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.

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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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Newspaper coverage of the Food Sovereignty Summit untitled4 untitled 4.1

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