Millions observe October 16 as World Foodless Day

A Global Day of Simultaneous
Actions that resist forces maintaining the Financial and Food
Crises

Today, 16
October, 2008, millions of farmers, agricultural workers, fisherfolks,
pastoralists and herders, indigenous peoples, women, migrants, consumers, youth
and urban poor are in unison in resisting neoliberal policies that created and
maintain the food security crisis and the financial meltdown.

The
financial crisis and food crisis make the basic right to food elusive. They both
share the same recipe deriving from failures of free market fundamentals that
feed on each other.

Daniloramos
“The continued implementation of liberalisation,
deregulation and privatisation policies only support the giant agribusiness
corporations who are definitely going to scramble to accumulate more profits.”
says Danilo Ramos, secretary general of Asian Peasants Coalition (APC).
He adds, “The twofold and intertwined crises in the world’s food and financial
systems are doomed to be a never-ending cycle until free market trade
fundamentals are destroyed, genuine solutions to stabilise food and financial
markets are implemented and people are the basis for steering the
change.”

“Small food producers or peasant farmers have inherent knowledge
and experiences to address the food crisis but we are treated as mere recipients
of policies that do not benefit us.” says Fathima Burnad of Society for Rural
Education and Development (SRED) of India
. She adds, “We commit World
Foodless Day as a day to send a strong message for genuine interventions that
include us in addressing the root causes of the crises.”

“The immediate
effects of the crises which include spiraling food prices gave a crushing blow
to the working class including women, peasants, agricultural workers and
landless farmers. World Food Day is a mockery and is much better named World
Foodless Day.” says Azra Sayeed of Roots for Equity in Pakistan. She
adds, “We observe World Foodless Day to assert our food sovereignty and women’s
participation, to demand control over our natural resources including land,
seed, and water and to reject trade liberalization which has forced millions of
farmers to poverty.”

According to Chennaiah Poguri of Andhra Pradesh
Vyavasaya Vruthidarula Union (APVVU)
in India, “Our strength is made
visible in the number of people who are joining us in the struggle against the
crises. We are expecting 25,000 individuals from Andhra Pradesh alone and we are
estimating about 574,000 people observing World Foodless Day around the country
as we are able to organise with other groups.“

Erpan Faryadi of
Aliansi Gerakan Reforma Agraria (AGRA) of Indonesia
said,“We are mobilising
4,000 people in protest rallies where we will highlight the problems and
agricultural conflicts that are affecting the peasants in Indonesia as well as
call for implementation of a genuine agrarian reform. We resist International
Financial Institutions for creating global issues that trickle down and make us
suffer.

Ramonbultron
“For migrants, the plunder that neoliberal agenda in agriculture
impacts them two-fold – migrant workers come from countries where rural people
are displaced by massive land concentration, extreme feudal exploitation, and
land redevelopment; globalization policies in food production make it difficult
to cope with increasing prices of basic commodities that leave compatriots in
the home countries hungry.” says Hong Kong based Ramon Bultron of Asia
Pacific Mission for Migrants
. He adds, “Now with the current global
financial meltdown, more people will surely go hungry or be forced to eke out a
living by being modern day slaves. We migrants support the grassroots peasants
and advocates for food sovereignty.”

Ninety nine national and
international NGOs and People’s Organisations from 23 countries have called on
the United Nations (UN) Task Force on Global Food Security Crisis and Ban
Ki-moon, UN secretary general and Task Force head, to draw comprehensive
measures to resolve the global food security crisis. In the letter, handed over
to the UN on 14 October 2008 as the FAO Committee on World Food Security met in
Rome to discuss the global food crisis, the organisations expressed their
concerns on the Comprehensive Framework of Action (CFA) that was drawn. The CFA
has prescribed the same policies that created the crisis and are seen to
strengthen power structures, approaches and practices. In the same letter, the
organisations stipulated people’s recommendations in addressing the food crisis
to the UN Task Force. Pesticide Action Network Asia and the Pacific (PAN AP)
continue to enjoin organisations in this signature campaign.

World
Foodless Day is a day of global action on the crises that beleaguer the people.
The objectives are as follows: create public awareness and media attention on
the root causes of the food crisis; provide policy recommendations and organize
meetings with government officials, opinion makers and leaders; organise
activities to raise our voices against neoliberal policies and their impact; and
highlight people’s recommendations to respond to the world food
crisis.

