from the July 2010 issue of Seedling, a publication of the international organization GRAIN:
Peasant organisations in Haiti are angry at the Haitian authorities for allowing multinational donors and corporations to take advantage of the post-earthquake reconstruction programme to deepen the country’s reliance on the outside world. They are calling instead for a radical programme of agricultural reconstruction, to rebuild the country’s ravaged peasantry and bring about food sovereignty.
On 4 June 2010 some 10,000 Haitian peasant farmers marched from Papaye to Hinche in the country’s central plateau. They burnt several bags of hybrid maize seeds, part of the donation that Monsanto has made to the post-earthquake reconstruction programme. Their slogans for the march included “long live native maize” and “Monsanto’s GMO and hybrid seeds violate peasant agriculture”.
In an interview with GRAIN, Chavannes Jean-Baptiste, a Haitian peasant leader who heads the Mouvement Paysan Papaye (MPP) and helped to organise the protest, said that Monsanto was trying to take advantage of the aid programme to make farmers dependent on its seeds and to destroy peasant agriculture. It was necessary, he said, to say a strong “No”. Similar actions were undertaken in solidarity in Montreal, Canada, and Seattle, USA.
Chavannes Jean-Baptiste’s position is in line with the stance adopted by 15 peasant associations, including one youth and one women’s organisation, who in March 2010, with the support of the Haitian non-governmental organisation PAPDA (Plateforme Haïtienne de Plaidoyer pour un Développement Alternatif), published a strong critique of the Haitian government’s emergency response to the earthquake.
For the full article, click here.