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Archive for October, 2009|Monthly archive page

Another one from CIEE: Bamrung Kayotha Profile

In Our Network on 26/10/2009 at 12:11 pm

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Bamrung Kayotha

The flame of the lighter illuminated his face as we settled onto the mats. Overlooking a pond surrounded by plants, smoke rising from the tip of his cigarette, P’Bamrung humbly began to tell the story of his life. “I am not an NGO. I am a farmer,” he told us. But to his community he is undeniably a leader, and an inspiration to other villages that strive to preserve local culture and guarantee basic human rights. Read the rest of this entry »

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IFOAM: World Food Day Statement

In In Solidarity on 23/10/2009 at 2:32 pm

10/12/2009

Putting the last first – The Organic Answer to Food Security for all, including the rural poor!

On the occasion of the World Food Day, agro-industry proposes a second green revolution based on genetic engineering. This suits their interests but does not contribute to feeding the poor. Organic Agriculture based on its encouraging concepts, experience and examples proposes a paradigm-shift in food security policies to ensure that hunger is history by 2050.

In 2009, the number of undernourished people reached one billion, three quarters of them live in rural areas . This is more than ever before. Despite the fact that the world produces 125% of the required food for all, 15% of people are hungry; and most of them are women and children. Global agriculture production today fails to feed the world’s poorest people since they lack access to income and resources such as fertile land, water, seeds and knowledge for a farming system adapted to local conditions and the demands of markets. The green revolution accomplished a lot but failed to combat hunger. It focused only on technology and relied on huge quantities of climate damaging inputs such as agro-chemicals. Read the rest of this entry »

CIEE Profile: Paw Man Samsee

In Our Network on 22/10/2009 at 5:47 pm

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Paw Man Samsee with Samrat Thong-Iam, while on a Fair Trade Rice Speaker Tour with ENGAGE in Winter 2007 – These farmers visited with Seth Kroeck at Crystal Spring CSA in Brunswick, ME

At age 59, Pawh Man sits outside his daughter’s house and patiently awaits his interview. Wrinkles cut deeply into his tan skin and the tranquility of his mind penetrates through his eyes. The rice farmer’s physical appearance is a testament that life does place the heaviest burdens on those of us who can bear them well. The two dark, half-moon shaped scars on each side of his stomach, are a manifesto to his strength, rather than a sign of his weakness. Read the rest of this entry »

Sustaining Wisdom: 2 Profiles on Paw Anon Nieulai from CIEE

In Farmers Groups, Our Network on 22/10/2009 at 4:49 pm

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Profile: Anon Nieulai

Maina Handimaker – Bowdoin College (mhandmak@bowdoin.edu)

Anon Nieulai was introduced to me as a wise man of his village.  Under a sky of stars that made it feel much later than 7:30, he walked me to his house.  Bundles of garlic knotted by their tops of dried grass hung along the walls, and P’Anon’s wife Boon Le pounded the smell of spices into the room with a mortar and pestle.  A helpless flopping sound came from a bucket of freshly caught fish in the corner.  Under one fluorescent light and its accompanying swarm of bugs, we ate roasted peanuts and sticky rice, eggs from P’Anon’s chickens, purple cabbage, thick carrots, and peppers picked from in front of the house.

P’Anon started farming organically eight years ago, and he is proud to share what he grows and eats.  He has grown to understand connections: between people and the land, between our health and the environment’s, between farmers and consumers, and between the villagers in his community – the ones before him, his neighbors, and the ones that will live there after him.  A wise man, to him, is someone who has “learned from their ancestors and continues learning,” and knows that those teachings are meant to be passed on to new people.

When the fish in his ponds and the frogs in his rice paddies were dying, people in his village were getting sick, and each year the crop demanded more chemicals than the year before, P’Anon realized something was wrong with the way his community was growing food.  “Our ancestors didn’t have any chemicals, and the soil was good and they had rice to eat,” P’Anon said, casually explaining the epiphany that changed the way he farms.

P’Anon grows 130 varieties of rice, vegetables, fruits, herbs, and trees. Still, while his rice is growing, he hasn’t had any surplus to sell. He is working now on a new piece of land, terracing it and preparing the soil to grow vegetables so he will once again have enough produce to sell at the green market. As a market organizer, he knows he needs to set the example he is trying to teach farmers to follow.  To be able to set that example, though, he needs help bringing water to his new land.  He learned about an Oxfam-supported GreenNet project for climate change adaptation initiatives that is partly working to develop local water systems for farmers like him.  He has applied to bring electricity to his village’s farms, so he can dig small-scale wells for water during drought and not have to run the pump with diesel.  To get one of GreenNet’s pumps, he has started working for Thailand’s Land Reform Project.  The program gives previously owned land to farmers on the condition that they begin to farm it organically, and P’Anon is helping them by teaching farmers how to make that switch. Read the rest of this entry »

