PCFS Statement – To AIIB: Stopbankrolling landgrabs

The Peoples Coalition on Food Sovereignty (PCFS) demands the members of the Asian Infrastructure and Investment Bank (AIIB) to stop funding projects especially of China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) that result to landgrabbing and rural peoples’ displacement. On the occasion of the AIIB’s annual meeting this July 12-13 in Luxembourg, we stand with the rural peoples on their call for greater accountability and transparency, as well as justice for the violations of the people’s rights.

While AIIB asserted that it is a multilateral bank for the longest time, recent pronouncements show that it is ultimately a financing institution of the BRI with over 7,000 China-funded projects that focus on transportation, maritime navigation, energy, and trade spanning more than 60 countries in the Global South.

As a multilateral lender, AIIB has been consistently behind most of the BRI projects – as a co-funder or as a key lender. This will surely accelerate as AIIB President Jin Liqun declared to focus more on the bank’s own portfolio and sees the bank as a “twin engine” with BRI.[i] More than 60 out of the 87 member countries of the AIIB are part of the BRI. As it is, AIIB is currently bankrolling China’s expansionist lending strategy that ultimately impacts the most vulnerable in the Global South – the rural peoples.

Last month in Hong Kong, PCFS together with the Asia Pacific Research Network (APRN) conducted a forum on China’s BRI and its impact on the rural peoples.  Discussions and accounts of the participants from Asia, Africa, and Latin America regions paint a dismal picture of the BRI projects’ impacts to rural peoples and the right to food sovereignty. Numerous cases of rights violations such as displacement, landgrabbing, harassment, corrosion of traditions, and aggravation of fragility in regions have been reported.

A threat to the right to land. Without adequate environmental and social assessment in the regions and countries, AIIB has been co-funding multiple BRI projects that are opaque and inaccessible to the public. As mentioned above, these include megadams, large roads, ports, and energy plants that often result in landgrabbing and displacement. Continue reading

Stop Killing Farmers! Global Day of Action Negros Killings!

Philippines: On March 30, 14 farmers were victims of extrajudicial killings following police and military operations in Negros Oriental. The farmers, who are already suffering through years of neglect, are repeatedly being subjected to these atrocities. We stand alongside the families of the victims, and express our intention to arduously exhaust all platforms for justice and accountability.

To mark the Global Day of Action April 10, members of Roots for Equity, hold up sign calling for an end to peasant killings in the Philippines.

Panelists call for ending role of corporate sector in agriculture

March 30, 2019

PESHAWAR: Speakers at a seminar on Friday demanded an end to the role of international corporate sector in agriculture, opposed the ever-increasing allotment of land to the corporate sector and called for just and equitable distribution of land among small and landless farmers in order to turn Pakistan into a real agricultural country.

The event organised at the Peshawar Press Club to commemorate the International Day of the Landless Farmers was arranged by Pakistan Kissan Mazdoor Tehreek (PKMT), and Roots for Equity in collaboration with Asian Peasant Coalition, Pesticide Action Network, Asia Pacific and International Women’s Alliance.

PKMT national coordinator Altaf Hussain, Asian Peasant Coalition’s general secretary Raja Mueeb, PKMT’s coordinator Peshawar Shehzad Baig and KP coordinator Fayyaz Ahmed were the main speakers.

They said the day highlighted the struggle of the landless farmers for genuine land reforms and food sovereignty.

They said farmers were being evicted from lands that had been tilled for generations by their ancestors. They demanded that development projects across the country, including those for special economic zones as well as land lease to investors, should be scrapped.

On the occasion, Altaf Hussain said from 2000 onwards, transnational corporations worldwide had grabbed more than 50 million hectares of land through over 1,500 agreements.

Similarly, Raja Mueeb said more than 200 deals spanning almost 20 million hectares of land were further being negotiated. Most of the land deals were being carried out in countries like Pakistan that are rich in natural resources, he pointed out.

