18 March 2008

Sustainable family farming can feed the world

The International Peasant Movement, La Via Campesina, has recently issued a press release entitled "A response to the Global Food Prices Crisis: Sustainable family farming can feed the world".

On this document they refer to the recent dramatic increase of staple food around the world, with consequent aggravating difficulties for the poorest communities.

"Over a year, wheat has doubled in price, maize is nearly 50% higher than a year ago.

(...) Prices are increasing because part of production is now diverted into agrofuels, global food reserves are at their lowest in 25 years due to the de-regulation of markets by the WTO, and extreme weather has effected crops in some exporting countries such as Australia. But prices also increase because financial companies speculate over people's food as they anticipate that agriculture prices will keep rising in the near future. Food production, processing and distribution falls increasingly under the grip of transnational companies monopolising the markets.

Via Campesina state that in order to protect livelihoods, jobs, people's health and the environment, food has to remain in the hands of small scale sustainable farmers, calling out for the principles of food sovereignty.

Food sovereignty is the right of peoples to healthy and culturally appropriate food produced through ecologically sound and sustainable methods, and the right of their governments to define the food and agriculture policies of their countries, without damaging agriculture of other countries. It includes:
  • "prioritizing local agricultural production in order to feed the people, access of peasants and landless people to land, water, seeds, and credit. Hence the need for land reforms, for fighting against GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms), for free access to seeds, and for safeguarding water as a public good to be sustainably distributed;
  • the right of farmers, peasants to produce food and the right of consumers to be able to decide what they consume, and how and by whom it is produced;
  • the right of Countries to protect themselves from too low priced agricultural and food imports;
  • agricultural prices linked to production costs : they can be achieved if the Countries or Unions of States are entitled to impose taxes on excessively cheap imports, if they commit themselves in favour of a sustainable farm production, and if they control production on the inner market so as to avoid structural surpluses;
  • the populations taking part in the agricultural policy choices;
  • the recognition of women farmers’ rights, who play a major role in agricultural production and in food."
This concept was developed by La Via Campesina and brought to the public debate during the World Food Summit in 1996. It represents an alternative to neoliberal policies, which prioritise international trade, instead of food for the people.

"International institutions such as IMF (International Monetary Fund), the World Bank, and WTO (World Trade Organization) have implemented those policies dictated by the interests of large transnational companies and superpowers"...

Food Sovereignty: Now!

A response to the Global Food Prices Crisis, La Via Campesina
Food sovereignty, La Via Campesina
Can sustainable agriculture feed the world?, Food First
IPC Food Sovereignty
Nyéléni 2007, Forum pour la Souverainté Alimentaire

16 March 2008

When I grow up

This is a video piece from "enoughsenough" campaigning against the expansion of Heathrow Airport, one of the busiest airports in Europe, raising the issue of our responsibility towards the future generations.

With the expansion of this airport it is expected that the number of flights using it will nearly double, with its consequent increase on greenhouse emissions.

Even though most governments now claim to be seriously concerned with Climate Change, promising changes in policies and signing international treaties, there is still no real sign of shaking the business-as-usual status quo...

Stop Heathrow Expansion Campaign
Stop Heathrow Expansion, Greenpeace UK

08 March 2008

Stop the violence against Women!!

Today is the International Women's Day, a day dedicated to all Women in the world and celebrated since the early 1900s.

Yet, according to UNIFEM, the United Nations Development Fund for Women, "one in three women will suffer some form of violence in her lifetime, becoming part of an epidemic that devastates lives, fractures communities and stalls development."

This means over one billion people are victims of violence just because they were born a Woman!

The source of this global injustice is of course the problem of gender inequality, which is still so much embedded in our societies and should be eradicated once and for all.

Towards this end, there needs to be concerted actions on the advocacy end, for the establishment and compliment of adequate legislation that protect Women, as well as on the development end, with empowerment actions targeted at Women and support for Women organisations.

Initiatives such as the UN Trust Fund to End Violence against Women, that support "innovative projects to prevent violence that are run by community, national and regional organizations" should be praised and multiplied.

Within the "Say not to violence" campaign, the reader can sign a petition demanding the end of this shameful human rights violation.

This post is dedicated to all the Women, mothers and sisters of our Planet.

International Women's Day 2008
Violence against women, UNIFEM
UN Trust Fund to End Violence Against Women, UNIFEM
Say no to violence campaign, UNIFEM
Say no to violence petition, UNIFEM

01 March 2008

Blackwater, modern day mercenaries

Here is a small video piece, done by Jeremy Scahill, a reporter of The Nation, on Blackwater activities in Iraq and elsewhere...

