WRITING ON THE WALL
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CTA. 1998. WRITING ON THE WALL. Spore 78. CTA, Wageningen, The Netherlands.
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'We have the right to information!' was the battle-cry when fifty delegates of farmers' organisations from the South, mainly Africa, set up a network at a meeting in Lorraine, France in early April 1998, convened by the organisation French Farmers...
We have the right to information!' was the battle-cry when fifty delegates of farmers' organisations from the South, mainly Africa, set up a network at a meeting in Lorraine, France in early April 1998, convened by the organisation French Farmers for International Development (AFDI). Participants discussed the consequences of increasing liberalisation of world agricultural trade. They insisted above all that professional partner organisations and European bodies should provide them with the information they need to develop their stand-point. They also made a foray into 'Euroland', to present their demands to the European Commission and the Committee of Agricultural Organisations in the European Union (COPA) (1). Elsewhere, the same theme. A reporter of Cameroon's monthly magazine 'The Voice of the Peasant' tried to interview people in the streets of Yaoundé about the Lomé agreements but met only with the perplexed looks of passers-by. 'Bring the Convention out into the open' was the demand of African and Caribbean participants at the 'Colours of Lomé' meeting in Brussels in June 1998. Here farmers' organisations showed their concern of being caught in a 'spider's web' of texts, and showed their hope of being able to protect their farmers' rights. Mercy Karanja, a Kenyan leader, summed it up: 'Beyond the technical considerations, people have to recognise that lifting trading barriers poses a human problem of considerable proportion. It is a matter of survival for millions of rural families.' (1) See 'Paroles paysannes' (September 1998), AFDI, 11 rue la Baume, Paris 750008, France. Fax: + 33 142895816. (2) The meeting was supported by three NGOs: the Belgian Collective for Food Strategies, SOS Faim Belgium and SOS Faim Luxembourg.
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