It is organized by (PAN AP) and People’s Coalition on Food
Sovereignty together with 22 NGOs and People’s Organisations from 16 countries.
For more details, please visit www.panap.net/wfd

 
WORLD FOODLESS DAY EVENTS
CALENDAR

In India, four organisations are organising simultaneous
events. Andhra Pradesh Vyavasaya Vruthidarula Union (APVVU) is organising
district wide protest rallies and public meetings in 15 districts. In Tamil
Nadu, Society for Rural Education and Development (SRED) is holding
meetings and campaigns on food crisis. Centre for Community Economics and
Development Consultants Society (CECOEDECON)
is holding a workshop with
government officials, community leaders and farmers’ associations and
Institute for Motivating Self-Employment (IMSE) will be organising a
mobilisation and film showing on the food crisis. They will also release a book
that documents the violations of right to food and the role of multinational
corporations and neoliberal policies.

In Nepal, two organisations
are participating in the observance of World Foodless Day. All Nepal
Peasants’ Federation (ANPFa)
is organising a mass mobilisation and workshop
on Food Crisis; and All Nepal Women Association (ANWA) is holding a
program for women leaders as well as joining protest actions led by Right to
Food Network. In Bangladesh, SHISUK is having a dialogue on the
Issue of Food Security and Agriculture Input Management in Bangladesh, debate
and discussion of Global Food Crisis and art competition.

In
Pakistan, Lok Sanjh Foundation is holding national and zonal
Dehqan assemblies. In Sri Lanka, Vikalpani is organising a
workshop on food crisis and local food exhibit featuring rice products. They are
also organising a meeting with opinion makers and leaders on the improvement of
food policy. In the Philippines, Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas
(KMP)
is holding a dialogue with the Department of Agriculture (DA)
Secretary and the National Food Authority (NFA) Administrator. They will also
organise a rally infront of the DA’s office and picket at the NFA warehouse. In
Malaysia, Tenaganita is holding a forum on biofuel, food
sovereignty and sustainability. In Hongkong, the Asia Pacific Mission
for Migrants
is holding cultural presentations and public forums on World
Foodless Day.

In Cambodia, the Cambodian Center for Study and
Development in Agriculture (CEDAC)
is airing a live radio seminar on rice
crisis. In Vietnam, the Centre for Gender, Family and Environment in
Development (CGFED)
is organising information awareness activities and group
discussions. In Indonesia, World Foodless Day activities will be held in
Solo and Jakarta. In Jakarta, Aliansi Gerakan Reforma Agraria (AGRA) is
organising protest actions on the theme of ’’Stop Land Monopoly and Violence
against the Peasants: Assert Our Rights to Land and Food.’’ In Solo, Gita
Pertiwi
is conducting a seminar, exhibit and national discussion with INFID
and INDIES on the role of International Financial Institution policies on the
food crisis. There will also be a local food competition among women
organisations.

In Mongolia, Center for Human Rights and
Development (CHRD)
is holding an information session and photo contest with
journalists. In Japan, Consumers Union of Japan (CUJ) is
organising a forum. In China, Pesticide Eco-Alternatives Center
(PEAC)
is also holding a forum on the food crisis. In Kenya, the
Kenya Small Scale Farmers Forum (KESSFF) is holding an exhibit on best
practices and strategies to food security and food sovereignty. In
Uganda, Participatory Ecological Land Use Management (Pelum)
Uganda
is holding radio talk shows and information awareness
activities.
###

Contact: Clara Guzman
PAN Asia and the
Pacific
P.O. Box 1170, 10850, Penang, Malaysia
Contact Number: +604 657
0271 or +604 656 0381

 
Pesticide Action Network (PAN) is a
global network working to eliminate the human and environmental harm caused by
pesticides and to promote biodiversity based ecological agriculture. PAN Asia
and the Pacific is committed to the empowerment of people especially women,
agricultural workers, peasants and indigenous farmers. We are dedicated to
protect the safety and health of people, and the environment from pesticide use
and genetic engineering. We believe in a people-centered, pro-women development
through food sovereignty, ecological agriculture and sustainable lifestyles.

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