New from GRAIN | 4 September 2013
Colombia farmers' uprising puts the spotlight on seeds
On 19 August, Colombian farmers' organisations initiated a massive nationwide strike. They blocked roads, dumped milk on cars and basically stopped producing food for the cities.
The problem? They are being driven out of existence by the government's policies, which serve the interests of a wealthy elite minority. Recent free trade agreements (FTAs) with the US and the EU are undercutting Colombian producers, who can't compete with subsidised imports. The Colombian government has been actively promoting land grabbing by large corporations, many of them foreign (Monica Semillas from Brazil, Merhav from Israel, Cargill from the US), to promote export-oriented agribusiness at the expense of family farming oriented towards food sovereignty.
There is no question that Colombian farmers can feed the country very well, in a way that provides jobs, dignity and a healthy environment. But the government is too firmly attached to an economic model that caters to crony interests and holds no place for small-scale family farming. We should all support the popular agrarian struggle in Colombia to turn that model around. It's not too late.
We should all support the popular agrarian struggle in Colombia to turn that model around. It's not too late.