It was pathetic that only eight per cent of these land deals were exclusively for food production, and 60 percent of these, were for export purposes, he said, adding around 70 per cent of these deals were reserved for agro-fuel production, which was only fulfilling the needs of the rich capitalist countries.

Mr Mueeb said in the past few years, China’s One Belt One Road initiative had further accelerated land grab.

Fayyaz Ahmed pointed out that various development projects for energy and infrastructure under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor project had resulted in land grab across the country.

He pointed out that 1,000 acres of land had been leased in Haripur for a special economic zone, the Northern Bypass Peshawar; 6,500 acres of land was leased for growing high yield seeds to a foreign corporation in Punjab; and 140 acres of land were leased in Khairpur, Sindh for a special economic zone.

He said farmers and fishermen were losing their livelihoods due to these measures.

Shehzad Baig said small and landless farmers were facing exploitation because of unjust distribution of land, corporate agriculture. He said the government was also planning to build a cement factory in Palai area of Malakand, a greenbelt famous for its farmlands and orange orchards.

Published in Dawn, March 30th, 2019


March 29 International Day of the Landless

Press Release

March 29,2019

Pakistan Kissan Mazdoor Tehreek (PKMT) and Roots for Equity in collaboration with Asian Peasant Coalition, Pesticide Action Network, Asia Pacific and International Women’s Alliance commemorated the International Day of the Landless, which was marked by the slogan “We Will Take Back Our Land, Our Future!” Globally, the Day of the Landless highlights the struggle of the landless farmers for genuine land reforms and food sovereignty, where they are being evicted from lands that had been tilled for many generations by their ancestors. It is in this context that the many protests and demonstrations have been planned in Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, India, Mongolia, Cambodia, Malaysia, Thailand, and Indonesia among others Asian countries.

PKMT carried out press conferences at the Peshawar, Multan Press Clubs and a protest rally in Ghotki against the landlessness of farmers, as well as countrywide happenings of land grabs and in the name of foreign investments and development projects.

According to the PKMT National Coordinator Altaf Hussain stated that from 2000 till now, transnational corporations worldwide have land grabbed more than 50 million hectares of land through 1,591 agreements. Further, 200 more negotiations are in ongoing for acquiring 20 million hectares. No doubt, rich capitalist countries along with their imperialist institutions such as the World Bank, the IMF and the WTO have wrought changes in policies which has allowed the massive push in land grab, drowning the farmers in debt and deprivation, all methods which give transnational corporations control over production and markets.

According to the Raja Mujeeb, Secretary General Asian Peasant Coalition, imperialist corporate agriculture is here to plunder our lands, take away our livelihood and poison our lands. No doubt, most of the land deals are being carried out to in countries like Pakistan that are rich in natural resources. It is draconian that only 8% of these land deals are exclusively for food production and 60% of this is for export. Further, most of these land deals, around 70%, are reserved for agro-fuel production – industry bound oil seed production of oil palm, jathropa, corn, wheat, and sugar. This push for agro-fuel is fulfilling the needs of the rich capitalist countries. In the past few years, China’s One Belt One Road (OBOR) initiative has further accelerated land grab, and China is now second to the US, in the number of concluded transnational land acquisitions. In Africa alone, land acquired by Chinese companies range from 240,000 to 6 million hectares.

According to the KPK Provincial Coordinator, Fayyaz Ahmad after leasing an additional 1,000 acres of land in Haripur for a special economic zone, and eviction of farmers from their land for building the Northern Bypass, Peshawar, the next target for investors seems to be Palai in Malakand, a green belt famous for its farmlands and orange orchards. The government of KPK is planning to build a cement factory in the area and has imposed Section 4 for acquiring 400 acres of land. The critical importance of this land for the local communities and its fertility can be gauged by government figures which state that Palai has 171,000 fruit trees which are not only a source of livelihood and food security for the local communities but also critical for the environment; all this happening in a country which is in the frontline of vulnerable countries from climate change impacts. Similarly, for the construction of the Swat Expressway precious agricultural land of local farmers has been acquired for pittance, and on top of that farmers are facing delay in payments for the land.

