------- By Badrul Alam, President,
Bangladesh Krishok Federation,
Member of LVC
Honorable Mr. Moderator, distinguished speakers and participants. I would like to extend my heartiest greetings to all of you. And lots of thank to the organizer who invited and gave me the scope to represent the peasantry. As a peasant leader from the country like Bangladesh I feel very proud to be here at MAI in Belgium to speak about the farming crisis world-over and the issue of CAP which is a big concern not only for Europe but also for other parts of the world.
To start off with my presentation I would like to say that peasants who introduced the civilization through agriculture activities still grow basic food for all sections of the people in the world. Agricultural which reflects the art of many civilizations are yet the main source of food. Therefore, food and agriculture is the fundamental human right that should be protected for the peasants as well as for the humanity. It is quite unfortunate that peasants through out the world are neglected and deprived the most. Their rights and privilege are seized by the transnational agribusinesses. TNCs are using the food as commodity and want to keep agriculture under their trade rule.
2. Existence of peasants
Peasants all over the world are disappearing lack of appropriate policy in this regard. Europe is worse victim of this kind. Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) is not the thing to recover the peasants and agriculture rather it is something to globalize the food and agriculture in line with the neo-liberal economic policy as well as in line with the rule of WTO which became the most controversial institution in the world with its undemocratic and illegitimate approaches. Last half an era after the death of Lee King of South Korea WTO has been identified as an assassinator of peasants all over the world. So many peasants in Asian countries are committing suicide due to the impact of WTO rules. More than 2.5 million peasants committed suicide only in India so far.
2.1. Impacts of CAP
Possible impacts of the current CAP if no substantial reform are as follows: Further
-- Decline in number of peasants and family farmers
-- Rise in unemployment
-- Increase in the number of hungry people
-- Contribution to global warming
-- Loss in bio-diversities and genetic resources
--More dumping of food
-- Deterioration of health and education service
2.2. Impact of CAP in Asia
As the Common Agricultural Policy is promoting the neo-liberal policy there will be its impact in Asia in general. In many Asian countries production in agro-sector is getting down due to food dumping from EU to Asia. After the failure of multilateral agreement under the framework of WTO the rich influential countries went for bilateral agreement with different countries that exposed the same effect and concern. EU is also doing the same.
In terms of Bangladesh cow milk production is going down because of the milk powder and condensed milk imported from Denmark. The people working in the local dairy farm and the cow rearing peasants are almost unemployed as they can no more sustain by competing with dumped milk produces. Moreover, Syngenta is merchandizing the crossed seeds, chemical fertilizers and pesticides in Bangladesh which is jeopardizing our own agriculture.
Almost the same experiences prevail in Africa and South America as well.
3. Serious food crisis and the question food sovereignty
In 2007 and 2008 the world experienced a serious food crisis at global level. That crisis is still going on in terms of price spiral of daily essentials. This is mainly because of the fact that the mode of agricultural production has been changed and the food sovereignty has systematically been jeopardized worldwide for last 60 years with the gradual replacement of the so-called modern farming method. In Asia it has been taking place in the name of green revolution.
3.1. Demerits from the systematic destruction of food sovereignty:
--Land grabbing, etc. They are varying in countries.
Currently it has been inevitable to achieve the food sovereignty and to restore the existing food sovereignty in both developing and developed countries.
4. Sweeping agrarian reform
A comprehensive and genuine land reform as well as agrarian reform should be carried out for the protection of future food sovereignty. The access of peasants who have been switched off the agriculture due to different wrong polices, to the productive resources like land and water bodies, should be ensured through a concrete reform in agriculture in the light of food sovereignty strategy. Peasants, categorically the small scale peasants should be the main focus in the whole reform process.
5. Global warming and our peasants
Small scale peasants are environment friendly. They never contaminate the environment or contribute to the global warming. They are rather cooling the planet through their traditional farming practices. The do not emit the greenhouse gas which accounts for the uncertainty of our only livable planet ever in the universe. The rich countries are the major responsible for the carbon emission as well as warming that result in climate change in countries. The countries which are affected due to the adverse impact of the climate change deserve the climate reparation and justice.
At the end, in my view the new CAP in EU should be reviewed thoroughly and be formularized based on the principle of Food Sovereignty. If so, it would be effective for Europe and for developing countries in the south as well.
Thank you, Mr. Moderator, and thanks to all.