Blackwater, by Jeremy Scahill
Bush's Shadow Army, The Nation
Our Mercenaries in Iraq, Democracy Now!

29 February 2008


Greenpeace has taken another step in promoting a sustainable use of our natural resources in a world of ever-growing consumption.

In EfficienCity, a multimedia-packed interactive virtual town (with some good pioneering examples), they demonstrate how to lower greenhouse gas emissions and achieve more secure energy supply, with consequent cheaper electricity and heating bills.

In this virtual model they advocate the principle of decentralised energy, where small Combined Heat and Power (CHP) plants can provide most of the energy needs of a town in an extremely efficient manner.

"It's the most efficient way possible to burn fuel because so little energy is lost as waste heat. (...) Because the heat needs to be captured and piped around the local district, CHP plants are usually sited in the towns and cities where the electricity and heat will be used. This makes it more efficient for electricity generation as well as heat; very little energy is lost in transmission.

CHP is also brilliant in the transition from a fossil-fuelled energy system to one based on cleaner, greener fuels like biogas and biomass. CHP plants can run on a variety of fuels, which means that the fuel mix can include fossil fuels like natural gas but, as more cleaner fuels like biogas become more available, they can switch to those."

Apart from the CHP plant, the decentralised energy system they propose also makes use of local renewable energy sources (such as solar, wind, tidal or wave power).

It is also a flexible and scalable system that can fit the local needs. This way, instead of depending on one single massive power plant, different infrastructures can have their own power sources, such as a small CHP or a single wind turbine, for example.

Such a system can improve energy security as when "using hundreds of small energy generators instead of a few major ones means there's a far lower risk of system failure; it's far less likely that several small plants will fail at the same time than that one big plant will."

Finally, efficiency means not only a great deal less resources consumed, with its positive impacts on greenhouse gas emissions, but also, at the individual level it means a great deal saved by every energy consumer, i.e. us, the citizen. In short, a better life quality by all standards.

So, the next step is to convince the big energy (oil, coal, nuclear, etc.) lobbies to give up their monopolies and everyone, the people, the planet and all other living beings, will thank them! Not an easy task to do, though...

EfficienCity, Greenpeace UK
All about EfficienCity, Greenpeace UK
Make your town climate-friendly, Greenpeace UK

19 February 2008

Stamp Out Poverty campaign

Stamp Out Poverty is a network of more than 50 UK organisations, trade unions and faith groups, which campaigns for additional sources of finance to bridge the massive funding gap required to bring the world’s poorest people out of poverty.

"Without additional, sustainable and predictable finance, the Millennium Development Goals, agreed to at the United Nations in 2000 - which range from halving extreme poverty to halting the spread of HIV/AIDS and providing universal primary education, all by the target date of 2015 – cannot be achieved."

Here is the Stamp Out Poverty Declaration:
  • "We are committed to the implementation of additional sources of finance, specifically duties or levies, to generate reliable income streams for the provision of long term sustainable development; and to combat, where linked, causes of poverty such as economic and environmental harm to developing countries.
  • In the light of the Millennium Development Goals – the historic accord in the year 2000 by all UN countries to halve world poverty by 2015 – there is an international agreement to improve the human condition worldwide through the provision of basic amenities such as clean water and essential healthcare and education.
  • Current avenues of development assistance - traditional overseas aid, debt relief and improved terms of trade - are neither providing an urgent enough response to stop preventable disease and death, nor generating the necessary funds to pay for the Millennium Development Goals and bring sufficient numbers of people out of poverty.
  • The first ‘development tax’, agreed in 2006, in the form of the Air Ticket Levy - whose funds provide treatment for HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis – sets an important precedent for further progress in this field.
  • We urge decision-makers, in the UK and internationally, to take all steps necessary for an early introduction of new and additional financing initiatives, such as a stamp duty on sterling currency transactions, with proceeds ring-fenced for sustainable international development objectives.
  • We further urge decision-makers to ensure that such proceeds do not replace either existing international aid disbursements, agreed commitments to increase international aid or provision to cancel the debts of developing countries."
Another initiative within the philosophy of the Tobin taxes... Will it ever be a reality?

Stamp Out Poverty
Tobin Tax Initiative
The UN Millennium Development Goals, UN

14 February 2008

Preserving paradise in Phoenix Islands

Kiribati has recently established the world's largest marine protected area - the Phoenix Islands Protected Area (PIPA), in a total of 410,500-square-kilometer of one of the Earth's last intact oceanic coral archipelago ecosystems.

