Showing posts with label farmers. Show all posts
Showing posts with label farmers. Show all posts

Nov 12, 2013

Mexico's tomato-farm workers toil in 'circle of poverty'

L.A. Times 
By Tracy Wilkinson
November 11, 2013

Villa Juarez, Mexico - They sure do have tomatoes here in the Mexican state of Sinaloa.

Elongated red ones. Round green ones. Cherry tomatoes, yellow tomatoes, grape tomatoes.

Vast fields of tomatoes, lining the roads out of the Sinaloa capital of Culiacan, miles and miles of mesh tenting shielding the plants from the sun.

Last year, Sinaloa exported 950,000 tons of vegetables, mostly tomatoes and mostly to California and other parts of the United States, worth nearly $1 billion. Half the tomatoes eaten in the United States this time of year are from Sinaloa. The tomato is the symbol on the Sinaloa license plate.

But while a short list of landowners make millions, the planting, weeding, pruning and picking of the vegetables fall to armies of workers from Mexico's poorest states — Oaxaca, Guerrero, Chiapas — who have little opportunity for schooling or other forms of legal employment.  Read more. 

Jan 25, 2013

Refuting Monsanto's lies - UNORCA

National Union of Autonomous Regional Peasant Organizations (UNORCA AC)
Americas Program Original Translation

Olegario Carrillo, the national leader of the National Union of Autonomous Regional Peasant Organizations (UNORCA) initiated the second day of the encampment – a collective fasting in protest of the planting of transgenic corn in Mexico, camped out at the Angel of Independence in Mexico City – by refuting the lies propagated by Monsanto.  The federal government could validate these lies if it approves permits for the commercial planting of more than one million hectares of GM maize in Sinaloa and Tamaulipas, as requested by Monsanto and other transnational seed companies.

1. Transgenic seeds have higher yields than conventional crops. FALSE.
Based on the records of thirteen years of GM crops in the U.S. it can be said that GMO crops have not increased yields. The yields of corn and soybeans (principal GMO crops) increased significantly during the last 15 years but the cause was not the use of transgenic seeds, but conventional breeding and other practices such as agroecology [i].

2. Transgenic seeds require fewer pesticides. FALSE. 
Between 1996 and 2008 we used an additional 144 million kilos of pesticides that would have been used in the absence of GMO crops. This represents an average increase of 356 grams of pesticide per hectare planted with GMO seeds.  The use of herbicide-tolerant GMO crops or RR increased by 31% between 2007 and 2008 due to the rapid expansion of herbicide resistant weeds and superweeds, virtually unknown before [ii].

Apr 26, 2012

Is War on Drugs Bad for Chocolate? Gourmands fight for native Peruvian cocoa : " To cut down on production of the coca plants behind cocaine, the US has pushed an alternative crop to Peruvian farmers: a high-yielding cocoa hybrid. And while CCN-51 has had commercial benefits, there's one problem, chocolate experts say—it just doesn't taste that good. Instead, these connoisseurs say, Peru should focus on producing its delectable native cocoa, which yields smaller crops but sells for higher prices: Some European chocolatiers are willing to spend $4,000 per metric ton of native white cocoa, compared to $2,300 for CCN-51.

"I don't understand why USAID"—the Agency for International Development—"is here, in a country so rich in diversity, where everything is virgin. What need is there to introduce new varieties?" asks a chocolatier who uses Peruvian cocoa. Cocoa from Peru's northwest is considered less acidic than CCN-51, instead tasting "earthy" and "nutty," Reuters reports. But even if fine dining isn't its priority, USAID says it's on board with the push for native cocoa: It's launching a contest to promote the stuff." read more

Feb 20, 2012

Mexico Economy: Native Farmers in Mexico Help Drive Local Eco-Friendly Farming

Inter Press Service- North America: The largely invisible work of small local groups of indigenous farmers in Mexico who are spearheading the defence of their territory and identity and of native seeds is strengthening ecologically sound family farming, experts say.

"For thousands of years, indigenous people have been responsible for developing agricultural biodiversity," Narciso Barrera, a researcher at the public Autonomous University of Tlaxcala in southern Mexico, told IPS. "However, these efforts remain basically invisible, and they should be highlighted and linked with other local movements."
read more

Sep 9, 2011

Viva Mexico: Traditional Maize Can Cope with Climate Change

MEXICO CITY, Sept 8, 2011 (IPS):  "Maize, Mexico's staple food as well as a symbol, has the potential to adapt to climate change and mitigate its effects without any need for genetically modified seeds, according to agricultural scientists.

"Climate change will have different impacts, because corn varieties are adapted to very specific conditions," Carolina Ureta, a researcher at the UNAM Biology Institute, told IPS. "While some varieties will benefit, others will be harmed....We can focus our attention on varieties that grow in adverse conditions, and see what genetic improvement is possible"....

Apr 17, 2008

April 17 is International Day of Peasant's Struggle

60 actions for Via Campesina's International Day of Peasant's Strugglee

International Peasant’s Struggle Day was established after the massacre of 19 landless peasants belonging to the Landless Movement (MST) in Brazil on April 17, 1996 during the second conference of La Via Campesina in Tlaxcala Mexico.

For more information on specific events today, see their site at

This video, also available in Spanish, does a good job of documenting the history of Via Campesina, a truly global organization: