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U.S. Family Farmers Mark April 17th With A Protest Against Commodity Speculation

April 2009

Family farmers and other food justice activists will mark April 17, the International Day of Peasant’s Struggle, with a protest against corporate speculation on agricultural commodities which is behind the global food crisis now threatening the livelihoods of millions of farmers. This action is in solidarity with La Via Campesina, the world’s largest umbrella movement of family farmers, Grassroots International’s ally the National Family Farm Coalition, rural workers and indigenous peoples.

Specific demands include:

  • Ending unregulated speculation on commodities at the CME, which contributed to the 83% hike in global food prices between 2005 and 2008, leaving adding 75 million more people to the ranks of the world’s hungry We need to invest in sustainable family farmers who actually feed people and conserve fertility and not in financial derivatives that only feed the growth of unstable bubbles of unfounded wealth,” says Stephen Bartlett, a small scale KY farmer and staff member of Agricultural Missions.
  • Investigate and punish corruption and manipulation at the CME. The new Obama Administration needs to aggressively pursue existing anti-trust and price fixing class action suits. “The recent $12 million fine levied by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission against Dairy Farmers of America for price fixing at the CME is just the tip of the iceberg. Even the U.S. Dept. of Justice has admitted that collusion among the dairy giants is worse than Enron.” warns Joel Greeno, WI dairy farmer and vice president of Family Farm Defenders. “Family farmers are now receiving half of what they got a year ago for their milk, but U.S. consumers have seen hardly any change in the store. The situation is worse than during the Great Depression, and if this illegal activity doesn’t stop we’ll have no farmers left and end up importing all of our milk.”
  • Implement and promote federal economic policies that support family farmers, end hunger, and provide healthy locally produced food, rather than continuing to subsidize corporate agribusiness expansion and commodity dumping. “From climate change to the economic crisis to the food crisis, agriculture should be the basis of the stimulus package,” noted Ben Burkett, president of National Family Farm Coalition and state coordinator of the Mississippi Association of Cooperatives

According to Dena Hoff, Vice President of NFFC and Regional Coordinator of the Via Campesina North America, “Small scale farmers and fishermen are the answer to the crisis of the world’s food production and distribution systems. A growing movement to support local and healthy foods has been sweeping the nation. To ensure that food reaches every person, regardless of where they live and how much they earn, policies changes must be implemented, now. April 17th is one day to bring the problem and the solution to the public’s eye. Please join us in planning and participating in this global Day of Action.”

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