After several years of joint scientific research between Kiribati and the New England Aquarium, with funding and technical assistance from Conservation International, PIPA was first created in March 2006. On the 30th of January 2008, Kiribati adopted formal regulations that more than doubled the original size of PIPA making it the largest marine protected area on Earth.

Russell A. Mittermeier, the President of Conservation International said: "the creation of this amazing marine protected area by a small island nation in the Pacific represents a commitment of historic proportions; and all of this by a country that is under serious threat from sea-level rise attributed to global warming. The Republic of Kiribati has now set a standard for other countries in the Pacific and elsewhere in the world. We are proud to be associated with this effort that helps the people of Kiribati, and we call on governments and private conservation groups everywhere to support Kiribati in its efforts and make similar commitments to protect their own natural systems."

Kiribati is working together with the Conservation International, the New England Aquarium and other partners to design "an endowment system that will cover the core recurring management costs of PIPA and compensate the government for the foregone commercial fishing license revenues. This plan allows for subsistence fishing by resident communities and other sustainable economic development in designated zones of the protected area."

"Keeping oceans and marine ecosystems intact and healthy allows them to better resist the impacts of climate change and continue their natural role of sequestering atmospheric carbon that causes global warming."

In 2007 Kiribati has applied to have the marine reserve listed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO for its Outstanding Universal Value.

Te Mauri and Te Raoi (Good Health and Peace)!

Phoenix Islands Protected Area (PIPA)
Phoenix Islands Movie, PIPA
World's largest marine protected area created in Pacific Ocean, Conservation International
Pheonix expedition reports, Primal Ocean Project, Global Marine Programs, New England Aquarium
Phoenix Islands World Heritage Area submission, UNESCO

13 February 2008

Voices from all around the Globe

Global Voices is a non-profit global citizens’ media project, which seeks to "aggregate, curate, and amplify the global conversation online - shining light on places and people other media often ignore."

It is a co-operative effort of contributors from every continent and it's core values are expressed in a document called the "Global Voices Manifesto", drafted collectively by many bloggers around the world:

"We believe in free speech: in protecting the right to speak — and the right to listen. We believe in universal access to the tools of speech.

To that end, we seek to enable everyone who wants to speak to have the means to speak — and everyone who wants to hear that speech, the means to listen to it.

Thanks to new tools, speech need no longer be controlled by those who own the means of publishing and distribution, or by governments that would restrict thought and communication. Now, anyone can wield the power of the press. Everyone can tell their stories to the world.

We seek to build bridges across the gulfs that divide people, so as to understand each other more fully. We seek to work together more effectively, and act more powerfully.

We believe in the power of direct connection. The bond between individuals from different worlds is personal, political and powerful. We believe conversation across boundaries is essential to a future that is free, fair, prosperous and sustainable - for all citizens of this planet.

While we continue to work and speak as individuals, we also seek to identify and promote our shared interests and goals. We pledge to respect, assist, teach, learn from, and listen to one other.

We are Global Voices."

It aims at:
  • amplifying the voices of bloggers and content creators often ignored by other media;
  • helping to develop and refine tools and resources that encourage global dialogue and the freedom of online expression;
  • advocating against censorship and promote the safety of bloggers who live under autocratic regimes;
  • foster diversity and the emergence of new citizens’ voices through training and outreach.
Global Voices has an Advocacy program, which "seeks to build a global anti-censorship network of bloggers and online activists throughout the developing world that is dedicated to protecting freedom of expression and free access to information online."

This network aims at raising awareness about online freedom of speech issues, share global tools and tactics with activists and bloggers facing similar situations in different places, and to produce educational guides about anonymous blogging, anti-censorship campaigns, and online organizing.

Global Voices also has an outreach initiative, called "Rising Voices", which "aims to extend the benefits and reach of citizen media by connecting online media activists around the world and supporting their best ideas."

Finally, it has the "Lingua" project, which "seeks to amplify Global Voices in languages other than English with the help of volunteer translators."

At the moment, Global Voices is being translated into Bangla, Chinese (Traditional and Simplified), Farsi, French, Portuguese and Spanish languages. The extension into Arabic, German, Hindi, Japanese and Malagasy languages is under way...

Good reading and keep informed!

