Members of the Food Sovereignty Alliance Participating in the Kisan Maha Panchayat, Parliament Street , Delhi 18th March 2015

Representatives of the different constituencies of the Food Sovereignty Alliance are participating in the Kisan Maha Panchayat, launched by major Indian Farmer Unions affiliated to the All India Coordination Committee of Farmers Movement (AICCFM), protesting against the governments anti-farmers policies:

*  The Land Acquisition Ordinance

*  The Shanta Kumar High Level Committee on restructuring FCI,

*  Policies that are aggressively promoting GM crops,

*  Absence of fair and remunerative prices for farm produce

Demands for

* A  Farm Income Commission

* Removing agriculture from Free Trade Agreements including WTO

Leaders from Adivasi Aikya Vedika, Dalit Mahila Sangham and the Chinnakaru-Sannakaru Rythulu Sangham, addressed the meeting, along with several other speakers. 

Ms Marskola Kamala, Leader from Adivasi Aikya Vedika, Telangana,

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Ms Murugamma, Leader, from the Dalit Mahila Sangham, Andhra Pradesh,

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Mr Krishan Rao, Convenor, Adivasi Aikya Vedika, Andhra Pradesh

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Mr Apparao, Leader from the Chinnakara Sannakara Rythulu Sangham, Andhra Pradesh

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They continued to participate on 19th March 2015.

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Read more about the demands http://bhartiyakisanunion.blogspot.in/2015/03/1000s-of-farmers-decide-to-stay-put-in.html

See the statement of March 22, 2015 :http://bhartiyakisanunion.blogspot.in/

Voicing our Resistance- Women’s Day March 8th

Women of Adivasi Aikya Vedika, Mahabubnagar; Adivasi Aikya Vedika, Warangal; Adivasi Aikya Vedika, Adilabad; Chinna Sannakarrula Rythu Sangham, Warangal; Dalit Mahila Sangham, Medak; Deccani Gorrela Mekala Pempakhadharula Sangham (DGMPS), Medak; Dalit Mahila Sangham, Chittoor; Adivasi Aikya Vedika, Vishakapatnam; Adivasi Aikya Vedika, West Godavari; Adivasi Aikya Vedika, East Godavari; Adivasi Aikya Vedika, Vijayanagaram and Adivasi Aikya Vedika, Srikakulam; Sri Gopi Rythu Sangham, Chittoor celebrated Women’s Day across Telangana and Andhra Pradesh.

Press Release for Women’s Day- March 8th 2015 

On this day of struggle, we the women from the Food Sovereignty Alliance, India denounce the growing violence against women, emerging from the Capitalist Patriarchal Corporate Industrial Agri-business System, that is systematically displacing us from our lands and livelihoods, resulting in growing gender inequality. Over the last decade alone, millions of us women in rural India have been driven out from being landowners to becoming agriculture labour. We women who been the backbone of food-farming systems, the custodians of seeds, breeds, biodiversity and knowledge, have been displaced from our key decision making roles in agriculture and food systems.

We will fight capitalist patriarchal corporate controls by asserting and defending our collective rights to our lands, forests, water, air, indigenous seeds and animals, our diverse food cultures, our knowledge systems and local markets. We commit to shift from commodity monocultures to biodiverse food farming, from fossil-fuel and toxic chemical based production to agro-ecological production, from corporate seeds to our indigenous local seeds, from depending on corporate markets for our food, to feeding ourselves and our communities with the food we produce.

We strongly oppose The Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement (Amendment) Ordinance, 2014, that is set to be tabled in parliament on March 9th. This Ordinance will only serve to further threaten our life and livelihoods, our food sovereignty, and violates our constitutional safeguards.

We strongly oppose the intent of the Central government to introduce genetically modified foods, such as Golden Rice, in the name of addressing nutritional deficiencies amongst Women and Children. We as women assert, that nutritional definciencies can only be addressed by food sovereignty.

We denounce the recent ban on trade and consumption of beef in Maharashtra. This is a source of food and livelihood and the ban violates our right to food and diverse food cultures.

We call upon all men to join us in this fight against patriarchy, capitalism and growing communalism in our society- for a world free of violence against women.