Political and Ecological Crisis in Kudchum

In Uncategorized on 18/10/2009 at 4:05 pm

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Political and Ecological Crisis in Kudchum District, Yasothon Province

Yasothon, Thailand, 18 October 2009 (AAN) – There is currently 41 tons of Furadan (Carbofuran) sitting in the Kudchum district agriculture office storage silo.  Local government officials claim that farmers are demanding the free distribution of Furadan and have enlisted village headmen to sign up local rice and cassava farmers to immediately receive Furadan and other chemicals, in order to address what they are calling a “natural disaster” created by plant disease in both crops. This is a blatant failure of responsibility to protect the health and security of farmers, consumers and the environment. The agriculture office claims that farmers have been demanding chemicals since August, but in reality the project has just been written on Oct. 16.

Furdadan is a systemic insecticide that has one of the highest acute toxicities of all agro-chemicals.  It has known impacts on the natural environment and human health, and is currently banned in the United States.

Yasothon province has committed to an “Organic Agriculture Province” for a number of years.  Bunsong Mathkao, president of the AAN – Esan, who has long worked with the provincial government on developing organic agriculture policies, simply asks, “Why is the government doing this?  The MPs are just finding a reason to use their budget and find a place to use these chemicals. Kudchum is the only district to accept this project, other districts won’t accept it.”

The AAN – Esan recognizes that this “demand” on behalf of rice and cassava farmers in Kudchum is just an excuse for local politicians to misallocate funds intended to support local farmers.  This situation represents a political system imbedded with corruption and agro-chemical interests.  The mass distribution and use of dangerous chemicals like Furadan is also a blatant violation of farmers’ rights to a safe and healthy environment.

Tomorrow, the AAN and Love Nature Club will pursue this crisis with the Governor of Yasothon in negotiations to develop a solution for Kudchum district.  We maintain our demands that Yasothon province prohibit the use of these dangerous agro-chemicals, especially Furadan, and genuinely support sustainable agriculture policies.

The Alternative Agriculture Network – Esan (AAN) monitors agricultural and trade policies in order to support and defend the rights of small-scale farmers. The AAN is a network of more than 3,000 farming families that works to develop appropriate and sustainable alternatives for community food security.

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Contact:

Bennett Haynes

Alternative Agriculture Network – Esan

bennett.haynes@gmail.com

(+66) 0867941588

aanesan.wordpress.com

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In Research on 14/10/2009 at 11:29 am

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AAN Photo Updates

In Farmers Groups, Meetings, Network Events, Research on 11/10/2009 at 3:35 pm

Please click on the photos below to see slideshows from some of the AAN’s recent activities

Esan Green Market Network Meeting – Mahasarakam, Oct. 8

P’ Mao’s Contract Farming Research Conclusion – Mahasarakam Agriculture University, Oct. 7

Asian People’s Solidarity for Climate Justice – Bangkok, Oct. 3-5

Indigenous Seed Saving Exchange with the ANN North – participants from Nan, Chiang Rai, Chiang Mai, Prae, Mahasarakam, Yasothon, Kalasin – Sept. 20-22

Climate Justice!

In In Solidarity, Network Events on 11/10/2009 at 8:35 am

For Immediate Release

October 3-4, Bangkok, Thailand – This weekend the Alternative Agriculture Network joined with environmental networks, civil society organizations and peoples’ movements for the two-day climate conference, “Asian Peoples’ Solidarity for Climate Justice.”  This conference was organized by the Thai Working Group for Climate Justice as a parallel event to the Climate Change Talks hosted at the United Nations in Bangkok.  As an organization of small-scale farmers directly affected by climate change, we view the UN policy-making process as important challenges for our network to engage with.  On October 4, AAN Esan coordinator Ubon Yoowah spoke on a panel focusing on Reducing Emissions Deforestation and Degradation (REDD).  The presentation focused on 4 major points:

  1. The Alternative Agriculture Network works to create small-scale sustainable agriculture systems.  We believe that sustainable agriculture creates ecological balance and utilizes carbon that would otherwise be emitted in less efficient systems.
  2. Large-scale production and agro-industry destroys nature’s balance and production processes emit the three major greenhouse gasses, especially nitrous oxide and methane.  Feedlots and CAFOs are significant examples of this environmentally destructive process.
  3. Biofuels are promoted as a solution and opportunity for producers in the Global South, but will only create greater resource exploitation and competition.  This will especially be the case when integrated into carbon markets and trading.
  4. The UN must support sustainable agriculture and develop mechanisms for farmer-based education, research and participation.  The UN must also support community energy production and management as an alternative to large-scale production schemes.

Read the rest of this entry »