Important meetings and broadcasts on the impacts of the intensification of industrial agriculture around the world.
1.GMO Mini-Summit Broadcasts
2.Breaking the Frame 5: Food, GM and Synthetic Biology
3.American Journalist Speaks at LSE on Agribiz, Food Insecurity in Africa
4.Farmer Unions issue joint statement against World Agricultural Forum in India
EXTRACT: ...as the farmer union leaders spoke out, a corporate representative shouted at... them to stop speaking. This led to a commotion where a hundred farmers shouted slogans and protested against corporate domination. The farmers said, “We were herded to this WAF venue by the Government to show off numbers of farmer participation – do they consider us sheep? There is nothing useful for farmers here, it is only meant for the big companies to sell their products and to change policies in order to drive us farmers out of agriculture.” (item 4)
1. GMO Mini-Summit broadcasts - online resource
The first wave of the GMO Mini-Summit is now complete. Two more pre-recorded second wave interviews are being broadcast each Sunday, on 24 hour replay. The second wave schedule is on the following page, along with some of the highlights from the first wave: http://gmosummit.org/broadcasts/
Highlights include Andrew Kimbrell, a leading public interest attorney and director of the Center for Food Safety, talking about 'Your Right To Know'.
2. Breaking the Frame 5: Food, GM, and Synthetic Biology
It’s hard to be indifferent to the politics of food, and that may be why the anti-GM food campaign was so successful. But despite environmental concerns and accumulating evidence of health risks, the GM corporations continue to push this technology. Their aim is to intensify industrial agriculture and their control over the entire food chain. Now with "synthetic biology", an extreme form of genetic engineering, scientists aim to industrialise life itself. Come and discuss the way forward on these issues.
When: 7pm November 11th 2013
Where: Fairly Square Bar & Cafe, 51 Red Lion St London WC1R 4PF
Jyoti Fernandes, La Via Campesina UK
Laura Pearson, March Against Monsanto London
Helena Paul, Econexus
There will be an exhibition of classic posters on the politics of technology, produced by Christine Halsall of Chimera Publications.
Breaking the Frame programme of events
Technology dominates our world, but many people think "its just a neutral tool" or that technology = progress. Although it does bring some benefits, most technology designed and controlled by corporate, military and technocratic elites to serve their interests and exert their power. Luddites200 is organising a series of monthly events to look at the technology politics of food, energy, work, gender, war, the economy, health etc. There will be speakers from campaigning groups and lots of time for discussion. We are preparing for a 3-day gathering in May 2014 on these issues.
When: 7pm 2nd Monday of the month
Where: Fairly Square cafe, 51 Red lion St London WC1R 4PF
3. American Journalist Speaks at LSE on Agribusiness, Food Insecurity in Africa
According to the blurb, "Award-winning journalist Sharon Schmickle visits LSE—the London School of Economics and Political Studies—on Thursday, Nov. 21, to discuss her Pulitzer Center-supported reporting from Africa on food insecurity and genetically modified crops. Her visit is part of the Media Communication and Development Student and Practitioner Seminars.
Through photos and stories from Africa, Schmickle discusses the politics of agriculture in African countries such as Tanzania. She examines the ideological battles that African countries face with European—and sometimes American—organizations pitted against agribusiness and many agricultural scientists.”
Worryingly, as this Washington Post piece now reproduced by the Guardian makes clear, she’s very much pushing the GM industry claim that opposition in Africa is somehow led from Europe.
Please do attend the talk if you can.
4. Farmer Unions issue joint statement against World Agricultural Forum
Press release, November 5 2013
*Farmers protest against corporate domination
Farmer unions across the spectrum joined hands at the World Agricultural Forum venue and raised a strong united voice against the corporate-led forum and against government partnership in the Congress. They released a joint pamphlet and distributed one thousand copies to the attendees of the Agri-Trade fair at the venue.
The pamphlet titled “Farmers, Universities, Governments, DO NOT BE MISLED! World Agricultural Forum: Nothing but a Corporate Lobby group” was issued jointly by A.P. Congress Kisan Cell, Telugu Rythu, A.P. Rythu Sangham, Bharatiya Kisan Morcha, A.P. Ryotu Sangham, Bharatiya Kisan Sangh, and Rythu Swarajya Vedika.
At the press meet, as the farmer union leaders spoke out, a corporate representative shouted at the leaders asking them to stop speaking. This led to a commotion where a hundred farmers shouted slogans and protested against the corporate domination. The farmers said, “We were herded to this WAF venue by the government to show off numbers of farmer participation – do they consider us sheep? There is nothing useful for farmers here, it is only meant for the big companies to sell their products and to change policies in order to drive us farmers out of agriculture.” (Photographs at link)
Representatives of Rythu Swarajya Vedika pointed out that this Forum is sponsored by companies like Monsanto which is fighting a High Court case against the AP government in order to remove restrictions on seed prices, and it is meaningless that the AP government is jointly organizing this Congress together with the same companies. Several farmer unions had urged that the A.P. government should distance itself from WAF and its corporate-driven agenda, but the government could not withdraw from its position of co-organizer.
Speaking in a united voice, all the farmer unions of Andhra Pradesh urge the government not to associate with such corporate bodies in the future.
The pamphlet exposed the WAF as a body started by some of the biggest agri-business MNCs such as Monsanto, to influence governments and policy-makers across the world. Its aim is to “reshape agriculture” to suit the interests of the big corporations. It is based in St.Louis in the U.S. which also has the Headquarters of Monsanto, and most of its Board members are corporate stalwarts from companies based in that area.
What makes WAF 2013 notable is that for the first time, a government has joined the corporate lobby group as co-organizer of the World Agricultural Forum Congress. Though the Congress is titled “Reshaping agriculture for a Sustainable Future: Focus on Small Farmholders”, it is clear from the agenda that it is dominated by big agri-business MNCs promoting their own “solutions” to the world’s agriculture related problems.
The statements by the A.P. state government such as, "The WAF is the only neutral, inclusive forum that allows for comprehensive discussion and examination of current and developing domestic and global agricultural policy" show that the government has a wrong understanding of what this forum is about. With participation fees set at Rs.11,400 per head, it is clear that farmers are not welcome to participate in the deliberations!
The farmer unions appealed to the farming community, the government, agricultural universities and scientists not to be misled by such Forums promoting policies which harm the small farmholders and the environment and pave way for corporate domination of agriculture, while gaining public legitimacy through involvement of governments and public universities.
Pasya Padma, A.P, Ryotu Sangham. 9866102497
Nallamala Venkateswara Rao, Telugu Rythu. 9399345699
Sridhar Reddy, Bharatiya Kisan Sangh. 9866381090