8 de Noviembre de 2010

Por Tatiana Roa Avendaño

Feria de la Semilla. I Festival de Expresiones Rurales y Urbanas. Tatiana Rodríguez Maldonado

“Si cuido mi semilla, si defiendo la semilla, aseguro mi soberanía alimentaria, si nos la quitan perdemos no sólo la semilla sino el conocimiento que es lo que nos garantiza la soberanía alimentaria” – Testimonio de campesino de Santa Cruz de Lorica

El 23 de marzo de 2006, durante la 8° Conferencia de las Partes sobre Diversidad Biológica realizada en Curitiba, las mujeres del movimiento internacional La Vía Campesina, realizaron una protesta silenciosa dentro del imponente centro de convenciones para demandar la prohibición de las semillas «terminator» (1). Con este acto, las mujeres querían expresar el sentir y la resistencia de los pueblos a las denominadas “semillas suicidas”. De comercializarse, Terminator evitaría que los agricultores pudieran reutilizar su semilla a partir de sus cosechas, lo que los forzaría a recurrir al mercado de semillas comerciales. La acción de las mujeres y la presión de miles de campesinos que realizaron marchas diariamente frente al Centro de Convenciones logró mantener la moratoria (2) y detener la avanzada de estas semillas, que amenaza a los pueblos campesinos e indígenas.

La modificación genética de plantas para producir semillas transgénicas ha sido condenada ampliamente por los pueblos alrededor del mundo e incluso por instituciones científicas y académicas y por muchos gobiernos por considerarla una aplicación inmoral de la biotecnología.

Lea el texto completo. semillas_transgénicos_tatiana_septiembre 2010


By Tatiana Roa Avendaño– Friends of the Earth Colombia and Jessica Toloza – Anthropology Student at the Universidad Nacional de Colombia

“A single swallow does not necessarily mean that summer is on its way” Juan Ventes

Note: This article was published previously in Agrocombustibles: Llenando Tanques, Vaciando Territorios (Agro-fuels: Filling Tanks, Emptying Territorios, published by Censat Agua Viva and the Proceso de Comunidades Negras (Process of Black Communities), Bogotá – Colombia, 2008. It was translated from the Spanish by Kolya Abramsky, with assistance from Claudia Roa and Adam Rankin

Despite the fact that it might appear as if the voyage along the length of the South Pacific coast of Colombia came to an end with the latest activities in Tumaco, the journey is not over yet. Through the debates, discussions and denunciations arising from the presentation, as well as the warnings about megaprojects that marginalize and bleed the territories, we have been brought face to face with the vestiges of slavery. Such has been the outcome of this campaign for life and freedom in the context of today’s marginalization. Like migratory birds, we made our way from port to port, listening to tales of a pained world, aware that the confirmation of the story lay in the lives of the protagonists: peasant men and women. These are the downtrodden victims of injustice, yet they are nonetheless alive with happiness. Together, we built a fraternal fire and shared a small artesenal boat in which we ate together as equals and gently sung ourselves into dissonance. Despite our diverse places of origin (Buenaventura, Bogota, Bahía Málaga, Ladrilleros, Cali, Sala Onda, Guapi, Timbiqui and Tumaco) and our different professions, we made the journey together in a familial and fraternal spirit. Combining visions and dreams for a single cause, we reclaimed the word, recounting the outrages and injustices of a capitalism whose discriminatory policies and practices are devastating the African population and banishing them from their own territories. Capitalism which, according to Bolívar Echeverría, “implies the alienation of the human subject, and the erosion of its ability to reproduce itself and generate its own ways of being.”

Read the completed article. Dynamycs of songful resistance

*Tatiana Roa Avendaño

Papayos del Bajo Sinú. Frutos para la vida

Colombia is a country of many contrasting regions and ecosystems. As a result, Colombia is able to grow many different crops, with coffee flourishing on its mountain slopes, sugar cane in its valleys and cotton and sorghum in the warm savannah regions. Potatoes, cereal and wheat are also key agricultural crops.

Read completed article. Colombia agriculture and TRADE

Por: Tatiana Roa Avendaño

Friends of the earth Colombia

The great variety and abundance of food crops cultivated year-round by Colombian farmers are proof of the country’s diversity. This richness of ecosystems is matched by the diverse cultures found in the country, including indigenous, black and mestizo peoples, and varied culinary traditions.  However, despite this wealth of diversity, the imposition of the current economic and development model has led not only to the impoverishment of the population but to the loss of food security and food sovereignty.

A clear example is provided in Bogotá, Colombia’s capital city, where 3 million people out of a total population of 8 million live in poverty, and 25 percent of the city’s children under seven are malnourished. Thousands of families move into Bogotá each year, displaced from their homes by the social and armed conflict that has bled the country for decades.

corporate response

This is why the citizens of Bogotá welcomed Mr. Luis Eduardo Garzón as the new mayor, and were positive about his proposed “Bogotá without Hunger” program, which recognizes the urgency and scale of hunger, exclusion and poverty in the city. He called for the introduction of nutritional supplements and for school and community canteens, food banks and a network of food stores and cooperatives to be established. Responses from universities, companies and the Chamber of Commerce, among others, were enthusiastic. Huge supermarket chains, including transnational corporations like Carrefour, began to donate meals and cash for the program, and several stores “adopted” community canteens around the city and supplied them with food.

However, the program and its vision have generated a lot of criticism from various social and environmental movements. Hunger and poverty are attributed to laziness and lack of education, and the proposed solutions, of distributing corporate profits among the poor, are purely economic. Critics maintain that the project’s approach to hunger is superficial, and that the underlying causes of hunger or ways to create lasting food security are not addressed.

Farmers are also opposed to the program, as it ignores the role of the local producer in dealing with hunger and poverty. All of the food for the program is imported, in order to reduce costs. These “donations” of tons of food by large supermarkets are thus contributing to the further consolidation of their control over national and global food markets. Hundreds of thousands of farmers are involved in supplying food for the people of Colombia, and this commercially-oriented scheme deals them a harsh blow from which they might not recover.

grassroots alternatives

Fortunately, a variety of farmers’ organizations in Colombia are developing important food sovereignty initiatives such as the recovery of traditional seeds and agro-ecological cultivation practices, seed exchanges, diversification of crops, establishment of local markets and the reintroduction of diverse traditional recipes. Friends of the Earth Colombia has long supported these projects, including one carried out by a farmers’ organization in the province of Santander to strengthen food sovereignty in that region.

Read a completed article. Bogotá: city without hunger?