March 8th 2015 Food Sovereignty AllianceFSA 2015 W- Day Declaration

TELANGANA 

Adivasi Aikya Vedika, Mahabubnagar

 Collage1?????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????Top to Bottom : Chenchu women leaders of the Adivasi Aikya Vedika, Mahabubnagar. A meeting of 600 women from 30 villages. Women take out a rally to voice their demands on habitation rights in the Tiger Sanctuary area and called for a ban on the illicit liquor belt shops. 

Chinna Sannakaru Rythu Sangham, Warangal

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                      Over 40 women leaders of Chinna Sannakaru Rythu Sangham from 5 villages at the meeting in Gummadiveli village.

Dalit Mahila Sangham and DGMPS, Telangana

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Women leaders of Dalit Mahila Sangham and Deccani Gorrela Mekkala Pempakadarula Sangham hold a meeting at Badampet. The Sarpanch of Badampet village accepts the demand to allocate 10 % of the total village land as common grazing land and supported the removal of liquor belt shops.

ANDHRA PRADESH 

Adivasi Aikya Vedika, East Godavari

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Over 500 women from 70 villages celebrate women’s day in Rampachodavaram. Koya, Konda Reddy, Kondh, Manya Dora and Konda Kammara adivasi women take out a rally to ITDA and submit their demands for a Special Grievance Cell in ITDA to address violence against women and the complete implementation of Forest Rights Act, 2006.

Adivasi Aikya Vedika, Vishakapatnam

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Over 500 women from 75 villages celebrated women’s day in Paderu. Gadaba, Kondh, Poroja and Kondadora Women rally for their rights and oppose Bauxite Mining.

Adivasi Aikya Vedika, Vijayanagaram

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Gadaba, Jatapu, Savara and Kondadora adivasi women take out a rally in Panchipenta Mandal. Over 500 women from 40 villages demanded for the implementation of PESA,1996 and called for a halt to the distribution of high-yielding seeds. 

Dalit Mahila Sangham, Chittoor

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80 dalit women from 10 villages celebrated women’s day in Rayapedu village.

Women of Sri Gopi Rythu Sangham held a door to door campaign in 2 villages to discuss the upcoming Land Ordinance and held a signature campaign on the demands.

MEDIA COVERAGE

TELANGANA

Adivasi Aikya Vedika, Mahabubnagar

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Adivasi Aikya Vedika- Warangal

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Chinna Sannakaru Rythu Sangham, Warangal

Eenadu Warangal edition 9th March

Dalit Mahila Sangham and DGMPS, Telangana

Medak women's day newspaper

ANDHRA PRADESH 

Adivasi Aikya Vedika, East Godavari

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Adivasi Aikya Vedika, Vishakapatnam

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   Dalit Mahila Sangham, Chittoormurugamma 001

Our demands to the Government of Telangana from the Telangana Food Sovereignty Summit-2015

Our demands to the Government of Telangana  from the Telangana Food Sovereignty Summit-2015

1) Land, Forests and Local Governance 

i) We demand that the government uphold the spirit of Scheduled V of the Indian Constitution and take executive measures to implement the Land Transfer Regulation Act, review all land alienation cases, and immediately restore land to adivasis, that is currently in illegal possession by non-adivasis. Several High-Level Committees such as the Justice Gilani and Koneru Ranga Rao Committees noted that the absence of land and forest rights is a fundamental reason for high hunger and malnutrition in adivasi areas.

ii) We call upon the Telangana government to complete the process of recognition of community and individual forests rights of adivasis and other traditional forest dwelling communities according to The Scheduled Tribe and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006 (FRA, 2006). We demand that the Government direct the Forest Department to stop intimidating adivasis living in areas declared as Sanctuaries and National Parks. Without the completion of recognition of habitat, community, and individual rights and without taking the consent of the Gram sabha as per FRA, 2006, no resettlement or rehabilitation can be initiated. Community Forest Rights have to be accorded exclusively to the Gram Sabha, and not to any other institutions’ (eg Joint Forest Committee).

