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Landless ASEAN Peasants Threatened by Starvation

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Farmers in ASEAN are often threatened by hunger, even though they are growing their own variety of food crops. This fact is noted in Agriculture Workshop on ASEAN Civil Society Conference / ASEAN People’s Forum (ACSC / APF), May 4, 2011 in Jakarta.

“The greatest burden of the farmers is that they are farming for export. While they do not have food security and ultimately often have to buy from the market,” said Arze Glipo from the Asia-Pacific Network on Food Sovereignty.

Food security of farmers is becoming worse mainly because they themselves are also being squeezed off by land crisis that is now happening in Southeast Asia. Increasing population and expansion of the company often makes the farmers lose land and forced to work as contract laborers.

In Indonesia alone, foreign investors are registered over 1.3 million agricultural lands which often come from forest land. Indonesian investors, according to Indonesian Pleasant Alliance (API), generally shift the housing industry with gigantic food industry. World Food Programme also estimates that 37 percent of children in Laos were severely malnourished. While in the Philippines, food conglomerate which is affiliated with Malaysian investors invested U.S. $ 1 billion to develop 1 million hectares of rice and corn farms.

Another threat to Asean farmers also comes from Southeast Asian alliance plan to apply the free trade system. Arze Glipo declared that free trade will create more and more farmers to grow food for export markets and also increasingly depend on getting their own food from the market. So at the same time they are also highly vulnerable to fluctuating food prices.

“The solution is simple. We must affirm regulations for investors in the land sector including foreign investors, “said Arze Glipo. This means that ASEAN should implement land policy reforms and give more priorities for small farmers to protect the right to food for all the people of Asean.


For more information contact resource persons can contact Mr. Mida Saragih or via email ms.mida.saragih @, 081322306673 and Lilik HS, 0818 777 500 or email [email protected].