03 December 2020, Harare: This ‘International Day of Action for Life and Against Agrotoxics’ La Via Campesina, in association with Heinrich Böll Stiftung, is releasing a short video that highlights the promise of peasant agroecological practices, which is based on centuries of evidence and expertise.
Peasant agroecology is people’s response to the inefficiencies and ill-effects of the Industrial food system, which is based on extensive use of agro-chemicals. Agrochemicals are the main source of greenhouses gases responsible for climate change. Research points out that chemical fertilisers are responsible for numerous environmental and health calamities and are dwindling yields. Over the past 40 years, the efficiency of nitrogen fertilisers has decreased by two-thirds globally, and their distribution per hectare has increased by seven times.
Yet, the use of agro-toxics is one of the main pillars of agribusiness, together with transgenic (genetically modified) seeds. The production and marketing of agro-toxics is monopolised by four large transnational companies that recently merged and have, working with and through subsidiaries and front companies, gained full control of the world agricultural input market: Monsanto-Bayer, DowDupond, Syngenta-ChemChina and BASF.
The use of agro-toxics is no longer an issue solely related to agricultural production, but rather it’s becoming a hazard for public health and the preservation of nature. Several European countries have already banned and punished the use of GMOs and agro-toxics due to their dangerous side effects.
Inspired from a chapter that La Via Campesina contributed in the publication Radical Realism for Climate Justice and edited by Heinrich Böll Stiftung, the video highlights how industrialised agriculture and the corporate food system are at the centre of the climate crisis and cannot be ignored in discussions about pathways to a 1.5 degree Celsius world.
On this day, it is important to remind our communities and the world that food sovereignty is our compass and agroecological transition is the roadmap to achieve these needed systemic transformations.