PANNA: Help Mexican Farmers Stand Up to WTO in Cancun


Pesticide Action Network Updates Service (PANUPS)

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Help Mexican Farmers Stand Up to WTO in Cancun
25, 2003

This PANUPS is an emergency appeal for funds to help bring farmers, peasants, and indigenous people to the World Trade Organization (WTO) meeting in Cancun, September 10 to 14, 2003. Agriculture is a major topic at the Cancun session of the WTO, and small food producers all over the world are extremely concerned that WTO agreements will only accelerate the shift to corporate agriculture that is forcing them rapidly from their lands.

The WTO will take up trade agreements at Cancun that facilitate the dumping of subsidized agricultural commodities produced on industrialized, plantation style farms with heavy use of pesticides, plantation labor, and genetically engineered crops. This industrial agriculture model is rapidly destroying local food networks and threatening public health, environmental quality and food sovereignty around the world, especially in the global south.

Small farmer and indigenous networks are mobilizing to attend a parallel International Farmers Forum in Cancun, and are asking their northern supporters for transportation money to bring 10,000 Mexican farmers to Cancun, a coastal city at the southern tip of Mexico.

Please help Mexican farmers stand up to the WTO by donating on the PANNA web site (make sure to type “Cancun” in the Comment section on the donate page to ensure that 100% of your funds go directly to Mexican National Union of Autonomous Regional Farmer Organizations (UNORCA) for organizing around the Cancun events) at: If you live in the USA your donation is tax-deductible.

Pesticide Action Network (PAN) has long been committed to the struggle for genuine food sovereignty now being waged in Cancun and elsewhere, as have most people concerned with sustainable farming and ending the misuse of pesticides. PAN staff from regional centers around the world (including Pesticide Action Network North America PANNA) and many PAN participant groups will be in Cancun. As part of this effort, PANNA is working with Food First/Institute for Food and Development Policy to collect funds and to ensure that Mexican farmers are able to participate in the International Farmers Forum.

If you can’t get to Cancun yourself–or even if you can–helping to bring Mexican farmers there is an important way to ensure your views about agriculture in the WTO and your support for food sovereignty and sustainable agriculture are heard. And thanks for whatever help you can give! A message from our Mexican partners:

Dear Friend of Farmer and Peasant Organizations:


Free trade policies, like those being negotiated in the WTO, are driving family farmers, peasants and indigenous people off the land, around the world, North and South, East and West. As a result, farmers, peasants, the landless, farm workers, women, forest people and indigenous people have come together in the Via Campesina (, and are demanding “WTO Out of Agriculture” and have put forth the alternative of “peoples food sovereignty.”

The Mexican National Union of Autonomous Regional Farmer Organizations, UNORCA ( — one of the Mexican members of Via Campesina – has the responsibility to organize and host an INTERNATIONAL FARMERS’ FORUM and Farmers’ Encampment in Cancun, on behalf of Via Campesina. This Forum is a very important opportunity for farmer organizations worldwide to come together to work on alternatives to free trade policies, and to protest the WTO.

It is critical for all people who are concerned about the undemocratic nature and very negative impact of the WTO and other neo-liberal “free” trade agreements like FTAA and NAFTA on our lives, that as many Mexican peasants delegates as want to protest in Cancun can actually get there (internal travel by bus in Mexico is not cheap, and Cancun is in a remote location, more than 20 hours from the capital). Our minimum aim is to bring 10,000 delegates! It is critical that the INTERNATIONAL FARMERS’ FORUM be a success.

We need your support for the transportation costs of people to the remote Cancun location. Cancun is the most expensive location in Mexico, and UNORCA cannot pull this off without financial support.

If you want to help Mexican rural social movements get to Cancun, please sponsor delegates to the INTERNATIONAL FARMERS’ FORUM, Farmers’ Encampment and WTO protests.

Average estimated costs for each delegate are:
transport US $48 (chartered buses)
food (3 meals) US $10 per day
lodging (encampment) US $12
Support for the Farmer Support Center:
US $25 per day
You will receive a special thank you from the community your support goes to when you sponsor a whole bus for $500 from nearby states

To find out how to DONATE, visit the PANNA website at:
Mark your donation: Cancun

Thank for your support to make ANOTHER WORLD POSSIBLE!

By: The farmers, peasants and indigenous people of UNORCA
Alberto Gómez Flores, National Coordinator, National Union of Autonomous Regional Farmer Organizations (UNORCA), Juan de Dios Arias 48, Vista Alegre, Mexico DF, MEXICO; phone/fax (52 55 5) 740-0486 or (52 55 5) 741-5065; email, Web site

PANUPS is a weekly email news service providing resource guides and reporting on pesticide issues that don’t always get coverage by the mainstream media. It’s produced by Pesticide Action Network North America, a non-profit and non-governmental organization working to advance sustainable alternatives to pesticides worldwide.

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