Below is an update from Grassroots International’s partner, the Via Campesina, concerning the situation of farmers in Japan. To keep up to date with the Nouminren blog, visit http://earlybirds.ddo.jp/earlybirds/saigai/?lang=en.
News from Nouminren, La Via Campesina member in Japan “I do not think that I can farm this year, but with the members of local NOUMINREN, we will take one step after another to make a come back of our agriculture in our village! Your support is inspiring us to live through this crisis.”
— Miura san, member of NOUMINREN Hamadoori in Fukushima. It has been 2 weeks since the huge earthquake and tsunami stroke Japan. 10,102 people (Mar 25th) have lost their life, and still 17,053 people are missing. Moreover, about 250,000 evacuated people who lost their houses are still in the shelters. ?Update information on disaster relief in Fukushima Prefecture The Disaster relief team of NOUMINREN Fukushima has established a food dispensary with a variety of food donated by NOUMINREN members from both Fukushima and other branches. Soup was prepared to distribute to the refugees who had not eaten warm food since March 11th, the day the disaster struck. In days following the disaster, 15 elderly persons have already died in Fukushima and Iwate Prefectures from exposure to cold weather and food shortage. Beside this, due to the accident of the nuclear power plants, radioactivity that is over the regulated limit was detected in the some vegetables and milk of Fukushima, Ibaragi, Chiba, Tochigi, and Gunma prefectures. The government called on the prefectures to voluntarily refrain from shipping theses produces. Not only the producers are concerned but all Japanese consumers are worried. ?Iwate Prefecture & Miyagi Prefecture – areas severely hit by the earthquake and tsunami, and subsequent continuous aftershocks. 5000 persons already died. The disaster relief team of NOUMINREN Iwate is preparing to receive relief supplies coming from the rest of the country, while encouraging their members to assist. They also recently procured a storage area for these supplies near the NOUMINREN Iwate local office. Miyagi Prefecture : Rice fields submerged 1 meter at deepest. NOUMIREN Miyagi is now coordinating with NOUMINREN Yamagata on disaster relief. A large amount of gas for transportation was bought to make transport possible again. NOUMINREN members were asked to offer their crops as well as other necessities. Water service and other public utilities are not recovered yet in the area. For the chairman of Nouminren, “in order to reconstruct our life and agriculture, not only the support of the government is essential, but also our long term support is essential”. On March 24th, NOUMINREN made five demands to the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fishery. These included (1) supporting the affected farmers, (2) compensating the farmers affected by the radioactive accident (dairy farmers, crops that could not be shipped, and financial damages caused by misinformation), (3) ensuring the distribution and safety of rice and food, 4) Reconsider the reduction of rice acreage policy, and revive farmlands to urgently increase the production (as just the farmlands that were damaged by saltwater count over 20,000 acres. 5) Counter the shortage of rice through distributing the reserved rice. On the second point, the government along with Tokyo Electric Power (TEPCO) answered that they will compensate the damages according to the law on compensation for nuclear damage. Any misinformation related to the accident will be compensated. Dairy farmers as well. As not all shipping companies lowered their fees for shipping relief supplies, to send some food supplies like rice and plum pickles from Fukui pref to Fukushima pref. NOUMINREN faces very high shipping fees. The farmers have therefore asked the government to cover some of these transportation fees. To check the level of radioactivity of the goods, Noumiren is trying to purchase a radioactive dosimeter and have asked La Via Campesina to help them to find on as in Japan the dosimeter are not available any more. You can still send your support through : NAME : Nouminundozenkokurengoukai CONTACT NO : 81-3-3590-6759 BANK : MIZUHO BANK LTD. BRANCH : IKEBUKURO NISHIGUCHI BRANCH ADDRESS : 1-15-2 NISHI IKEBUKURO, TOSHIMA-KU,TOKYO ACCOUNT NO : 229 1775644 SWIFTCODE : MHBKJPJT OR Directly to La Via Campesina website www.viacampesina.org and click the DONATE button. —
La Via Campesina
Via Campesina is an international movement of peasants, small- and medium-sized producers, landless, rural women, indigenous people, rural youth and agricultural workers. We are an autonomous, pluralist and multicultural movement, independent of any political, economic, or other type of affiliation. Born in 1993, Via Campesina now gathers about 150 organizations in 70 countries in Asia, Africa, Europe, and the Americas.