According to PKMT Sindh Provincial Coordinator Ali Nawaz Jalbani, small and landless farmers were facing exploitation and deprivation because of the unjust distribution of land, corporate agriculture, and the imperialist neoliberal policies inflicted on the command of capitalist countries. At the same time, feudalism is not only forcing misery on the landless farmers but the women face further discrimination based on their gender. They are forced to work under scorching heat for harvesting crops such as wheat and cotton; Hindu are forced to bear not only the oppressive feudal mechanisms but also face further discrimination based on religion. According to Mir Babal, a youth PKMT member from Ghotki, various development projects for energy and infrastructure under the China Pakistan Economic Corridor agreement has resulted in land grab in the area for a number of years.

It was pointed out that in Sanghar, a district where the landless facing acute exploitation with a very high percentage of the population suffering from malnutrition, the government under different guises was taking back land that had been distributed to landless farmers in 2004. The much higher percentage of children suffering from malnutrition in this district was proof of the impact of the industrial agricultural production, which takes its toll on impoverished farmer communities. The Sindh government in many districts of the province for the past many decades has been evicting small farmers. On the other hand, farmers have been forcefully evicted from centuries old villages so that big property dealers and investors, who are well known to have acquired land illegally, are given further opportunities for land grabbing.

PKMT Provincial Coordinator Maqsood Ahmed stated that the government of Punjab after leasing 6,500 acres of land for growing high yielding seeds to foreign corporation in Punjab has recently adopted a policy for leasing state land to national and foreign corporations. The Punjab government has provided state forestland to the corporate sector for planting commercial forests. In South Punjab, proposals by investors for developing commercial forests on 99,077 acres of land have been approved. On the other hand, the same Punjab government in district Rajanpur, South Punjab is bent on displacing small farmers from an area called Rakh Azmat Wala, where the farmers have lived for more than a century.

PKMT demands that development project across the country including those for special economic zones as well as land lease to investors should be stopped. In addition, the role of international corporate sector in agriculture should be eliminated, the ever-increasing allotment of land to the corporate sector should be stopped and instead just and equitable distribution of land to small and landless farmers should be carried out immediately.

Released by Pakistan Kissan Mazdoor Tehreek & Roots for Equity

Peoples’ Voice at UNEA-4

Statement of the Farmers Major Group at the fourth session of the United Nations Environment Assembly

Delivered by Mr. Wali Haider


Thank you chair.

Honorable excellences, distinguished delegates and colleagues:

I am Wali Haider from Roots for Equity, Pakistan and I’m speaking on behalf of the Farmers Major Group.

The dominant paradigm of unsustainable consumption and production continue to devastate and worsen the situation of the environment and the people along with promotion of Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights which force GMOs and commodification of seeds and water. This crisis is further compounded by unabted land grabs by the transnational corporations. This is manifest in the crises in food, climate, environmental degradation, reduced biodiversity, depleted natural resources, and increasing violation of people’s rights and exacerbating inequality.

The industrial model of agricultural production and perverse subsidies in the agricultural sector are destroying the sources of livelihoods of small-scale food producers and their communities, resulting in hunger and forced migration.

To tackle the challenges we are facing in nourishing a growing global population and ensuring food sovereignty require innovations. People-centred and community solutions are innovations and appropriate technologies that protect the environment, promote sustainability, community ownership, social solidarity and mutuality and based on development justice. Innovative solutions that make a difference in people’s lives are often not technological but social innovations, linked with traditional practices and based on indigenous and local knowledge systems. Dimensions of environment, economy and society, the three pillars of sustainable development, are all taken into account in people’s solutions and community innovations towards sustainable consumption and production.

