Federatie spreekt bij Buitenlandse Zaken over agroecologie

Dit is de bijdrage door de Federatie van agroecologische boeren aan een lezing over agroecologie bij het ministerie van Buitenlandse Zaken. Gesproken door Jolke de Moel op 16 september 2019

Land, nature and people are increasingly recognised as having a soul and intrinsic value. And not just as an ingredient for profit optimalisation.

In agriculture we work with these living and dynamic elements and that is where agro-ecology comes in. Agro-ecology has proven to fruitfully combine social, ecological and economic values and practices.

I am Jolke de Moel, farmer, board member of the national CSA network and of Toekomstboeren, which are founding partners of the federation of agro-ecological farmers in the Netherlands. Toekomstboeren is also part of La Via Campesia, the global peasant movement.

70% of the worlds food is produced by the kind of farmers that we represent, and 1/3 of the working world population works in this kind of farming.

Also in the Netherlands there is a rapidly growing group of often new entrant farmers like myself, who combine age old knowledge and experience with new and innovative ways to run their businesses.

Autonomy, food sovereignty, diversity, solidarity, resilience and productivity are just some of the key words that characterize this movement, where every farmer works to not only make a fair and honest living but also to keep our soils, environments and communities alive by nurturing them instead of poisoning them.

In this agro-ecological farmers around the world share the same goals: good food in a fair world for all.

Actions of the FAO impact farmers all over the world, including the Netherlands.  To take seed as an example.

Seed is the beginning of all life and every farmer needs good seed for good food and business.

Diversity is pivotal here. As we can clearly see in the banana industry for instance, where all banana growers, big and small, depend on only 1 variety of banana, which is now being wiped out by a disease.

The right to use your own seeds, diverse, culturally fitting and locally adapted,  is not only a basic need of small farmers but a vital ingredient for global food security.

  • Because as i said earlier, we still feed most of the world.

Besides this stands for instance the fact that development and innovation mostly happens on the ground, in the daily practice. Therefore the focus on agro-ecology should be on the ground, with the farmers. Not only as a set of techniques but also as a social innovation, of movement building and knowledge sharing to give people the space, tools and support to develop their own answers to their own needs.

Limiting the options of non industrial farmers to do their work, for instance by limiting the right to use our own seeds, severely hinders the germination ground and opportunities for innovation.

And as we see more and more, the current agricultural system needs change and innovation.

We, as growing federation of agro-ecological farmers  would like to remind you that next to agro-industry there is another way of feeding the world.

Agro-ecology in its true form creates biodiversity, living landscapes and living communities.

Agro-ecology can feed the cities. It  provides jobs, diversity, resilience and the kind of world people like to live in.

This is not only about food security but about life. There is no agro-ecology without food sovereignty.



Food sovereignty

asserts that the people who produce, distribute, and consume food should control the mechanisms and policies of food production and distribution,

rather than the corporations and market institutions we believe have come to dominate the global food system.

It also encompasses the right, also mentioned in the Declaration of Human Rights, of peoples to healthy and culturally appropriate food and their right to define their own food and agriculture systems. The phrase “culturally appropriate” signifies that the food that is available and accessible for the population should fit with the cultural background of the people consuming it.