Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Fact Finding Mission in Nepal - Industrial Toxic Waste Expulsion in Rautahat District

The Fact Finding Mission's Major Findings:

Site Observation 

-Damage to farmers' rice paddy plantation by toxic chemicals released into the local river

-Polluted water has not only affected farmers but have put the aquatic creatures including fish, snake, and frog on the verge of extinction.

-Skin problem to local inhabitants.

-Serious environmental degradation, yield and soil health reduced.

-Deterioration of soil.

Industry Inspection 

-No treatment plant in all industries

- Mixed the untreated water into the river.

-Lack of proper management of waste

-Large amount of effluent is generated from industries,

-Disposed waste matter into the river .

Farmer's Demands

-Compensation of damaged paddy plantation.

- Industries should release only treated water into the river.

- Necessary action against industries for should be taken

Waste water discharged from distilleries and Sugar mill has polluted local river in Rautahat, affected aquatic creatures and damaged farmers' rice paddy planting. From 5 to 7 September 2014, the National  Peasants Coalition (An alliance of major farmer's association in Nepal) organized a fact-finding mission among local farmers who are the victim of industrial toxic expulsion, and toxic generator three industries (Shree Ram sugar mills, Joyti distillery and Baba distillery) in Rauthat District Nepal, with the support of IFAD/MTCP2 National Implementing Agency, to document, analyze and investigate the concerns about the waste and toxic water released, lack of proper management of waste by three industries and affected area such as the farmer's land and their paddy plantation , aquatic creatures and so on.

For all members of the mission, it became highly evident that Shreeram Sugar Mill in Garuda, Jyoti Distillery in Pipara Pokhariya and Baba Distillery in Birta are allegedly responsible for the damage and It was sheer act of negligence that they disposed harmful chemicals into the flooding river, which damaged paddy cultivated in a huge swath of land in the lower riparian areas. Furthermore, the mission also found the truth that toxic waste released by local -distilleries into the Jhanjh River during the monsoon floods, thousands of farmers from over a dozen villages, including Rajpur, Matsari, Badaharwa, Mithuawa, Jayanagar and Jhunkhunawa were affected and around 800 hectors cultivated paddy plantation which costs approximately Rs 600 million(6 million US Dollar) at local price, was also damaged. After observing the reality the mission team submitted its preliminary report to the Prime Minister Mr. Sushil Koirala, Deputy Prime Minister and Home Minister Mr. Bamdev Gautam and Agriculture Development Minister Mr. Hari Prasad Parajuli urging to fulfill the farmer's demand and solve the problem as soon as possible. The mission was coordinated by Mr. Balram Banskota and advised by Mr. Chitra Bdr. Shrestha, Bhanu Sigdel, Prof. Keshave Khadka and Thakur Sharma 

 By National Peasants Coalition, In support with IFAD/MTCP2 National Implementing Agency Nepal

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

The People's Caravan for Seed and Food Sovereignty- MONLAR, Sri Lanka

During World Food Week, the Movement of National Land and Agricultural Reform (MONLAR) held an island-wide Seed Caravan for Food Sovereignty. This campaign stems from the need to address core issues related to the food system in Sri Lanka around the themes of Justice, Equality and Regeneration. More than 50 farmer, women, plantation workers, fisheries and other civil society organizations based across the country participated. The journey of the caravans started from Murukundi in the Northern province in the island and concluded in Colombo after covering a total 25 cities.

Fisheries, labors and plantation workers join hands with Famers and consumers for food sovereignty in Sri LankaAround 600 farmers, fisheries, labors and plantation workers marched in Colombo on the World Food Day (16th of October) to present their demands to the Government for ensuring food sovereignty of the people.  This march was the culmination of the Seed and Food Sovereignty Caravan 2014 which traveled across the country for 6 days.

The caravan has mobilized around 4,000 food producers and consumers for 6 days under three major themes 1. Right of food producers for their resources should be ensured; 2. Regenerative agriculture practices should be promoted; 3. Consumers’ right to have safe and nutritious food should be ensured.

During 6 days of the Caravan Farmers, fisheries, labors and plantation workers from North, South and East joined their hands for a common struggle for people’s right for their resources and food. They exchanged seeds among themselves to oppose the proposed seed privatization act.
Awareness programs were held in more than 20 cities on the importance of promoting eco friendly food production systems and the rights of people to have safe and nutritious food.
Policy proposals formulated by social movements were handed over to Provincial authorities in around 10 Provincial councils. Participants held number of protests campaigns against land grabbing, water and seed privatization and agro chemical industry which causes severe threats to the health of the people and eco systems.

The caravan was also a great platform for the people in all ethnic groups to join for a common struggle on their rights where they opposed the militarization and corporatization of natural resources which violates rights of the people for their resources and livelihoods. Northern provincial council minister of agriculture, minister of education and Tamil communities from Northern Province participated in the
inauguration of Caravan in Kilinochchi showing solidarity among all ethnic groups against violation of their rights. Rev. Mahamankawadawa Piyarathena Thero, convener of the National Movement for Protection of Seeds distributed indigenous seed from south among the communities in North to mark the solidarity.              

On 16th, Caravan joined with trade unions, civil society organizations and other social movements to mark the World Food Day. They marched to the Colombo Fort with displaying placards and distributing leaflets. Set of proposals for agrarian reforms to ensure fair and sustainable food system, which has been discussed and endorsed during the caravan, has been submitted to the government after the rally.