iii) We demand that the government recognize the self-rule of Adivasis living in Schedule V areas of Telangana. Towards this end, it must amend the current Andhra Pradesh Panchayat Raj (Amendment Act), 1998, and the Andhra Pradesh Extension to Scheduled Areas (PESA) Rules, 2011 which has empowered Mandal Parishads instead of Gram Sabhas. This is not in compliance with the Panchayats (Extension to the Scheduled Areas) Act, 1996 (Act No.40 of 1996) enacted by the Government of India. The Telangana government must take this opportunity to amend the PESA Act to bring it in consonance with the Central Act, so as to empower Gram sabhas for self-rule, as per Adivasi traditions and customs. This is a pre-requisite to achieving food sovereignty.

iv) We demand a halt to all plantations being raised on private land titles, individual titles obtained under FRA, and in forests, which is threatening the local biodiversity of forests and forest foods, resilient adivasi food farming cultures, and food security. Governance of resources (land, forests, water, air, diversity, seeds, knowledge) should be in the hands of the Gram sabha.

v) We demand that the Government of Telangana implement its promise to distribute lands to the landless especially to landless Dalit families.

vi) We call for prompt implementation of GO 421, to compensate farming families where a family member (either woman or man) has committed suicide.

 2) Protecting Common Property Resources including Village Grazing Lands and Village Tanks

 i) Telangana was known for its village common property resources both land (gautan, poromboke, shikam bhumi, charai zameen, community threshing grounds, etc) and water bodies, that traditionally supported a wide spectrum of vital livelihood needs: fodder grasses, fodder and fruit trees, wild uncultivated vegetables and tubers, fuelwood, fibre, medicinal plants, fishing, drinking water for animals, washing clothes, irrigation etc. These commons have virtually disappeared, resulting in huge loss of livestock populations. We condemn all efforts of the government to stop grazing based livestock livelihoods and reject efforts to promote stall-feeding of animals. Diverse local indigenous livestock provide valuable manure and urine, which are a pre-requisite for agro-ecological food farming.

We demand that the government commit to declaring atleast 10% of all village lands as common grazing lands and for other common uses as described above, and stop the diversion of common lands for real estates, urbanization, industries etc. We urge the government to stringently implement the directives of the Supreme Court of India (Case No. 1132 /2011 @ SLP(C) No.3109/2011 to restore encroached commons to the Gram Panchayats.

ii) Whilst welcoming the governments Kakatiya Mission to restore Village tanks, we strongly oppose the outsourcing of the tank restoration to companies and contractors. This completely sidelines the immense wealth of people’s knowledge of tank management and restoration. We demand that the village community through the Gram Panchayat and under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarentee Scheme (MGNREGS) execute the restoration of village tanks. This shall generate livelihood for the community during the summer months, when large numbers of the community migrate to the cities as construction labour.

iii) It is critical that the water of these tanks be used locally by the communities, and not be carried away to feed industries, cities, or the water grid program.

iv) We demand that all the lands surrounding village tanks be conserved with diverse local fodder, fruit trees such as Acacia nilotica (Tumma chettu), which are to be protected for use by shepherds and other livestock rearing communities.

v) We demand a halt to all projects: dams, mines, real estates, SEZs, industries, which displace people from their villages, lands and livelihoods, in violation of constitutional rights and laws that safeguard peoples right to life, forests , environment and biodiversity.

3) Building Seed and Breed Sovereignty:

i) We demand that the government stop supporting MNCs and Companies to produce and distribute hybrid, high yielding and Genetically Modified seeds to farmers. Instead the government must actively support adivasi and farming communities to produce traditional native seeds of local diverse food crops, and procure these seeds from communities for redistribution to other farmers at subsidized rates.

ii) The government must invest in public and extension education to campaign widely on the urgent need of cultivating and conserving / saving the seeds of diverse local agro-ecologically appropriate food crops.

iii) The government must announce positive support for farmers to enable them to return to diverse rainfed agro-ecological food-farming systems. Minimum Support Price (MSP) for these diverse agro-ecologically appropriate food crops should be announced and the produce locally procured and distributed through the Public Distribution System. Following the recommendations of the National Farmers Commission the MSP announced should be 50% more than the actual cost of cultivation.

