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Rabu, 28 Januari 2009

Upright the Food Sovereignty, WTO Must Out of Agriculture!

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The General Council of WTO in Geneva, 19-20 October 2005 and the World’s Food Day, 16 October 2005

Leaders, members, and other networking of La Via Campesina gathered in Geneva, Swiss to show the struggle against the World Trade Organization and the neoliberal policy of the government having killed millions of peasants, indigenous people, small producer, and fishers. It also damages the live of millions of rural society, the agrarian resources, and the environment which can not be renewed.

Picture: Rally of various elements, particularly peasants all over the world, against the WTO. On the left side: in front of the WTO’s headquarter, Geneva, Swiss, an don the right side: the future location of the WTO’s Ministerial Meeting takes place, hong Kong.
Many protests and critiques toward the WTO have echoed to all over parts of the world, indicated with peasant movements and various elements of people movements in their own field. The rally in front of the WTO’s headquarter in Geneva on 15 October 2005 showed that the solidarity of the peasants all over the world is still strong. It is also indicated with other actions, particularly the people who will be in Hong Kong for preparing the Ministerial Meeting on the following December (Migrant workers, NGOs, and etc). They are feeling threaten by the negotiation of the WTO’s trade liberalization.

On the Zurich meeting a few weeks ago, the WTO reached its momentum for the negotiation of the trade liberalization with the opening of the USA’s initiative. However, all peasants in the world regard that the negotiation is solely a formality, and does not represent any interest of peasants in the world. This thing keeps sending the WTO into corner as the undemocratic multilateral organization.

The WTO’s policy is believed can not change the peasants’ welfare, even until it has been standing for 10 years. “Even the impacts face by the peasants are the subsidy and the government’s protection which is smaller, while the subsistence Indonesian peasants are needed much support from the government,” stated Henry Saragih, the General Secretary of FSPI and the International Coordinator of La Via Campesina.

“The neoliberal policy is also reflected after the coming of WTO with the food import which is forced and damage the domestic market and the price,” he added. The food import itself is a classical problem in Indonesia after the coming of WTO in 1994 and up to now the Indonesia peasants are suffering because of that, noting that 70 % of Indonesian people live in the rural area and mostly are peasants. According to FSPI, it is the food import which is forced by the WTO, so the giant transnational corporations can take the benefit.

Since the year of 1996, Indonesia has become the primary food product importer, such as rice, wheat, sugar, soybean, and corn. The fact is Indonesia imports almost 50 % of the world rice stock. In the decade of the WTO’s birth (1990-1999), Indonesia had import 1,5 million tons of rice per year, an this phenomenon was last up to the year of 2004. For sugar, the number imported was about 1,5 million tons (the second biggest in the world) or 40 % from the national consumption. Afterwards, Indonesia also imported soybean about 1,3 million tons (the biggest in the world) covering 45 % of the national soybean consumption. While the import volume for corn was amounted less than 1 million tons. Moreover, Indonesia keeps continually importing fruits and vegetables, such as apple, orange, pear, potato, onion, and etc.

“The government seems unintelligence to overcome the peasant problems in Indonesia, as a matter of fact, it has explicitly stated in the Basic Agrarian Law the year of 1960 that we have to uphold the genuine agrarian reform to achieve the fair and the prosperous people,” added Henry.

By establishing the genuine agrarian reform, it is expected to be able to repel the WTO’s neoliberal policy and be functioned as the requirement of the upright food sovereignty. This aspect has to be implemented as the main factor in the agriculture policy. “Food sovereignty is the right of people to produce their own food in sustainable way and in accordance with their own culture and tradition. It is also in accordance with the safety of agrarian resources and our own biodiversity,” he added. According to the peasants all over the world, agriculture is more like a way of life than commodity on sale, like it is arranged on the Agreement on Agriculture (AoA) of WTO.

The great concern on the agriculture sector is reasonable to the commemoration of World’s Food Day, since the world’s commitment to reduce the poverty and malnourish rates in the year of 2015 depends on this sector. According to FAO in the year 1996, there are 800 millions of 5,67 billions of people in the world suffering from malnourish and poverty. However, today according to the speech of Jacques Diouf, the General Director of FAO, more than 850 million people still suffer from malnourish and poverty. This fact shows that the effort of WTO to liberate the trade, particularly agriculture, does not significant enough to abolish malnourish and poverty.

Therefore, - as well as commemorating the World’s Peasant Day on the last 16 October, FSPI as the peasant representative in Indonesia urges the government to uphold the food sovereignty and the WTO to out of agriculture. “This case is also based on a simple logic, since the condition of Indonesian agriculture pre-WTO was far better than now,” added Henry.

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