the land

A farmer at work in her mustard field in Kashmir, India. Photo: Rajesh Pamnani via Flickr (CC BY-NC-DD).

Beware the GMO Trojan horse! Indian food and farming are under attack

Colin Todhunter
| 11th February 2016
Global oilseed, agribusiness and biotech corporations are engaged in a long term attack on India's local cooking oil producers, writes Colin Todhunter. In just 20 years they have reduced India from self-sufficiency in cooking oil to importing half its needs. Now the government's unlawful attempts to impose GM mustard seed threaten to wipe out a crop at the root of Indian food and farming traditions.

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Global Justice Now supporters dressed as business people from Monsanto, Diageo, SABMiller and Unilever campaigning against the Department for International Development's involvement with the 'New Alliance'. Photo: Global Justice Now via Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

Intensive, corporate agriculture is increasing poverty in Africa

Lawrence Woodward
| 11th February 2016
New research indicates that agricultural policies aimed at alleviating poverty in Africa are making things worse, writes Lawrence Woodward. Backed by 'development' aid, big business is forcing modern farming practices on unwilling rural communities. Only the rich benefit, while the poor carry the burden of landlessness and debt.

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Still from video footage taken by a Brazilian government task force during a chance encounter with a Kawahiva tribe member in his rainforest home. Photo: FUNAI.

Brazil must save Amazon's Kawahiva tribe from genocide

Lewis Evans
| 8th February 2016
The Kawahiva, an uncontacted tribe in the Amazon rainforest, face extinction unless Brazil's government acts to secure their legal rights to land, security and to remain undisturbed by outsiders, writes Lewis Evans. The decree that would achieve this vital goal has been sitting on the Minister of Justice's desk since 2013. Let's make sure he signs it soon, before it's too late.

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Ducks by their pond on a small farm near Ostróda, Northern Poland. Photo: Leszek Kozlowski via Flickr (CC BY).

Polish government backs small farmers' and food sovereignty

Julian Rose
ICPPC
| 25th January 2016
Since Poland's new government was elected last October it has moved to protect the country's 1.3 million small farmers, writes Julian Rose. First it freed those arrested for protesting corporate land grabs, now it is seeking to lighten oppressive hygiene regulations, and next it may support a new Food Act that would ban GMOs, and legislate for national food security and food sovereignty.

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The Monument Butte project area is all public lands and minerals managed by the BLM. The BLM has already opened up wide swaths of the Uinta Basin for the oil and gas industry, effectively turning our public lands into an industrial zone. Photo: WildEarth

President Obama: Keep our oil and gas in the ground!

Earthjustice
Friends of the Earth
Greenpeace USA
Waterkeeper Alliance
WildEarth Guardians
| 15th January 2016
Now that the US is signed up to ambitious Paris targets to limit warming, it too must play its part in keeping fossil fuels under the ground, write leading US campaigners. So let's make an immediate start by halting all new federal oil and gas leasing on public lands pending a full climate and environmental impact study.

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Flooded, embanked tributary of the River Eden in Cumbria. Image from a small unmanned aerial vehicle. Photo: Neil Entwistle @salfordhydro .

Changes to our rivers and floodplains have exacerbated flooding

Neil Entwistle
George Heritage
| 12th January 2016
Changes to natural drainage processes in headwaters, rivers, floodplains and river channels has increased the UK's vulnerability to heavy rainfall, write Neil Entwistle & George Heritage. And to put things right, we must first gather the detailed evidence of what took place in recent floods. The Environment Agency must publish all its data, maps and images - now!

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Original illustration for The Rural Manifesto by Clifford Harper.

Equality in the countryside

Land Workers Alliance
The Land
| 7th January 2016
At a time when the Labour Party is discovering its egalitarian roots, inequality is as much of an issue in the countryside as in the city, states this 'Rural Manifesto' from the Land Workers Alliance and The Land. The neglect and exclusion of Britain's rural poor and landless farmers must end.

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A pair of beaver dams in Bamff, Perthshire. Photo: Paul Ramsay.

Carlisle floods: bring back the trees, and the beavers!

