Paraguay, More than 50% of the rural population lives in a situation of misery

Media Convergence of the People’s Summit –  MST

A conflict between landless peoples and police in Paraguay on June 15th was unleashed by a land ownership reintegration operation where thirty landless people died and hundreds were injured. According to Perla Álvarez, member of the National Coordination of Rural and Indigenous Women (Conamuri), “The current government puts on the pretty face of a progressive government, but behind the scenes agribusiness is growing more than ever before”. The following is an interview conducted by the MST website with Perla, who came to Brazil for the People’s Summit:

How was the Paraguayan countryside before agribusiness?

Paraguay has a long history of struggle for land. The agrarian system was characterized, since the colonial period, by large extensions of land concentrated into the hands of just a few people. However, starting with the dictatorship of general Stroessner, this took on new dimensions because this is the moment that the capitalist system started to enter the countryside, giving way to agroexport companies who use peasant labor. We also saw the expansion of the Brazilian agricultural model across the border. This process began around 30 years ago. But with the development of the genetic industry of GMOs, soy monocultures began to spread starting in the ‘90s.

This is how the process of pushing peasants out of the countryside began and there was an extraordinary growth in these large extensions of land, which went from 2 thousand to 5 thousand to 200 thousand, all the way to one million hectares in the hands of just one landowner. Another problem in this sense is that a large part of these large landholdings are in the hands of foreigners or multinational corporations, mostly Brazilian landlords, who expand the cultivation of GMO soy into our territory. In the last ten years land concentration has worsened: we have approximately nine thousand farming families forced off their lands each year. These people migrate to cities, creating poverty belts.

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Taiwan, protesting local farmers get global boost

La Via Campesina Southeast and East Asia Youth Asia Support Taiwan Farmers Against Land Grabbing

TAIPEI. The struggle of small farmers to preserve agricultural land from expropriation and eviction occurs throughout the world, therefore, farmers must unite to build a strong farmers' organization. This is said by Achmad Ya'kub, Youth Coordinator of La Via Campesina Regional Southeast and East Asia, at press conference in Taipei, Taiwan, last May (30/05).

Ya'kub explained that during several days meeting with farmers in Taiwan, he witnessed firsthand how their persistent struggle in defending their land. "I saw how a watermelon farmer work hard in Wanbao area, farmers who are determined to struggle against land conversion for science park and water grab in the area of Zhanghua, Hsinchu, until Meynong. We experience the same thing in Indonesia. Many farmers in Indonesia are struggling to maintain their farm, from large corporations to individual governments. So essentially the struggles of small farmers around the world are the same, " he explained.

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India, Farmer dies during mobilisation against land acquisition

Farmer loses life at BJP office during agitation

Farmer Kartar Singh, a senior citizen, from Bhora kalaan, Muzaffar Nagar, became a martyr during the agitation by farmers of Bhartiya Kisan Union today at BJP office. Police personnel were present in large numbers. Ironically water cannons were already deployed, but not water tanks, so that people may drink water. Kartar Singh lost his life due to non-availability of water in the scorching sun and an untoward scuffle with policemen. More than 50 thousand farmers had assembled at Jantar Mantar road early this morning. The farmers demonstrated their solidarity with their brethren of Annupur district, Madhya Pradesh, who have been jailed for protesting against forcible land acquisition. Hordes of farmers have reached from far and wide places like Haryana, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh. They are demanding immediate release of arrested farmers by the Shhivraj Singh Chauhan led BJP state govt of Madhya Pradesh, and also a fair compensation for their land, after following due procedures of land acquisition.

Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi reached the office and held brief negotiations with Naresh Tikait, however did not give any concrete assurance. The farmers will continue to stay put at the BJP office at Ashoka road.

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India, More than 1000 KRRS farmers arrested in Bangalore

7 June , Bangalore

More than a 1000 Karnataka farmers tried to cease the venue of the Global Investors Meet this morning by blocking the main road and disrupting traffic. The police has arrested about a 1000 while the others are still protesting. KRRS farmers have committed to a jail bharo - they are undertaking mass voluntary arrests.

The Karnataka government is laying a red carpet for investors to come and invest in Karnataka in areas like agriculture, tourism, infrastructure etc. they want to sign atleast 300 MOUs in the two days meet of 7 and 8 June 2012. In agriculture, they want to intensify biotechnology research capacity, set up SEZs for food processing with MNCs like Coca cola, Pepsi and Nestle, intensify contract farming. The Chief Ministers of most other BJP ruled states are present at this meeting.

Farmers are opposing this model of development based on foreign investments, large scale projects that are geared towards exports, profiteering and elite consumerism. Land banks are being set up by the karnataka government for SEZs and alll kinds of incentives like cheap uninterrupted electricity, tax cuts etc are being provided to investors while farmers are being uprooted off their lands, committing suicide and have to beg for drought relief measures, electricity, fair prices for their produce. It is clear that Pepsi and Coca Cola are not interested in feeding people or protecting nature, and neither are they going to solve the serious hunger crises of our country. We need the peasants and people of the land to feed our country. Resources, government incentives and the model of development need to geared towards them.

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