It is proven that in food production, agroecology as a practice based on constant innovation of farmers, a science and a social movement, is known to improve soils, protect health and the environment, improve livelihoods, and increase household income. Agroecology also harnesses traditional and indigenous knowledge systems supported by people’s science and builds community unity. Continue reading

سامراجی تجارتی نظام کے خلاف، کسان مزدور اتحاد

پریس ریلیز

تاریخ: 6  مئی 2018

پاکستان کسان مزدور تحریک کا چھٹا سالانہ صوبائی اجلاس ماتلی، ضلع بدین میں منعقد کیا گیا جس میں صوبے بھر سے چھوٹے اور بے زمین کسان مزدوروں کی بڑی تعداد نے شرکت کی۔ صوبائی اجلاس کے اختتام کے بعد پی کے ایم ٹی اور روٹس فار ایکوٹی کی جانب سے ماتلی پریس کلب کے سامنے ملک میں جاری سامراجی پالیسیوں کے نتیجے میں جاری کارپوریٹ زراعت، زمینی قبضے کے خلاف احتجاجی مظاہرہ بھی کیا گیا۔
پی کے ایم ٹی کے رہنماؤں کا اس موقع پر کہنا تھا کہ ورلڈ ٹریڈ آرگنائزیشن جیسے عالمی سامراجی اداروں اور ممالک کی ایماء پر ملک میں مسلط کردہ زرعی و تجارتی پالیسیوں کے نتیجے میں چھوٹے اور بے زمین کسان مزدور بھوک، غربت، غذائی کمی، بیروزگاری کا شکار ہوکر زراعت چھوڑنے پر مجبور ہورہے ہیں۔ ڈبلیو ٹی او کے ٹرپس جیسے معاہدوں پر عملدرآمد کرتے ہوئے بیج کا ترمیمی قانون اور پلانٹ بریڈرز رائٹس جیسے قوانین کے نفاذ کے ذریعے کسانوں کو ان کے روایتی بیج سے محروم کرکے بین الاقوامی زرعی کمپنیوں کو ان کے استحصال کی کھلی چھوٹ دے دی گئی ہے۔ ملک میں غربت کے خاتمے اور پیداوار میں اضافے کے نام پر غیر پائیدار کیمیائی زراعت کا فروغ کسانوں کو مزید غربت میں دھکیل رہا ہے۔ غیر پائیدار طریقہ زراعت کے تحت زیادہ پیداوار حاصل ہونے کے باوجود کسان خالی ہاتھ رہ جاتا ہے جبکہ سارا منافع بیج اور دیگر مداخل بنانے والی دیوہیکل زرعی کمپنیوں کی جیب میں چلاجاتا ہے۔ ان ہی پالیسوں کے نتیجے میں کسان مقامی منڈی میں اپنی پیداوار فروخت کرنے سے بھی قاصر ہیں۔ دوسری طرف غیر پائیدار کیمیائی طریقہ زراعت ناصرف ماحولیاتی اور غذائی نظام کو زہر آلود کررہا ہے بلکہ عوام میں بڑے پیمانے پر مختلف بیماریوں میں اضافے کا سبب بن رہا ہے۔

پاکستان بھر میں چھوٹے اور بے زمین کسان مزدور جو پہلے ہی جاگیرداری نظام کے ہاتھوں بدترین استحصال کا شکار ہیں اب ملک بھر میں نیولبرل پالیسیوں کے تحت کارپوریٹ فارمنگ، خصوصی اقتصادی زون، شاہراؤں کی تعمیر اور ترقیاتی منصوبوں کے نام پر بیدخل کیے جارہے ہیں۔ خیبر پختونخوا کے علاقے ہری پور حطار، پنجاب میں ضلع راجن پور کے علاقے رکھ عظمت والا میں کئی دہائیوں سے آباد کسانوں کی زمین سے بیدخلی اس زمینی قبضے کی چند واضح مثالیں ہیں۔ ملک سے بھوک غربت اور غذائی کمی کا خاتمہ صرف اور صرف جاگیرداری نظام کا خاتمہ کرکے زمین کی منصفانہ اور مساویانہ تقسیم سے ہی کیا جاسکتا ہے جو کسانوں کو خوراک کی خودمختاری اور غذائی تحفظ کا ضامن ہوسکتا ہے۔