iv) Farmers need to be guaranteed free access to different traditional and local varieties of seeds that are currently being held in trust in public gene banks maintained by National and International Agriculture Research Institutes in Telangana : eg the Professor Jayashankar Agriculture University and ICRISAT.

v) Attempts to privatize and patent traditional and native seed varieties under the National seed registration program, need to be halted. Native seeds need to continue to be in the public domain.

vi) We demand that the Telangana government deny permission for GM field trials, and call for a moratorium on GM crops (pulses, cereals, vegetables, fruit).

vii) We demand that the government support community programs to revive and restock diverse and locally adapted indigenous animal breeds of Telangana : Indigenous breeds of cattle, Pandharpuri and Nagpuri Buffaloes, Deccani sheep, Osmanabadi goats, indigenous poultry, pigs and donkeys.

viii) It is imperative to declare the Deccani sheep breed as the primary sheep breed of Telangana, and to enable the re-establishment of the Deccani breed, through procurement and distribution of Deccani Breeding Rams from local Deccani sheep breeders of Telangana.

 4) Local Food Markets and Building Food Sovereignty Through the National Food Security Act

i) The Government must operationalise the National Food Security Act (NFSA) and enable the provision of healthy, culturally appropriate food to people. Implementation of the NFSA must be done by supporting local farmers, their diverse food production and local markets for millets, cereals, pulses, oil seeds, vegetables, milk etc., . The NFSA must ensure local decentralized procurement of food cultivated agro-ecologically, and distribute this food locally through the Public Distribution System, through school mid-day meals, anganwadis, and under programs for pregnant and lactating mothers.   This will also enable local vendors to procure vegetables directly from local producers rather than industrial market chains.

ii) We demand State regulation of Corporations marketing Milk and Milk Produce, by announcing a Minimum Procurement Price for Milk, below which private dairy companies and corporations will not be permitted to procure milk from producers. This can be executed through Government Cooperatives such as Vijaya Dairy. Further to prevent any one Corporation or Company achieving monopoly control over the milk markets, the government must announce a minimum sales price, below which no private entity will be allowed to sell Milk.

iii)  The Government must facilitate support to organizing localized non-centralized milk markets, which shall connect local producers to local consumers.

iv) The Government must extend support to community efforts to revive and market the Gongadi , thereby supporting the traditional crafts and livelihoods of wool spinners and weavers of Telangana. v) We urge the Government to support local community managed cottage food processing units, which are environmentally safe, non-polluting and conducive to the local agro-ecological production and will revive local Telangana Food Cultures.

Adivasi, Dalits, Shepherds, Peasants, Fisherfolk, Artisans, Craftspeople, Artists and Performing Artists are directly connected to the Food Farming Systems of Telangana. The aspirations and visions of these communities should be central to the democratic reconstruction of Telangana, and shape its policies and programs. The Government must respect and implement these visions, for a “golden Telangana” , free of suicides and despair.

Food Sovereignty Alliance, India                         February 24th 2015

Adivasi Aikya Vedika ,Telangana

Deccani Gorrela Mekala Pempakhadharula Sangham,Telangana

Dalit Mahila Sangam, Medak, Telangana

Chinna Sannakaru Rythu Sangham, Warangal, Telangana

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Telangana Food Sovereignty Summit – 2015 (February 22-24, 2015)

Matthadiguda cheruvu, Matthadiguda Village, Uthnoor, Adilabad – The site of the Food Sovereignty Summit 2015

DSC_0043 The Summit was hosted by Adivasi Aikya Vedika, Telangana, and organised by the Food Sovereignty Alliance. We began by invoking Bhutalli- Mother Earth, in the Adivasi Gond tradition. DSC_0137DSC_0150DSC_0189

On Day 1 activists from the Alliance and other movements spoke about struggles and actions to assert our rights to resources, livelihoods, food-farming systems and diverse food cultures.

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We deliberated on key forces challenging Food Sovereignty: Corporate Industrial Agriculture Systems and Industrial Food Chains; Global Trade Agreements, Corporate control of Seed, The role of Government.

