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The Rural Workers Association: representing Nicaraguan campesinos

NSC News | Tuesday, 1 October 2019 |

Agroecology students harvestng maize

Agroecology students harvestng maize

The Rural Workers Association (ATC) covers the following areas:

* defending the employment rights of agricultural workers in the banana, coffee, tobacco and African palm industries;

* promoting the struggle for political, economic, social and climate justice focusing on land rights, agroecology, and food sovereignty

In Nicaragua, the ATC has over 47,000 members and plays a key role in strengthening the campesino economy by creating alliances and promoting food sovereignty policies and access to government programmes to improve the living conditions of small scale farmers.

Campesino/a farmers are organised into co-operatives and associations, growing coffee, maize, beans, fruit, and vegetables using agro ecological methods.

The ATC operates training centres for community leaders in employment rights, agro ecological farming, political and community organising, and food sovereignty.

In March 2018 the ATC set up a Latin America Agroecology Institute (IALA) in Nicaragua, one of eight IALAs in Latin America. The IALA has 22 students aged 17 – 30 from Central American and Caribbean La Via Campesina organisations.

The objective of IALA is to provide a holistic training - technical, political, ideological, spiritual - as the basis for promoting agroecology, achieving food sovereignty and transforming society.

'Agroecology is a revolution! …the most urgent task we face is the search for ways to protect the Earth. ’ Marlen Sanchez, director, Latin America Agroecology Institute, Nicaragua (IALA)

Internationally, the ATC is a founder member of La Via Campesina, an international social movement representing over 200 million peasants, small farmers, agricultural workers, and indigenous peoples.

https://viacampesina.org/en/

Globalise Struggle, globalise hope!

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Food sovereignty is the right of peoples to healthy and culturally appropriate food produced through ecologically sound and sustainable methods, and their right to define their own food and agriculture systems.“ La Via Campesina Declaration, 2007

Climate Justice: ‘It is imperative to create harmony among the living beings of the planet and to cool Mother Earth. Food sovereignty links climate change and the collective rights of humanity, it guarantees the protection of the peasantry, and indigenous people and their role in food production.’ La Via Campesina, declaration of meeting of the International Collective on the environment and climate justice, Managua, 27 August, 2018

Agroecology is holistic in that it aims to ensure the wellbeing of people and the planet. As such it also encompasses social, economic, political, cultural and spiritual elements.

Social economy: building local economies that link producers and consumers

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The Nicaragua Solidarity Campaign (NSC) is working in solidarity with the ATC through organising talks, publicising their work and making links with UK organisations committed to the same goals.

In 2020 we are planning to organise a UK speaker tour by a representative of the ATC.