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People's Caravan 2000--Citizens on the Move for Land and Food Without Poisons!
November 14, 2000
On November 13, 2000, the People's Caravan--"Citizens on the Move for Land and Food Without Poisons!"--began the long march from India to Bangladesh and the Philippines. The Caravan, comprised of thousands of farmers, landless peasants, farmworkers, and pesticide reform and anti-genetic engineering activists, is marching to draw attention to the devastating impacts of globalization on the Asia Pacific region. Events in support of the Caravan are also being held in Indonesia, Korea and Japan.
The campaign is targeting the unethical practices of many transnational corporations (TNCs) as they move to take control of local and regional food supplies and agricultural production systems. As an alternative, the Caravan advocates genuine agrarian reform to achieve food security, social justice and land and food without poisons. Caravan activities will inform farmers and consumers of local initiatives towards a more sustainable, healthy agriculture that embraces local and traditional knowledge and practices.
The People's Caravan will bring farmers from many countries in the region together to discuss and compare the effects of globalization on their lives. Farmers will develop strategies to resist the pressure to shift from traditional farming practices to export-oriented crop production, a system underpinned by increasing landlessness, hazardous pesticide use and introduction of potentially unsafe and inadequately tested genetically engineered crops.
The Caravan will also focus on the November 15-16, 2000, meeting of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Leaders' Meeting in Brunei. Central to the Caravan's concerns is the wide-scale promotion of pesticides by APEC and the United States--with no concern for resulting environmental and human health impacts--as part of an effort to push national agriculture towards export crop production for the world market .
The Caravan starts in India on November 13, moves to Bangladesh on November 19, and arrives in the Philippines on November 26.
In the Philippines, farmers will also participate in a seed exchange with traditional homegrown, indigenous seed varieties. This exchange will celebrate seed diversity and traditional farmers' rights to seed and will challenge corporate trends to monopolize seed systems through hybridization, patents and global takeovers of local and international seed companies. Farmers in the Philippines will be joined by farmer representatives from India, Bangladesh, Japan, Korea, Indonesia and Thailand. On November 30, Caravan activities will commemorate "One Year Since Seattle."
The People's Caravan is organized by Pesticide Action Network Asia and the Pacific (PAN AP); the Tamil Nadu Women's Forum (TNWF) and the Society for Rural Education and Development (SRED), India; UBINIG (Policy Research for Development Alternatives) and the Nayakrishi Andolon (New Agriculture Movement), Bangladesh; the Kilusang Magbubukid sa Pilipinas (KMP) (Peasant Movement of the Philippines); in collaboration with SHISUK, Bangladesh; CIKS and PREPARE, India; Gita Pertiwi, Indonesia; NESSFE, Japan; CACPK, Korea; and Food First/Institute for Food and Development Policy, USA.
For more information, visit the People's Caravan Web site at http://www.poptel.org.uk/panap/caravan.htm.
Source/contact: PAN Asia & the Pacific, P.O. Box 1170, 10850 Penang, Malaysia; phone (60-4) 657-0271/656-0381; fax (604) 657-7445; email email@example.com.
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