Global Voices Online
Global Voices Lingua
Global Voices Advocacy
Rising Voices

06 February 2008

Democracy charade

Human Rights Watch has recently published their annual World Report, with extensive reviews on human rights practices around the globe

On this issue, and in an essay called "Despots Masquerading as Democrats", Kenneth Roth, executive director of the organization, focuses on the breach and disrespect for Democracy and Human Rights by Autocratic regimes, which are legitimised and supported by Western governments (such as the ones of the US and the EU) because of their interests in "resources, commercial opportunities, and short-sighted visions of security."

According to the report, "democracy has become the sine qua non of legitimacy", which makes that "even overt dictators aspire to the status conferred by the democracy label". These rulers have therefore "mastered the art of democratic rhetoric that bears little relationship to their practice of governing. (...) Electoral fraud, political violence, press censorship, repression of civil society, even military rule have all been used to curtail the prospect that the proclaimed process of democratization might actually lead to a popular say in government."

Kenneth Roth attributes part of the reason why this is possible to the fact that, unlike international human rights law, “democracy” has no legally established definition. "There is no International Convention on Democracy, no widely ratified treaty affirming how a government must behave to earn the democracy label. The meaning of democracy lies too much in the eye of the beholder." This allows tyrants to be ("with a bit of maneuvering") labelled as "democrats", without having the need to comply with international human rights laws.

"The problem is compounded by inconsistency in promoting democracy—a long-standing problem. These days, for example, the US government’s vigorous criticism of democratic shortcomings tends to be reserved mainly for long-time adversaries or pariahs, such as Syria, Burma or Cuba. Washington has largely exempted such allies as Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, or Ethiopia, while its short-lived pressure on others, such as Egypt or Jordan, has waned. (...) This obvious double standard makes the promotion of democracy seem like an act of political convenience rather than a commitment of principle, weakening the pressure for real democratic change."

The report also promotes the recapture of the ideal of Democracy, central to the Human Rights cause, yet so susceptible of being manipulated. This thus requires " heightened attention to the clever subterfuges of its detractors."

"It is time to stop selling democracy on the cheap and to start substituting a broader and more meaningful vision of the concept that incorporates all human rights."

World Report 2008, Human Rights Watch
Despots Masquerading as Democrats, Human Rights Watch

02 February 2008

30 January 2008

Gandhi's wisdom

60 years after the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi, and in a world of ever greater violence, it is worth reading some of the quotations of this wise man about peace and non-violence:
  • "I object to violence because, when it appears to do good, the good is only temporary; the evil it does is permanent."
  • "Science of war leads one to dictatorship pure and simple. Science of non-violence can alone lead one to pure democracy."
  • "True democracy (...) can never come through untruthful and violent means, for the simple reason that the natural corollary to their use would be to remove all opposition through the suppression or extermination of the antagonists. That does not make for individual freedom. Individual freedom can have the fullest play only under a regime of unadulterated ahimsa (non-violence)."
  • "What difference does it make to the dead, the orphans and the homeless, whether the mad destruction is wrought under the name of totalitarianism or the holy name of liberty or democracy?"
  • "It is my firm conviction, that nothing enduring can be built upon violence."
  • "Peace will not come out of a clash of arms but out of justice lived and done by unarmed nations in the face of odds."
  • "Love is the strongest force the world possesses and yet it is the humblest imaginable."
  • "The first step in non-violence is that we cultivate in our daily life, as between ourselves, truthfulness, humility, tolerance and loving kindness."
Not surprisingly, these words remain as actual and as relevant as they can be in our present-day world of selfishness, intolerance and aggression...

Gandhi, Bombay Sarvodaya Mandal / Gujarat Vidyapith
GandhiServe Foundation
National Gandhi Museum

23 January 2008

Foreign policy in the way of Human Rights

On Friday the 18th, Canada's foreign ministry had placed the United States and Israel on a watch list of nations where prisoners risk being tortured, as part of a training course manual on torture awareness for Canadian diplomats.

This manual also classified some interrogation methods used by the US as torture, including forced nudity, isolation, sleep deprivation and blindfolding prisoners. Other countries on the watch list include Syria, China, Iran, Afghanistan, Mexico and Saudi Arabia.

However, a spokesman of the Canadian Foreign Minister office declared that "the training manual is not a policy document and does not reflect the views or policies of this government".

The government mistakenly provided the document to Amnesty International Canada as part of a court case the rights organization has launched against Ottawa over the treatment of detainees in Afghanistan. Subsequently, it was made available to several media outlets.

