The global organic farmers network from the Inter-Continental Network of Organic Farmers Organisation (INOFO) joins hand in hand with all the organic farmers, seed savers, indigenous communities, pastoralist, environmentalists and foresters in celebration of Earth Day and International Seeds Day.
This year’s celebration of these two important event are quite different due to #COVID19 pandemic which rendered most people in the world confined, unable to live the normal life that we all used to live. However, organic farmers, as one of the stewards of our environment, are among those called “essentials” nowadays, and considered front liners as they provide food and nutrition to citizens in the midst of chaos and uncertainty. This health crisis has further proved that the health of the people and the environment are interdependent and we cannot compromise any of the two in the name of profit. We cannot simply go back to the “normal” system of food production as the normal has degraded our soil, poisoned our air and water, contaminated our seeds through genetic modification, corrupted the culture of many groups of people as well as the identity as farmers as stewards.
As an international organization who supports our healthy planet, promotes preservation of seeds as part of our culture and identity and assertion of farmers rights, we call upon all governments, international organizations, public or private institutions, farmers and consumers to:
– Support a food production system that sustains the health of soils, ecosystems and people. We should strengthen local production, consumption and marketing of organically grown food and products to ensure the health and wellness of the citizens and provide income to farmers not only during this time of crisis but as a mainstream alternative sustainable, reliable and earth-friendly food production system.
– For farmers, seed is life. The integrity and sanctity of every seed should be preserved, maintained and protected, it should be sovereign from all types of private ownership and we reiterate that we oppose any technology and seeds that go against the sustainable growth of the planet. It is un-needed, un-safe and un-predictable technology. Contamination from GM crops has proven time and again to distort the free naturally existing biodiversity in many parts of the world and organic farmers continue to face the threat at various levels.
– We assert our rights to preserve, exchange and share seeds amongst us as farmers. Experiences from Green Revolution and GM crops have left organic farmers with no choice to grow their own indigenous varieties. We lose our right to seed, right to grow and right to live by increasing dependence on the external markets increasing the cost of production, indebtedness ultimately leading to suicides.
– We oppose the further destruction of our forest in the name of so-called development. Forests are proven to be the best carbon sinks, purifies our air and water, provides food, protects our watershed and provides habitat for wildlife and people. Our forests host a vast number of creatures that are essential in the balance of our ecosystem, they should be preserved and protected by all means.
– Stop land use conversion to give way to large-scale plantations, mining operations, dams and other environmentally destructive projects that causes soil erosion, loss of biodiversity, contamination of soil and groundwater and loss of livelihoods for many farmers and their families. In many countries around the world, land use conversion causes the encroachment by force of ancestral lands of many indigenous communities forcing them to abandon their roles as stewards of the forest, rivers and mountains.
Even under severe pressure and pandemics, we as Organic Farmers Organisations will continue to stand with the organic farmers who strive hard to provide poison-free, GM-free diverse seeds and organically grown healthy food for today’s and our future generations to come.
* INOFO is a Network of like-minded Organic Farmer organisations, with the task to establish relationships between organic farmers organisation all over the world. These organisations can cooperate in pursuing their common objectives as they relate to food sovereignty in general and, in particular, to public policy and land rights, climatic adaptation, production standards and guarantee systems, marketing and pricing negotiations, participatory research, technical exchanges, education, seed sovereignty and other farmers concern, like strengthen the peasant movement, especially for organic peasants.