11 May 2003
International farmers movement issues call to action
Via Campesina is an international movement which coordinates peasant organizations of small and middle-scale producers, agricultural workers, rural women, and indigenous communities from Asia, Africa, America, and Europe. [http://ns.rds.org.hn/via/what-is.htm}
Here Via Campesina issues a call to action on the USDA/US State Department's 'Agricultural Ministerial and Expo' June 23-25 in Sacramento which will highlight the "benefits" of transnational agribiz and genetic engineering.
International farmers movement
Movimiento campesino internacional
Mouvement paysan international
secretaria operativa/operative secretariat: Apdo Postal 3628
Tegucigalpa, MDC Honduras, C.A.
9th of May 2003
Call to action
Via Campesina denounces the Sacramento "Ministerial Conference and Expo on Agricultural Science and Technology" and insists that governments do not participate in this event
Ministers of Trade, Agriculture and Environment from 180 nations, including all member states of the World Trade Organization (WTO), are expected to participate on June 22-25 in Sacramento California (United States) in a conference hosted by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), USAID, and the US State Department. This meeting will be a stepping stone to the September WTO Ministerial in Cancun and the Summit of the Americas on FTAA scheduled for Miami in November. The Sacramento Conference will be held at the same time as the "Expo on Agricultural Science and Technology" that will highlight the "benefits" of transnational agribusiness and biotechnology. The two events are not open to the public.
Though the Conference and Expo the US government wants to impose its coporate agricultural agenda on the rest of the world, including new technologies such as genetic engineering. We understand that the US government is trying to usurp the process of the World Food Summit held in June 2002 by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) by claiming that the Sacramento Conference is a "follow up to the Rome Summit."
We also understand that the US government is trying to negotiate with the European Union over a second "Blair House" agreement to be imposed worldwide through WTO (World trade Organisation). The "Blair House Agreement" was a bi-lateral agreement between the US-government and the European Commission of the European Union maintaining support for corporate, export oriented agriculture at the expense of small farmers and peasants, food producers around the world. This agreement was subsequently imposed on virtually all countries who participated in the Uruguay Round, the round of GATT negotiations that led also to the creation of the WTO.
We understand that this Conference will be used by the US government to remove obstacles to US corporate interests on the road to WTO Ministerial Conference and the Summit of the Americas.
Via Campesina calls upon its organisations and other social movements to:
- denounce this event publicly and organise protest,
- question their parliaments and governments and demand that they denounce this Conference and cancel their participation,
- participate in protest actions organised by the US social movements and at the international level.
What can you do?
- write to your agriculture, environmental and trade ministers to make your position known,
- inform local and national media so that they will be aware how contentious this issue is,
- ask Deputees to raise the issue in Parliament
- make your proposals for action known and post them on
More info on www.sacramentoministerial.org