Agriculture

Incumbent presidential candidate Nicolas Maduro prioritised visits to dissatisfied campesino communities over April 28-29 as part of a campaign strategy aimed at shoring up support in rural communities that have traditionally voted overwhelmingly for both ex-president Hugo Chavez and Maduro.

The countryside represents a critical constituency for the government in the upcoming May 20 election.

 

How did Murray Goulburn, once Australia’s biggest milk processor and a successful dairy cooperative since 1950, end up sold to its international competitor, Canadian dairy giant Saputo? In the first of this multi-part series, Elena Garcia provides some answers.

After nearly 70 years as a cooperative that was wholly owned by the farmers who supply the milk, on April 5 Victorian dairy farmers voted to sell Murray Goulburn, once Australia’s biggest dairy processing business, to foreign owners.

Animals Australia released a video on April 8 that showed sheep suffering horribly on board a ship bound for the Middle East. 

The footage apparently even appalled the agriculture minister David Littleproud, who said he was horrified and shocked at what he saw. However, he said the Agriculture Department had investigated the case last year and, according to the minister, gave him a report that was nothing like the reality documented in the video.

The South African parliament has voted for a motion to amend the constitution that will allow the government to expropriate private land without compensation. However, a true resolution of the land question must be in accordance with the needs of those who work and live off the land.

This means the destruction of all existing tribal and feudal relations in the rural areas — and the nationalisation of the land.

Lovers of the Murray and Darling rivers gathered outside Victorian Parliament on March 7 to call on Premier Daniel Andrews and Water Minister Lisa Neville to save the Murray-Darling Basin Authority’s Basin Plan.

A sea of red swept the Indian state of Maharastra as tens of thousands of farmers joined the Long March to demand agrarian reform, with protesters reaching Mumbai, India’s financial capital. In response, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government has agreed to resolve the farmers' issues within six months.

Venezuelan workers’ organisations have denounced illegal arrests, firings and persecution in the Lacteos Los Andes state-run dairy company and private Venevision TV station. Meanwhile, campesino (peasant) leaders in Barinas state were freed and authorised to return to their land after persecution by an ex-land owner.

Members of the Oakey Coal Action Alliance (OCAA) gathered in Acland on February 14 for the Queensland environment department’s decision on the environmental authority for New Hope Coal’s proposed Acland Stage 3 project. 

Expecting the worst — that the department would reject the recommendation of the Land Court — local farmers and community members were overjoyed at the decision by Queensland’s Environment and Science Department to reject New Acland’s environmental authority amendment for the Stage 3 coalmine expansion. 

The Murray-Darling Basin Declaration was signed on February 5 by 12 eminent scientists and economists — Quentin Grafton, Darla Hatton MacDonald, David Paton, Graham Harris, Henning Bjornlund, Jeffery D Connor, John Quiggin, John Williams, Lin Crase, Richard Kingsford, Sarah Ann Wheeler and Richard Davis — who are concerned that the current Murray-Darling Basin Plan is not working.

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As the decision deadline looms for the $1 billion Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility (NAIF) loan to Adani for construction of rail infrastructure for the Galilee Basin mega coalmine, a rash of protests erupted in Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, Townsville, Cairns, Mackay and at Adani’s work sites near Belyando in Central Queensland.

A sleeper issue in the recent Queensland election was the inaction by mines minister Anthony Lynham on the Land Court’s ruling of May 31 to reject the application by New Hope Coal for the third stage in the expansion of the Acland coalmine, known as Acland Stage 3, in the agriculturally rich Darling Downs.

Crop varieties have been selected and reproduced over thousands of years by farmers, creating great diversity. India, for example, used to have 200,000 varieties of rice. Seeds were kept each year for replanting and exchanging in what was a free or low-cost system for many farmers.

Activists from the Oakey Coal Action Alliance, Great Sandy Strait Saviours and Lock the Gate gathered in the park across the road from New Hope Coal’s AGM in Ipswich on November 16 with a message for shareholders.

Accompanied by a giant inflatable cow, the protesters’ message was that New Hope is wasting its money on legal battles and public relations campaigns.

When you think of devastating deforestation and extinction you usually think of the Amazon, Borneo and the Congo.

But eastern Australia ranks alongside these in the top 10 of the world’s major deforestation fronts — the only one in a developed nation. Most of the clearing is happening in Queensland and it is accelerating.

La Via Campesina is a global social movement that unites 148 groups representing small farmers, peasants, rural workers and indigenous communities around the world. It fights for food sovereignty and ecologically sustainable agriculture. At the COP23 climate talks in Bonn, Germany, La Via Campesina released the statement that is slightly abridged below on November 9.

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Peasants, small farmers and Indigenous peoples “feed the world and cool the planet”. This is what the global peasant movement, La Via Campesina, has come to Bonn to put onto the agenda at the COP23 climate meetings — both in the official space and at the People’s Climate Summit where social movements met to strategise for alternatives to capitalism and its climate crisis.

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