FOOD SOVEREIGNTY AND AGRICULTURE
|Why this Consultation:
The SANFEC holds an annual forum called SAARC Peoples Forum (SPF) with representatives from all the SAARC countries in which some of the most pressing issues of the South Asia region, particularly in the area of ecology and food, are presented to the governmental SAARC Forum for its attention and action.
This year also the SPF is meeting in August in Bangladesh and its main theme will be Food Sovereignty and WTO Agreements impacting Agriculture. Also this year the Fifth Ministerial Conference of the WTO is to be held in Cancun, Mexico from 10 to 14 September 2003, where agriculture-related issues will figure prominently.
In order to discuss these issues, seek views, consensus and support,
South Asia Network for Food Ecology and Culture (SANFEC), Genetic Resources
Action International (GRAIN), Deccan Development Society (DDS), Kalpavriksh
and Housing and Land Rights Network (HLRN) are jointly organising a
series of Consultations in three regions of India: North & East,
West and South as part of a peoples' process leading up to the SPF and
STATEMENT OF PRINCIPLES
1. Food sovereignty and agriculture are beyond international trade agreements like the World Trade Organisation.
2. Our official positions at international trade negotiations should affirm food and farming cultures integral to our country.
3. The role and rights of women as conservers of biodiversity & genetic resources should be guaranteed as part of such an affirmative process.
4. Safeguarding peoples' rights to resources and livelihoods should have precedence over trade interests.
5. A people-oriented approach based on community rights and customary practices should form our alternative legal framework.
6. A trade regime like the World Trade Organisation does not have the legitimacy to deal with non-trade issues like farmers rights.
7. All life resources that are integral to peoples' agriculture, including land & water, are not commodities and hence not tradable and cannot be part of any trade negotiations; control over these should lie with the people.
8. The cultural traditions and customary practices that keep peoples' agriculture alive should not be negated by trade rules.
9. Our peoples' agriculture does not allow for technologies such as genetic engineering which threaten human and ecological health; therefore we outrightly reject any trade rules and regulations that facilitate its entry & application in Indian agriculture.
10. Facilitated access to already existing national, international and private plant genetic resource collections should be unconditionally available to farmers. Such access should ensure transparent and total information from concerned governmental, intergovernmental & private bodies.
11. The CBD principle of sovereign rights of communities and conservation and sustainable use of biological resources should be protected from getting alienated by IPR & trade laws.
12. The legacy of sharing knowledge and resources amongst our peoples
is an indivisible part of their value system and constitutionally guaranteed
sovereignty. Therefore the WTO regime which threatens this sovereignty
should be rejected in toto.