Oliver Tickell
| 7th December 2015
The key to reducing the risk of more floods like those in Carlisle is to realise that conventional 'flood defence' can never provide security against the ever more extreme weather events that global warming will bring. We must embrace natural solutions to holding back flood waters: more trees; and bring back the beavers!

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Beavers nuzzling in the Tay Valley. Photo: Scottish Wild Beaver Group via website.

Scotland's wild beaver 'shoot to kill' policy is illegal and wrong

Louise Ramsay
| 5th December 2015
Native wild beavers in their natural range are meant to receive stringent protection under European and Scottish law, writes Louise Ramsay. But farmers have declared 'open season' on the small but growing population, shooting them at will, while the Scottish Government and its wildlife agency look the other way.

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Soil is where our food comes from - so why don't we look after it as well as organic farmers? Photo: Soil Association.

It's time to celebrate and protect the soils that feed us!

Peter Melchett
| 4th December 2015
Almost all our food is grown in soil, writes Peter Melchett. Yet we are treating it like dirt: spraying it with toxic chemicals, depleting vital nutrients, and releasing its carbon to add to climate change. With World Soils Day coming up tomorrow, let's change our ways - and renew our commitment to organic food and farming.

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This is the real 'Climate Smart Agriculture' - but surely not at all what the agribusiness corporations have in mind! Photo: Helena Paul.

‘Climate-Smart Agriculture' - preparing for a corporate soil and climate-grab in Paris?

Helena Paul
EcoNexus
| 26th November 2015
‘Climate Smart Agriculture' can be applied to anything from industrial monocultures to agroecology, writes Helena Paul - and fertiliser, biotech and agribusiness corporations are seizing the chance to cash in. Now COP21 host France is proposing to use soils as a giant carbon sink - a fine idea in itself, but not if it's used to 'offset' continued fossil fuel emissions, and to greenwash industrial agriculture.

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Traditional Farmer in Kabaune village, Kenya working in the field with his cattle. The village has joined in planting trees in order to increase rain and water. Photo: P. Casier / CGIAR via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

The tremendous success of agroecology in Africa

Colion Todhunter
| 21st November 2015
While the Gates Foundation and conservative politicians are bigging up GMOs and agribusiness, writes Colin Todhunter, a quiet revolution has been working its way across Africa. Agroecological farming, constantly adapting to local needs, customs, soils and climates, has been improving nutrition, reducing poverty, combatting climate change, and enriching farmland.

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Even though the Baram dam is on hold, logging of the reservoir area and surrounding forest is proceeding apace. Photo: Rod Harbinson.

Indigenous activists celebrate bitter victory over rainforest dam moratorium

Rod Harbinson
Mongabay
| 22nd October 2015
As indigenous activists opposing hydropower dams on their territories gather this weekend in the rainforests of Sarawak, Malaysia, they have good news to celebrate, writes Rod Harbinson: a giant dam on the Baram river has been put on hold. But the forests are still being logged, local people have been stripped of land rights, and a programme of 12 giant dams is still official policy.

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Agroecology in action: rice farm in Batad, the Philippines. Photo: Joe Coyle via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

No to 'Climate Smart Agriculture', yes to agroecology

Climate Smart Agriculture Concerns
| 21st October 2015
Climate Smart Agriculture sounds like a great idea, write hundreds of civil society organisations worldwide. But in truth it's a PR front for international agribusiness to promote corporate agriculture, pesticides and fertilisers at COP21, with a heavy dose of greenwash. Countries must resist the siren calls - and give their support to true agroecology that sustains soil, health, life and climate.

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A farmer at work on his tractor amid oilseed rape (canola) in Oakwood, Derbyshire, England. Photo: John Bennett via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

To control flood - and drought - we must involve farmers

Colin Tudge
| 2nd January 2015
Building resilience to flood and drought is all about working with farmers, writes Colin Tudge. Simple things like ploughing across slopes, not up and down them, planting trees, and caring for soils, can make a huge difference in helping rainwater to sink into the ground, not run off. And to make it happen, the government must take a lead.

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