The executive committee of the People's Coalition on Food Sovereignty (PCFS) met on Sunday, April 19, 2020, to discuss the latest developments of the coronavirus pandemic and draft a collation statement on the topic.
At the meeting chaired by Razan Zuayter, President of the Arab Network for Food Sovereignty and APN General Coordinator, participants agreed on nine basic demands, including securing the universal right to food and the prioritization and encouragement of local food production. The coalition also called for global recognition of the importance of agricultural producers, including workers, and their increased access to agricultural inputs.
The meeting called for necessary support to be given for the revival of local markets and for small producers to access these markets. The meeting also recommended the strengthening of national food reserves and the reallocation of land to produce food. The coalition warned against politicizing food aid, called for the lifting of international sanctions and called for the end of occupation and military attacks.\
The coalition also discussed its preparations for next year’s World Food Systems Summit. PCFS will hold a webinar in May to follow up on developments on the Coronavirus pandemic and its dimensions in the various regions of the world.
The meeting was attended by Razan Zuayter, Sylvia Mallari, Julie Smith, Hakim Balren, Alex Barrios, Gershom Kabaso, and Rhoda Gueta.
ًًWeeks earlier, in March 2020, the Arab Group for the Protection of Nature had also signed a statement by the People's Coalition on Food Sovereignty, alongside more than 100 organizations working in the field of agricultural and farmers’ rights, in order to raise the grievances of small farmers faced with the coronavirus crisis.
The statement made urgent demands on behalf of rural peoples and agricultural workers who are our first line of defense in protecting food security. While millions of small-scale farmers provide basic food items during the corona outbreak, many are without access to resources or ownership of land they work and are some of the poorest and hungriest among us.