Protests rally of Bangladesh Agricultural Farm Labour Federation and National Women Farmers and Workers Association demanding reject free trade and ensure food sovereignty.
UN Declaration on Rights of Peasants and Other People Working in Rural Areas Must be Implemented
Gazipur, September 10, 2019. Bangladesh Agricultural Farm Labour Federation and National Women Farmers’ and Workers Association have organized a rally in Gazipur today demanding ending of free trade and upholding the food sovereignty. These two national organizations of farmers, workers and women farmers organized a rally at Bangladesh Rice Research Institute in Gazipur.
Speakers at the rally point out that Lee Kyung Hae, a South Korean farmer and farmer leader, committed suicide during the Ministerial Meeting of the World Trade Organization in Cancun, Mexico. On September 10 when he did this, he had a banner on his neck that that read 'WTO Kills Farmers'. By his sacrifice he echoed the demands of farmers worldwide and people who are dependent on agriculture, and that demand is 'agriculture should be kept out of the WTO's free trade negotiations'. Lee was a self-reliant rice farmer in the Korean countryside, but he lost all because of the import of cheap rice and meat dumped by the WTO through a free trade agreement. Since then, the International Movement of the Farmers La Via Campesina observed September 10 as the International Struggle Day against the WTO and the Free Trade Agreement, paying tribute to Lee Kyung's sacrifice.
Speakers at the rally demanded the government to implement the UN Declaration on Rights of Peasants and Other People Working in Rural Areas. They said that, since the Bangladesh government has signed this declaration on principle, it is their responsibility to implement this UN declaration.
The organizers pointed out that, farmers, small scale food producers, who live in the villages, ensure food security and the sovereignty of public food. They feed 70% of the world's people. They produce quality food, create mostly rural employment, address the problems related to sustainable use of natural resources and climate change.
Speakers said that until the sixties, a farmer would not have to buy anything from the market except salt and kerosene to light the house. But with the use of excessive pesticides and chemical fertilizers in the name of green beetles, our agriculture, natural fisheries and biodiversity have all reached the gates of destruction. Therefore, we must reject the WTO and the Free Trade Agreement and unite for a farmer-led alternative.
Among others, Md. Mamun Hossain, Nurjahan Begum, Golam Sorowor were among the speakers.