پی کے ایم ٹی مطالبہ کرتی ہے کہ عالمی سامراجی نیولبرل پالیسیوں کا خاتمہ کرکے چھوٹے اور بے زمین کسان مزدور مرد و عورتوں میں زمین منصفانہ اور مساویانہ طور پر تقسیم کی جائے، زرعی شعبے سے بین الاقوامی زرعی کمپنیوں اور ڈبلیو ٹی او کاکردار ختم کیا جائے کیونکہ کسان کی خوراک کی خودمختاری ہی قومی غذائی تحفظ، پائیدار ترقی اور ملک سے بھوک و غربت کے خاتمے کی ضمانت ہوسکتی ہے۔ ملک بھر کے چھوٹے اور بے زمین کسانوں کے لیے لازم ہے کہ وہ پیداواری وسائل خصوصاً زمین پر اپنے حق کے لیے متحد ہوکر جدوجہد کو اپنا لائحہ عمل بنائیں۔
جاری کردہ : پاکستان کسان مزدور تحریک

29 March, Day of the Landless

Press Release

29 March 2018

The Pakistan Kissan Mazdoor Tehreek (PKMT) and Roots for Equity in collaboration with the Asian Peasant Coalition (APC) and the other Asian organizations have marked the Day of Landless under the theme “Peasants of the world: intensify our struggle for Land and Life!”

The Day of the Landless is observed globally to highlight the struggle of farmers for land and other natural resources as they have been forcefully evicted from their land, despite the fact that they have inhabited these lands for generations’. The numbers of countries including Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Mongolia, Cambodia, Malaysia, Philippine, Thailand, and Indonesia have held various events to mark this day.

PKMT has lodged a protest against the pervasive land grabbing and landlessness in Pakistan on the day of landless at the Hyderabad Press Club, Hyderabad, in which the small and landless farmers from different districts of the province have participated. The PKMT Sindh Coordinator, Ali Nawaz Jalbani spoke on this event emphasizing the invaluable contribution of farmers to our communities. He pointed out that small and landless farmers not only provide food to the people through their hard work but are also responsible for export of agricultural products that yields valuable foreign exchange. But even in spite of them feeding the country, they suffer from severe malnutrition, hunger and poverty; no doubt this condition is a result of massive landlessness among farmers. In Pakistan, feudal lords, the elite and rich farmers own 45 percent of agriculture land. This is the critical reason that a country that which has high food product, tragically still comes on top when it comes to infant death statistics.

Allahdino, a PKMT member pointed out that “We the landless farmers are forced off land, evicted from our villages, losing our livelihood, and community forced to work as wage labor in towns and cities under inhuman conditions. With no food grains, every-day hunger is the mode of the day. Contract farming is on the rise, where farmers are being forced to work as part of an assembly line, producing at the behest of agro-chemical corporations who produce not food but profitable items such as sugar cane, livestock fodder, and agro fuels.

According to Sony Bheel, patriarchy is a hard cruel reality. Women, have very few rights, and as agricultural women workers these women face intense structural poverty. They country’s food security in the forms of grains or vegetables, dairy or livestock production is absolutely not possible without rural women’s hard physical labor. However, women a major part of the landless are not even recognized as farmers and face exploitation at the hand of both capitalists and feudal lords. The increasing chemical intensive agriculture is responsible for not only destroying biodiversity but also intoxicating the food chain system which impacts women and girl children immensely. It is because women and girls work the most in cash crop harvesting be it cotton or maize or vegetable picking. Hence the landless, especially women landless suffer the most from multiple forms of exploitations, discriminations and oppressions.

The members of PKMT from Ghotki and Badin, Mohammad Sharif and Mohammad Ramzan said that in Pakistan, farmers are facing oppression and deprivation due to neoliberal policies of capitalist countries, unfair land policies and corporate agriculture. In the name of development and innovation; motorways, Special Economic Zones, energy and other projects are being established, all which are forcing land evictions, depriving farmers of their land and livelihood.

