April 17 is marked as International Day of Peasant Struggle. On this day in 1996, the government of Brazil forcefully suppressed the voice farmers demanding peasants’ rights where 19 activists lost their lives. Commemorating the unfortunate incident, every year peasant activists gather all over the world and discuss the rights of farmers. on 17 December 2018, the United Nation passed a declaration on the rights of peasants and other rural workers which has been considered as a historical achievement and now the state parties of the declaration have moral binding to domesticate the provisions on the declaration in their laws, bi-laws. In Nepal, constitution has guaranteed rights related to food which includes Right on Food, Food Security and Food Sovereignty. To address the issues of farmers, Nepal Government has already established Farmers’ Commission and also enacted Right to Food and Food Sovereignty Act, 2018 to ensure the rights of farmers. Being a part of Food Sovereignty campaign and working for the promotion and protection of Right to Food in Nepal, FIAN Nepal together with ANPFa and La Via Campesina welcome the UN declaration and expressed solidarity through an interaction workshop observing International Peasants Struggle Day on 17 April 2019 in Kathmandu.
The interaction workshop started with paper presentations where Mr. Pramesh Pokharel shared the history of Peasants’ struggle supported by La Via Campesina along with the provisions made in the UN declaration and Mr. Ashok B. Singh shared the key provisions of Right to Food and Food Sovereignty Act, 2018 linking with the farmers rights ensured in the act. Participants in the program welcomed the UN declaration as well as expressed their views on smooth implementation of Right to Food and Food Sovereignty Act, 2018 in Nepal. Many issues regarding small holder farmers were raised by the participants and concluded that unless the rights of farmers ensured, the zero-hunger challenge and hunger free Nepal is not possible, and the commitment made on SDG is unlikely to achieve.
Mr. Tej B. Subedi, Under Secretary of Agriculture and Livestock Development Ministry said that the farmers’ movement has played significant role on political transformation in Nepal. Nepal government prepared as well as under process of preparation many legal documents where optimum benefits of farmers have taken into consideration. However, the agriculture produces of small holder are not connected with market and thus these poor and small farmers are deprived to access maximum benefits from their profession. Mr. Hari Pd. Parajuli, Former Agriculture Development Minister said that domestication of the UN declarations in local context is important as being a state party. Social awareness at local level is needed. At the end of the program, Member of National Assembly Honorable Mr. Balram Baskota said that Multi-National Companies overtaking the real farmers. Therefore, collaborative actions of all stakeholders are very important and must to make the farmers able to feed themselves and rest of the world ensuring their explicit rights. There is no other option of establishing food sovereignty. He further thanked the participants for their important opinions and assured that the government is very serious to ensure the rights of people along with farmers rights.
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