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Draft Paper – Not to be cited without author’s permission

We must demand that surplus producing countries limit their production and manage their supply in order to avoid excess production and subsequent dumping. These countries should orient their public assistance to the development of sustainable peasant production geared for the internal market. Importing countries should have the right to stop imports to protect domestic production and invest in this sector.

"Free" trade with "fair" competition is an illusion. Agricultural markets need strong state intervention. The neo-liberal logic claims that an unsubsidized agricultural market with no border regulation and with no state intervention will make optimal use of the comparative advantages, create more benefits for everyone and thus regulate itself in a fair way. However by their very nature, agricultural markets cannot function in a socially just way without intervention by the State. Ending state intervention by eliminating agriculture policy instruments one by one would perpetuate the destructive restructuring of agriculture. This will displace millions and millions of men and women peasants, leaving them with no way to make a living. Regions and entire countries would be left with no capacity to produce food. Finally, only those who have money to purchase food will be able to eat. This scenario is catastrophic and includes an immense loss in terms of local varieties and food products, peasant knowledge, agricultural biodiversity, etc.

Peasants, rural women and small farmers make up more than half the world’s population. We have the right to a life of dignity. We have the right to produce our own food in our own territory. We have a right to make a living on our land. A food sovereignty policy would make this possible. Sustainable peasant production can guarantee a better standard of living in rural areas, help limit damage to the environment, and it can create the necessary economic dynamics to contribute to development of countries..

Our Korean friend, Mr. Lee died in Cancun while defending food sovereignty. We hope that his death will not be in vain.

The WTO kills men and women peasants! Let us take the path of food sovereignty! WTO out of agriculture!

International Coordinating Committee, Via Campesina

Tegucigalpa, 11th of November, 2003


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