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Family farmers to speak out against corporate agriculture during hemispheric free trade meetings

(Saturday, Nov. 15, 2003 -- CropChoice news) -- A coalition of family farm, labor, rural, faith and environmental organizations will gather in Miami next Monday to speak out against the proposed Free Trade Area of the Americas. They say that much like the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), the this hemispheric free trade proposal would dismantle domestic protections in 34 countries that citizens have erected to maintain the viability of their individual nation’s agricultural economy.

Global trade agreements created record profits for multinational meatpackers and graintraders while devastating family farmers and campesinos, rural communities and the environment, according to a news release by the coalition.

The coalition will discuss key steps, many of them detailed in a recent report, "Rethinking U.S. Agriculture Policy: Changing Course to Secure Farmer Livelihoods Worldwide." The Agricultural Policy Analysis Center (APAC), author of the report, called for an international agricultural system characterized by fairness and cooperation. Such trade principles include:

  • Allowing countries to prioritize sustaining family farms and global food security.
  • Vigorous enforcement of antitrust laws at the local, regional, national and international levels to guarantee competitive markets for family farmers and strengthening these laws where necessary.
  • Allowing countries to establish domestic and global reserves, manage supply, enforce anti-dumping laws and ensure fair market prices.
  • Allowing countries to ensure the production and distribution of a safe, affordable and abundant food supply to meet their domestic needs and achieve food security.

The coalition will hold a press briefing on agriculture and trade issues on Monday, Nov. 17 at the Riande Hotel Continental, 2nd Floor Meeting Room (Bayside, 146 Biscayne Blvd, Miami, Florida) from 3-5 p.m.

Speakers include:

Carlos Marentes, Sin Fronteras Organizing Project
Altagracia “Chilo” Villarreal, Coalicion Rural - Mexico
George Naylor, Iowa Farmer & National Family Farm Coalition President
Tom Wiley, Dakota Resource Council/Western Organization of Resource Councils

To see more about the study by the Agricultural Policy Analysis Center, go to http://www.cropchoice.com/leadstry.asp?recid=2001