Sunday, May 24, 2015

Via Campesina Meets Expo Milano To Defend Peoples' Rights

The international peasant’s movement La Via Campesina will take part in People’s Expo in Milan, at the Fabbrica del Vapore, from the 3rd to the 5th of June 2015. The People’s Expo is the international forum of the civil society and farmers’ movements organised to defend the principles of Food Sovereignty and Environmental Justice, to fight against the commodification of the right to food promoted by Expo 2015 and to state aloud, once again, that it is the peasant agriculture that feeds the world, not the multinationals or the agribusiness.
La Via Campesina denounces the Milan Expo as a great "world showcase" that deliberately chose to hide one of the largest ongoing world conflict:  hunger, land and energy grabbing at a global level.

From the 1st of May to the 31st of October 31 2015, Milan is hosting the Universal Exposition with the theme ‘Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life’. Expo 2015 has been described by the organizers as ‘the biggest event ever organized on Food and Nutrition [with intent to] give a concrete answer to a vital need: being able to guarantee healthy, safe and sufficient food for everyone, while respecting the Planet and its equilibrium’.

However, Expo 2015 is sponsored and financed by some of the most important multinationals of food and agriculture, such as McDonald’s and Coca Cola. According to Andrea Ferrantes of La Via Campesina Europe: ‘Expo 2015 is hiding behind a  green-washed façade that doesn’t show us the violent face of the corporate interests which are controlling the whole food chain,  grabbing the land , controlling seeds and patenting life. The narrative of Expo 2015 does not speak of the stories of farmers and peasants starving because they being expulsed from their land, of the indigenous people expulsed from their territories, of the fishermen and fisherwomen who are being denied access to the seas in which they have always fished, of the nomadic pastoralists forced to live a sedentary life or of the consumers forced to eat junk food’.

Expo Milano 2015 is not a neutral event, as some would have liked us to believe. On the contrary, it is an event promoting the industrialisation of agriculture and the financialisation of agricultural markets. Agribusiness concentrates food production and distribution in the hands of the few big companies, regardless of the producers and consumers’ needs.

Expo 2015 goes in the opposite direction from the path on which food producers and citizens march together, claiming their right to food sovereignty through agroecological models of production and consumption.

To propose real alternatives to the agro-industrial model supported by Expo 2015 and to give voice to those who cannot tell their own story in its “showcase”, a delegation of Via Campesina farmers from around the world will be present at the People’s Expo in Milan, along with other international networks and many non-profit Italian associations that defend peoples’ rights.

from here

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