Session 1 focused on Seed Sovereignty, trends in National policies and legislation that threaten our land, water, biodiversity, food systems and health, the role of Research Institutions in Agriculture, Global Trade and their impact on our agriculture food systems: the project of death vs the project of life

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Session 2 focused on Adivasis, The Resource Loot, and Buen vivir  or “Manchi jeevitam” as a strategy to resist and assert Adivasi world views and way of life:

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The performance of Bhuthalli – (Mother Earth) a Telugu play in Street Theatre Format, captures the relationship of adivasis, dalits, shepherds and peasants with Mother Earth, interrogates the forces that are systematically dispossessing people from their land, livelihoods and resources, and celebrates the diversity of people’s resistance. The play was performed by actors from adivasi, dalit , shepherd and peasant and co-producer communities.

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On Day 2, the Women and Men sat separately to reflect, share questions and ideas based on the deliberations thus far. Strategies for concrete actions that emerged from our unique gender perspectives began taking shape.

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We then regrouped into our constituencies as Adivasis, Dalits, Peasants, Agro-pastoralists and Co-producers to develop Strategies and Actions to take forward the vision of Food Sovereignty in Telangana.

Discussion

These were shared and consolidated as a Call for Action: The Matthadiguda Declaration on Food Sovereignty and Demands to the Telangana Government.

Government officials, political representatives and elected Sarpanches participated on Day 3 and responded to the declaration and the demands.

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Diverse organisations, social movements, lawyers, scientists and students participated in solidarity: Adivasi Vidyarthi Sangham (Students Union)-Telangana, Adivasi Writers Association, Adivasi Hakula Porata Samiti (Tudum Debba); Akhila Bharat Gond Mahasabha; Bharat Jan Andolan; Dalit Bahujan Front; Human Rights Forum; Jharkhand Mining Area Coordination Committee; Karnataka Rajya Raitha Sangha; Rythu Swaraj Vedika; Telangana Jal Sadhana Samiti; Telangana Vidyavantula Vedika.

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We celebrated with songs, dances, music and art!

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In the spirit of family farming …. children

Resisting Corporate Control of Seeds: we exchanged traditional seeds of diverse food crops to build seed sovereignty. Herbal medicines, Gongadis, Honey, books, T-shirts produced by various members of the Alliance were available at the local Summit Santha (local market).

Seeds

As happens at each summit, every meal was contributed by different Members of the Alliance. This was food cultivated through agroecological practices or collected locally by the community.

Aseel poultry, pearl millet, fox tail millet, little millet, dryland rice, pumpkin, gourds, turmeric from the adivasi areas of Andhra Pradesh, dried fish and kodo millet from Vishakapatnam, finger millet flour, foxtail millet, horse gram and organic jaggery from Chittoor,  mutton of the Deccani sheep, rice and vegetables from Medak, pulses from Warangal,  sweets and savories made of sesame seeds, rice and gram flour from Medak, honey and sorghum from Mahabubnagar adivasi areas, sorghum, pulses, rice, vegetables, maize, fish and savories of pulses from Adilabad, organic jaggery from Medak and more…..

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At the end of 3 days, we bid good bye in the traditional Gond way taking with us the strength, resolve and energy from the solidarity and celebration to continue to assert our sovereign right over our food systems!



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The Matthadiguda Declaration for Food Sovereignty in Telangana-2015

The Matthadiguda Declaration for Food Sovereignty in Telangana -2015

Over 600 delegates participated in the Telangana Food Sovereignty Summit organised by the Food Sovereignty Alliance, India and hosted by its member organisation Telangana Adivasi Aikya Vedika, in Matthadiguda village, Adilabad district, Telangana, between February 22 and 24, 2015. Diverse social movements and civil society organisations of Telangana as also Adivasi, Dalit and Farmers movements from Andhra Pradesh, Delhi, Jharkhand, Karnataka and Maharashtra participated and expressed their solidarity with the Matthadiguda Declaration on Food Sovereignty in Telangana:

We the adivasis, dalits, peasants, shepherds and co-producer citizens of Telangana, India assert our collective rights to our land, forests, water, air, indigenous seeds and animals, our diverse food cultures, our knowledge systems and local markets. We shall safeguard our sacred relationship with Mother Earth and protect this abundance of life for future generations. We declare that it is women of our communities who are leading this movement.

