Tag Archive: food sovereignty

Aug 31

Zakho Small Villages Projects: Pushing for Organic Agriculture in Iraq

In 1997, Zakho Small Project Villages (ZSVP)started its organic agriculture activities in Iraq. Through the dissemination of organic agriculture techniques, awareness raising on environment and pesticide hazards, rural extension and  training courses for farmers, rural women, agriculture department staff and students, ZSVP pushed for Organic Agriculture in Iraq.

At that period, we (as an NGO interested in Organic Agriculture) faced many problems with the government, first because of economic sanctions. Indeed, the main goal of the government was to produce food without taking any consideration to the value, health and environmental issues. Secondly, we faced problems with the FAO policy in Iraq, as the FAO due to the UN resolution 986 (Oil for Food) was regularly importing a lot of agriculture chemicals  and distribute to or oblige farmers to receive these chemical inputs as a condition to receive other equipments.

Until 2003, organic activities were focused on Northern governorates of Iraq, but after this date, our organic program expanded to cover other areas of Iraq thanks to the support of international organizations.

In 2009, the Organic agriculture department is founded in the Ministry of agriculture in Iraq which expected to play an important role in dissemination of organic agriculture among farmers especially in middle and southern governorates.

During 2010-2012, many conferences and meetings arranged by universities and Iraqi academics recommended to adopt organic agriculture as a mean to reduce the deterioration in the environment and agriculture land which was caused by the successive Gulf wars between 1980-2003.

Organic Grape Production in Iraq

In 2010 and for the first time in Iraq, 37 farmers (Grapes growers) were organically certified  and work is ongoing to increase the land organically cultivated and certified farmers.

Today, organic agriculture is studied in colleges of agriculture in the Kurdistan region and Iraq especially to graduate students.

These are important achievements that need to be underlined, however there are still many challenges the organic farmers have to face in Iraq. They include:

  • Drought and desertification problems and lack of will from the government to tackle this problem;
  • Lack of law and legislation in Iraq to provide a legal framework for organic production;
  • Non availability of organic inputs and high prices if available;
  • Lack of organic marketing of farmers’ produce;

These challenges can be overcome by organizing advocacy campaigns for the protection of agricultural land in Iraq against unsustainable practices, procedures and the government’s mismanagement of soil and agricultural land. The governement should be pressured to create a legislation and framework for organic production, as well as for marketing and certification of organic products.

IFOAM can contribute and play an important role in arranging training programs on organic agriculture for farmers and rural women. This is why ZSVP is Proud member of IFOAM.

Dr. Abid Alli Hasan
Zakho Small Villages Program Coordinator in Iraq
zsvp@yahoo.com 

May 04

Nature & Progrès: Food Sovereignty First!

The issues of food and hunger around the world question the current systems of production, processing and marketing of agricultural products. Peasants represent 70% of the hungry.

Yet, the right to food appears in the 1948 Declaration of Human Rights: “Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food”. Also, in 2007, at the Forum for Food Sovereignty in Mali, the declaration of Nyéléni underlined that all people have the right to safe, nutritious and culturally appropriate food, produced sustainably and ecologically.

Food sovereignty is the right for countries and peoples to define their own agricultural and food policies, and must be the engine of peasant and citizens mobilization.

Food sovereignty breaks with the current organization of international agricultural markets and is the answer for more equitable, sustainable and respectful food systems.

Food sovereignty rejects the idea that food products should be products like any other, only managed by the agro-food industry and subject to the strategies of multinationals and to the adverse effects of international trade.

Food sovereignty implies that farmers should get a fair income for their production.

Food sovereignty adds value to an agriculture respectful of life, food habits and traditions, hence creating social bonds between men and women living close geographically and socialy.

Food sovereignty opposes the standardization of agricultural and food production.

Food sovereignty tends to develop agricultural systems focused on national and regional needs, hence reducing dependence to international markets.

Food sovereignty opposes the privatization of natural resources, even allowed by law.

Food sovereignty connects producers and consumers, rural and urban communities, for them to exchange and to master their food production.

Nature & Progrès and its partners calls out to citizens and policy makers to promote healthy food for all, in their campaigns “Alimentons” (“Alimentons l’Europe” in 2009, “Alimentons les regions” in 2010, and “Alimentions” in 2012)

By developing Participatory Guarantee Systems (PGS) in organic production, Nature & Progrès takes action to support knowledge exchange and develop new and transparent relations between organic stakeholders in France, e.g. peasants, craftsmen and citizens.

Message to Rio+20

Nature & Progrès alerts NGOs and policy makers on the transformation of elements of biodiversity into commercial goods or services. Any patent, or any financial value given to elements of biodiversity is the beginning of their destruction. A collective asset taken outside of its social system, or an ecosystem service outside of its ecosystem, no longer fulfill their social or ecological function: they become mere speculative products on the financial markets.

The market is unable to ensure the equitable distribution of land, water, seeds and other elements of biodiversity essential to life. Their conservation first and foremost depends on the respect of local communities’ rights to use and manage their resources sustainably.

Nature & Progrès
http://www.natureetprogres.org