After publishing the original brochure in German last year (“Besser anders, anders besser! Mit Agrarökologie die Ernährungswende gestalten”), we received several requests to release it in English as well. So here it is!
Food and Agriculture could work differently, if they had Agroecology, shortened and innovative marketing circuits and participatory forms of shaping the food system as basic principles. The contributions in this publication show how farmers in the global South and North today enhance soil fertility, biodiversity and seed productivity, how local markets are strengthened, how social movements and food councils try to democratise food systems, and what ingredients transformation towards social justice and real sustainability needs. Various cases from Kenya, Burkina Faso, Vietnam, Nepal, Germany, France, Switzerland, Columbia and Brazil are discussed.
“Better and different!” is a joint publication by a number of German-based NGOs and Foundations: Brot für Welt, FIAN, Forum Umwelt und Entwicklung, Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung, INKOTA, MISEREOR, Oxfam and Rosa-Luxemburg-Stiftung.
From October 5th to 8th 2018 a forum aiming to be an exchange platform for international farm workers is taking place.
Farm workers are key actors in the food system. According to ILO statistics, every third worker in the world – around 1.1 billion people – is working in agriculture. Only around 40-50% of those workers are employed. Work in agriculture is characterized by the systematic violations of basic human and labour rights, including little or no right to join or be represented by a trade union and poor occupational health and safety. Agriculture ranks alongside mining and construction as the industries with highest rate of accidents. The widespread use of migrant, temporary and seasonal workers is a key feature of agriculture. 71% of all child labor takes place in agriculture. This means that 108 million children are working in the sector. Many children are occupied on small, family farms but one in five is hired in commercial agriculture.
Women are entering the agricultural workforce in increasing numbers and now make up about 40% of the hired workforce. Many have seasonal or temporary jobs. The precarious nature of their employment often means they are denied maternity protection and other rights and are vulnerable to sexual harassment.
This denial of farm workers rights is systematic and deliberate. It includes:
In some countries it is illegal for agricultural workers to form and join trade unions;
In others, agricultural workers are excluded from the protection of labour legislation or have lower standards of protection;
Lack of collective bargaining in agriculture;
Less than 20 % of agricultural workers have access to basic social protection;
Only 5% have access to any kind of labour inspection system.
At the same time, it is the farm workers who put the food on the table of people both in rural and urban areas worldwide. They should be at the center of debates about food systems, sustainable land use, climate change and global justice. In many countries, farm workers unions have developed unique forms of organizing and of union culture, as they deal with completely different situations and dynamics than unions in urban sectors.
For these reasons IUF and RLS have established a forum for an international exchange. The goal is to foster deliberation both among farm worker union representatives and with other allies.
About the event
Around 90 participants from farm worker unions and allies from all over the world are expected to gather at the Protea Hotel in Stellenbosch, South Africa between October 5th and 8th. The event will last three days plus one additional day for a field visit (where participants will meet farm workers from Western Cape and have a discussion about their struggles). The program, apart from the sessions in plenary and working groups, also includes informal and cultural exchange of farm workers experiences and visions through publications, film screenings and other activities.