There are many such examples: In Hattar, Haripur, KPK, more than a 1000 acre of land has been allotted for the extension of Special Economic Zone, and in Peshawar the construction of Northern bypass project. In Punjab, 6,500 acres of land is being provided to foreign seed companies. In Rajanpur district, the Government of Punjab is promoting forest cultivation for trade through public private partnership; inevitably farmers are being evicted, others forced into contract farming with corporations. In Khairpur, Sindh, 140 acres of land has been used for Special Economic Zone. These are the clear examples of the oppression present due to land grabs and exploitations faced by the small and landless farmers in the country.

Saleem Kumar, the Tando Mohammad Khan, Coordinator, PKMT stressed the point that instead of distributing land to farmers, the government is promoting foreign investors, allocating land to the corporate sector, steps that further erode the sovereignty, well-being and prosperity of the people of Pakistan.

Pakistan Kissan Mazdoor Tehreek has made food sovereignty its critical most demand with right to land resonating as the loudest call for gaining social and economic justice.

PKMT’s struggle against imperialist globalization and feudalism challenges land grabbing, corporate agriculture and the whole realm of neoliberal policies that are strangulating farmers lives and livelihood; In essence PKMT demands equitable distribution of land among women and men farmers, the most critical base for ending hunger, poverty and malnutrition in the country.

There is no doubt without Land there is NO Life!

Released by: Pakistan Kissan Mazdoor Tehreek (PKMT) & Roots for Equity

Urdu Press Release

land less day PR 29,march 2018 urdu


Dawn, January 26, 2018

CHARSADDA: A tenant woman set herself on fire in protest against police action to evict them from houses and land in Ijara village on Thursday while over a dozen people, including police personnel, were injured in clashes with the peasants and their female family members. The woman, who is said to have received severe burns, was taken to the tehsil headquarters hospital.

According to the district administration officials and local residents, women and children of tenants came out of their houses when the police and FC personnel tried to use force to evict them from the land occupied by them in Ijara village of Tangi tehsil.

During the protest, a woman sprinkled kerosene oil on her body and set herself on fire. She got burn injuries and was rushed to the THQ hospital in critical condition.

Later, sensing gravity of the situation the administration decided to give 20 more days to the tenants to leave the land and houses, which belonged to landlords of the area. The decision was made after a meeting with representatives of tenants.

Moreover, nine tenants, including women and children, were injured when armed men of the landlords stormed their houses to evict them in Hando village.

The district administration claimed that tenants had been removed from 285 kanals in Qandaharo, Mir Ahmed Gul and Hando villages.

Deputy commissioner Mutazir Khan and district police officer Zahoor Afridi while addressing a joint press conference said that the police personnel had taken action to reclaim the land occupied by peasants in the light of Peshawar High Court verdict.

They said that the land had been handed over to the owners. They said that some tenants were also arrested during the action.



Press Release

The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World Report 2017 jointly released by FAO and other intergovernmental agencies have highlighted some shocking information: people suffering from hunger and malnourishment have risen from 777 million in 2015 to 815 million in 2016, of which a vast majority (520 million) live in Asia. Globally, it has also been made evident that conflict and climate change has a vastly negative impact on food security especially for rural communities, and is also a major reason for migration. This is the context of FAO ‘celebrating’ the World Food Day under the theme of “Change the future of migration. Invest in food security and rural development.” In short, millions of people from third world countries are fleeing their homes due to various factors including conflict, hunger, poverty, and a variety of climate change impacts such as floods, droughts, among others. Pakistan, in 2017 continues to be ranked as one of the least peaceful countries: among peaceful countries it ranks 152 of 166 counties.

To mark the ever-rising number of hungry in a country which has surplus wheat rotting in state warehouses, millions of Pakistanis are being displaced by state-sponsored militarism and hence losing land, livelihood, livestock – all that are essential for maintaining food and nutrition. Statistics shout the facts: Pakistan ranks 77 in109 countries for food security indicators; of every tenth person, six suffer from food insecurity; almost 44% children suffer from malnutrition where as 50% of women suffer from anemia.