Towards the reconstruction of Telangana, we resolve to organise communities to return to this positive movement for Life that includes a commitment to:

  • Struggle for just and equitable land distribution to the landless, particularly dalits, and defend the rights of women to land;
  • Struggle for the collective rights of adivasis to their territories and forests and uphold their powers of local self-rule.
  • Struggle for democratic local governance and rejuvenation of village commons, which includes water bodies and village tanks, common grazing lands, forests, air, biodiversity, seed and knowledge.
  • Struggle against the new Land Acquisition Ordinance, 2014 and all other forces that aim to displace and alienate communities from their land, resources, knowledge and livelihoods.
  • Struggle against Patriarchal Capitalist Corporate Industrial Agri-business Production, which is contributing to growing violence against women in our communities.

We call upon the ruling party and all opposition parties in Telangana to oppose The Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement (Amendment) Ordinance, 2014. This Ordinance stands to destroy the livelihoods of adivasis and all farming communities, threatens our food sovereignty, and violates constitutional safeguards of adivasis and farming communities.

Seed[1] sovereignty is central to rebuilding our diverse local food-farming systems, food cultures and food sovereignty to feed us all. Agro-ecological production of food based on our ancestral knowledge is key to revitalise our indigenous and peasant food webs, heal mother earth, and build our resilience as communities to climate change.

We call upon all farming communities to participate in this movement to:

  • Rebuild our local community seed diversity, through saving seeds and reciprocal sharing and exchange of our diverse local traditional varieties of seeds (cereals, millets, pulses, oil-seeds vegetables and fruit (both cultivated and wild varieties), herbal medicines, and indigenous breeds.
  • Cultivate diverse local foods and rear diverse local indigenous animals (cows, buffaloes, goat, sheep, poultry, pigs, donkeys) agro-ecologically, first for our families and communities, and then to be exchanged through local markets.

We urge our brothers and sisters to resist the industrial agriculture and livestock corporate production system:

  • Reject genetically modified seeds, resource-intensive high yielding and hybrid seeds and breeds; reject commodity monocrop cultivation/production, and all other forms of industrial production technologies (fossil fuel based pesticides, fertilizers, weedicides, and fossil-fuel based agricultural tools) that destroy life, driving us into huge indebtedness and threatening our right to life.
  • Reject seed and breed registration of our community varieties of seeds and breeds in National Gene Banks, as this paves the way for its privatisation and corporate capture.

We alert all citizens to organise against the rapid supermarketisation and corporate take over of our food systems. These markets that offer “cheap food” cover up a reality of massive injustice and hidden subsidies to Multinational Corporations (MNCs). It is food produced off land that was once owned by peasants, who are now displaced by Corporations and large industrial food chains, or procured from producers under hugely exploitative conditions, or imported into the country from Multinationals of the Global North. It is food produced from capturing, monopolising and poisoning our resources (water, air, land, forests, energy, seed) that in turn drive the hunger, climate and energy crises. We urge consumers to become co-producers, by actively supporting the struggles of diverse communities against this capitalist industrial agriculture and food system, and through responsible consumption that supports local agro-ecological peasant production. Towards this end, we extend our solidarity to small vendors of Telangana who sell milk, vegetables and other food produce in their struggle against Corporate Monopoly of Food.

In this effort, we as co-producers of the movement shall organise the urban working class and young people to connect with producer communities to co-create a just system of food production, procurement, distribution and consumption.

We commit to creating spaces for young people’s leadership within our movement, as they are the present and the future of Food Sovereignty.

The Food Sovereignty Alliance commits to create solidarity between different movements to advance this shared vision of Food Sovereignty in Telangana.

Food Sovereignty Alliance, India

Matthadiguda village, Adilabad , Telangana February 24th, 2015

[1] Seed here is used to encompass the diversity of crops, indigenous animal breeds, forest foods, forest produce, medicinal plants,

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