alternatives help to combat the impacts of climate change by utilizing practices that increase agricultural resiliency, especially through times of climactic variability and uncertainty.

Kenyan Farmers Abandon Fields as Hunger Bites

6 February, 2009

Sheltering under a tree from the scorching midday heat, eyes glued to the clear blue sky, Kiziba Wamwagudu hopes for rain. None has fallen in months.

Crops have withered away in the dry, dusty soil, and food is scarce and costly. Like millions of others in southeast Kenya, Wamwagudu, 68, and his extended family of 18 are slowly being driven into the jaws of hunger.

In mid-January, Kenya’s president declared the food crisis a national disaster and asked international donors for $400 million to help 10 million people facing shortages.

Global climate change is putting significant pressure on farmers around the world, especially in Africa. Agroecological practices can help fight the pressures of drought and even reverse desertification.


Desertification Reversed in Northern Ethiopia

6 February, 2009

Some of the most severe cases of land degradation in semi-desert areas could be reversed with the right practices and policies, researchers in Ethiopia have concluded. A study of a dry region in the north of the country, whose population had increased ten-fold and whose land had become highly degraded, found that local people have nevertheless managed to mend the land through agroecological practices.

Agroecological practices and national policies that support agroecological farming have helped Ethiopian communities tremendously in their struggle to fight the consequences of climate change.

Fighting GMO Contamination Around the World

26 January, 2009

Ever since GMOs were first introduced in the mid-1990s, farmers’ groups and NGOs have warned that they would contaminate other crops. This has happened, just as predicted. This article looks at how communities in different parts of the world that have experienced contamination are developing strategies to fight against it.

When GM crops are planted they contaminate other crops with transgenic material. In places where GM crops are grown on a large scale, it has already become almost impossible to find crops of the same species that are free of GM material. And the contamination spreads even to areas where GM crops are not officially permitted.
Three videos accompany this article which can be viewed here:

Accelerating into Disaster – When Banks Manage the Food Crisis

26 January, 2009

The emergency of today is rooted in decades of neo-liberal policies that dismantled the international institutional architecture for food and agriculture and undermined the capacity of national governments to protect their food producers and consumers. The central cause of the current food crisis is the relentless promotion of the interests of large industrial corporations and the international trade that they control, to the detriment of food production at the local and national levels and the needs and interests of local food producers and communities.

As the vicious food price crisis deepens, transnational companies are moving into southern countries on a huge scale and starting to capture millions of hectares of land in order to bring agricultural production further under their control for industrial agrofuel and food production for the international market. Millions of peasants will be pushed out of food production, adding to the hungry in the rural areas and the slums of the big cities. The few that remain will work under full control of the transnational companies as workers or contract farmers. This is the very model that the World Bank and the AGRA (Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa) initiative are trying to impose with the funds they have designated to resolve the food crisis.

Contrary to the impression that is given by confused officials, a solution to the crisis exists and is easy to implement if there is sufficient political will. Peasant based agriculture, livestock raising and artisanal fisheries can easily provide enough food once these small-
scale food producers can get access to land and aquatic resources and can produce for table local and domestic markets. This model produces far more food per hectare than the corporate model, enables people to produce their own food, and guarantees stable supply.

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Conference Confronting Food Crisis and Climate Change

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Local Food Systems and Public Policy – A Review of the Literature

This paper reviews the state of knowledge about local food systems (LFS). We identify LFS as an effective mean to achieve food sovereignty, defined as the right of people to local food production, healthy and ecological, realized in equitable conditions that respect the right of every partner to decent working conditions and incomes.

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De la sécurité à la souveraineté alimenatire

Les 23 et 24 mars dernier, une centaine de personnes – producteurs agricoles et consommateurs, intervenants en sécurité alimentaire, spécialistes des questions de consommation et de distribution, initiateurs de fiducies foncières agricoles, représentants de fermes communautaires et d’organismes de coopération internationale, agronomes et éducateurs Maliens – ont consacré leur temps de repos habituel de la fin de semaine pour participer à un colloque co-organisé par l’Union paysanne et la Chaire de recherche du Canada en éducation relative à l’environnement de l’UQAM autour du thème «De la sécurité à la souveraineté alimentaire». La tenue de cet événement témoigne de l’intérêt, voire des préoccupations de l’ensemble des secteurs de la société envers les questions très larges de la sécurité et de la souveraineté alimentaires. Elle démontre également la volonté des représentants de tous ces secteurs de réfléchir et de travailler ensemble à la mise en oeuvre de solutions durables. Ce mémoire décrit le contexte dans lequel s’est inscrite la démarche d’organisation du colloque, résume les propos tenus au cours de la table ronde, des ateliers, des conférences et de la plénière. Finalement, il présente des recommandations susceptibles de favoriser un virage vers une plus grande sécurité et souveraineté alimentaire pour tous les Québécois et Québécoises et l’ensemble des citoyens du monde.

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Au-delà de la crise alimentaire: souveraineté alimentaire et politiques publiques

L’année 2008 a été marquée par diverses crises internationales: énergétique, financière et alimentaire. Cette dernière a remis à l’avant-plan les enjeux de production et de politiques agricoles à l’origine de deux grands maux de l’humanité, soit la pauvreté et la faim. Face à cette crise multidimensionnelle (sociale, économique, culturelle et politique), plusieurs organisations d’agriculteurs ont vivement réagi en soulignant l’urgence de mettre de l’avant des politiques agricoles et de développement visant la souveraineté alimentaire. C’est donc face à ce besoin d’amorcer et d’approfondir la réflexion face aux politiques agricoles inhérentes à la souveraineté alimentaire comme alternative aux politiques agricoles des dernières années que le Réseau d’études des dynamiques transnationales et de l’action collective (REDTAC), unité de recherche affiliée au Centre d’études et de recherches internationales de l’Université de Montréal (CÉRIUM), a organisé le forum «Au-delà de la crise alimentaire: souveraineté alimentaire et politiques publiques» à l’aide du soutien financier de l’Association canadienne d’études du développement international (ACÉDI), du Centre de recherches pour le développement international (CRDI) et de la Faculté des arts et des sciences de l’Université de Montréal. L’objectif du colloque est d’amener les participants à réfléchir et déterminer quelles politiques agricoles et alimentaires peuvent s’inscrire dans une approche du développement organisée autour de la souveraineté alimentaire et dans quelle mesure ces politiques peuvent aider à résoudre et à prévenir les crises alimentaires mondiales. Le forum se veut disciplinaire, c’est-à-dire que les panels n’ont pas été divisés en fonction des thématiques qui touchent les intervenants, mais davantage en fonction des champs professionnels dont ils sont issus (agriculteurs et société civile, chercheurs, travailleurs d’ONG et acteurs municipaux et locaux) et ce, dans l’objectif de favoriser les échanges d’idées et d’opinions. C’est avec plaisir que toute l’équipe du REDTAC vous accueille à ce forum.

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La sécrurité alimenatire en Asie et en Afrique

Voici deux présentations powerpoint portant sur la sécurité alimentaire en Asie et en Afrique.

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