These diabolical figures are a result of extreme oppression and inequity in the country; the most critical being inequitable land distribution. Forty-five percent of land is held by only 11% of big landlords. Millions of small and landless farmers are forced to produce under the exploitative, oppressive conditions of semi-feudalism, and now mounting hegemony of powerful agro-chemical corporations under the capitalist framework of neoliberalism have been allowed to renew colonization of our lands and resources. The multiple impacts of land and resource hegemony, conflict, climate change and destruction of our agricultural lands by intense use of dangerous chemical fertilizers has left the rural communities and urban poor suffering from the vast indignities of hunger and poverty. The concentration of power by the agri-business giants under the auspicious of World Trade Organisation (WTO) and its trade liberalization agreements, especially TRIPs is one of the major structural causes of rising world hunger.

Kissan Mazdoor Tehreek (PKMT) and Roots for Equity held a press conference and a protest at the Islamabad Press Conference, October 16, 2017 to register their protest against the ongoing heinous human rights violations being inflicted through concentrated wealth and control over resources especially land by the feudal and corporate elite in the country. PKMT leaders Altaf Hussain, Tariq Mehmood Pathani, and Azra Talat Sayeed spoke at the occasion.

PKMT calls out to all peoples organizations to increase the struggle for food sovereignty as the way forward to end the joint crippling impacts of semi-feudal and neoliberal policies being employed to plunder the land and productive resources of our people. PKMT demands a food and agriculture policy based on food sovereignty framework with equitable distribution of land, ensuring women’s farmers right to land. There cannot be just and lasting peace, sustainable development and prosperity without a people-led development agenda.

Released by: Pakistan Kissan Mazdoor Tehreek (PKMT)

Urdu Press Release

Press Release World Foodless Day 2017 urdu

Statement on behalf of Farmers Constituency during UNEP Senior Official Meeting

Agenda Item 8

Wali Haider, Roots for Equity, Pakistan

Thank you Mr. Chairman!

I am Wali Haider from Roots for Equity, Pakistan on behalf of the Farmers Constituency of the Asia Pacific Regional CSOs Engagement Mechanism (APRCEM).

While we appreciate the space for interventions given to CSOs, we also would like to stress that we feel excluded to see no civil society being included in any of the today’s panel and the days to come. We believe that genuine inclusive participation of CSOs is necessary for the spirit of partnership that agenda 2030 puts so much emphasis on. We believe our inputs would be critical to the discussions in these meetings.

We emphasize that we need to look at pollution in a broader sense which includes genetic pollution and pollution from the use of pesticides and fertilizers. The neoliberal era has brought this planet beyond the threshold of ecological limits due to the development model based on over dependence on fossil fuel, extraction of mineral resources and concentration of wealth, power with fewer individuals and TNCs. The commodification of natural resources has also intensified, particularly of seeds by agro-chemical and biotechnology corporations through dispossession of local communities’ right to access and control over their local and indigenous seeds.

New emerging phenomena of land grabbing by investors has exacerbated environmental and livelihood crisis. The land is often used for the expansion of export crops that are dependent on chemical inputs as well as the production of agro-fuels which creates unhealthy competition with food production and severely restricts poor people’s access to land and food.

We would like to suggest that governments ensure strong policies for implementation of agroecology as well as support for small and landless farmers’ movements that are advancing the framework of food sovereignty. These farmers and small food producers are contributing to safe and nutritious food, to healthy soils, water, air and the environment as well as contributing to adaptation to climate change.

We demand for development justice so that the inequities particularly for small producers can be removed from our society. For this re-distributive justice, ecological justice and accountability to the people are most crucial. If we really want a pollution free world we must get rid of the structural barrier and hear the voices of marginalized communities which include small and landless farmers, fisherfolk, indigenous communities among others.