Both the US and Israel responded strongly to this list: "The United States does not permit, tolerate, or condone torture under any circumstances", said a spokeswoman for the U.S. embassy in Ottawa; and an Israeli embassy spokesman stated "If Israel is included in the list in question, the ambassador of Israel would expect its removal".

This is despite the numerous records on abuses on prisoners held by the US as confirmed by this statement from Human Rights Watch (HRW) organisation, as part of their "Torture and Abuse" folder:

"Each day brings more information about the appalling abuses inflicted upon men and women held by the United States in Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere around the world. U.S. forces have used interrogation techniques including hooding, stripping detainees naked, subjecting them to extremes of heat, cold, noise and light, and depriving them of sleep—in violation of the Geneva Conventions and the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment."

On Israel, HRW has published in their World Report 2003, "the Public Committee Against Torture in Israel reported that there appeared to be a gradual reversion to the use of torture" of Palestinian civilians, including children, while in detention, where "reports of ill-treatment were widespread, including kicking, beating, squalid conditions, and deprivation of food and drink."

After the reactions of representatives from these countries, the Canadian Foreign Minister Maxime Bernier said he regretted the embarrassment caused by the public disclosure of the manual: "It contains a list that wrongly includes some of our closest allies. I have directed that the manual be reviewed and rewritten."

Amnesty International Canada, which says it has ample evidence that prisoners are abused both in U.S. and Israeli jails, said it was disappointed by Bernier's announcement: "When it comes to an issue like torture, the government's main concern should not be embarrassing allies."

As a consequence, also Iran used this opportunity to discredit the document. The Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Mohammad-Ali Hosseini speaking to reporters on Monday said "the recent publication and the subsequent revision of the list under pressure from US and the Zionist regime demonstrates the biased judgement of the Canadian government."

So it seems, that when Human Rights issues interfere with foreign policy concerns the procedure is to "change the facts" according to the diplomatic demands...

Canada puts US and Israel on torture watch list, Reuters
Canada removes US and Israel from torture watch list, Reuters
Iran: Canada torture list is biased, Press TV
US Torture and Abuse of detainees, Human Rights Watch
World Report 2003: Middle East & Northern Africa, Human Rights Watch

15 January 2008

Act together for another world

"The World Social Forum (WSF) is a plural, diverse, non-government and non-party oriented open space of encounters. Its decentralized structure stimulates organizations and social movements engaged in concrete actions, from local to international level, for the construction of a more solidary, democratic and fair world. In its seven years of history, the WSF has built its trajectory in different formats, with different methodologies and preoccupations pointed out by mobilized movements, peoples and cultures."

"For 2008, the WSF and various organizations and movements call attention for a week that will reach its peak on January 26th , the Global Day of Mobilization and Action, which will gather different activities planned by organizations, movements or networks and/or spontaneous manifestations all around the planet, articulating its national and international connections. This joint mobilization will represent the struggle, the resistance and confrontation against neoliberal globalization, wars and oppression, in order to protect the planet and being certain that ANOTHER WORLD IS POSSIBLE!"

Check the WSF2008 website for actions in your area, to propose a new action or to support or promote the World Social Forum!

Fórum Social Mundial
WSF2008 - World Social Forum 2008
World Social Forum Chart of Principles
WSF2008: A Global Day of Action and Mobilisation

10 January 2008

100% renewable...

A pilot project, in Germany, called KombiKraftwerk (or Combined Power Plant) is showing that "renewable energy can secure 100 per cent of energy supplies in accordance with demand."

The initiative links 36 decentralised biogas plants, wind, solar and hydropower installations in a robust network to demonstrate that distributed power can replace both fossil fuels and nuclear power.

The use of intelligent control and regulation technology enables decentralised wind, solar, biogas and hydropower installations to be linked together so that fluctuations in the amount of electricity fed into the grid can be compensated for. The central control unit forms the core of the Combined Renewable Energy Power Plant. Here, the various output forecasts and measurement values are balanced and, based on these data, suitable schedules and control instructions are drawn up for each plant.

"The 'virtual power plant' is a concept well known in research. It means that individual, decentralised power plants are linked to one another via a central control unit using information technology. The Combined Power Plant applies this principle by using renewable energy sources only."

An information campaign for renewable energies called "Deutschland hat unendlich viel Energie" (Germany has endless energy), has had an important role in promoting this initiative.

The campaign
aims at strengthening the acceptance of renewable energies by the wide public, but also the media and policy-makers. It gathers information about the advantages of a lasting power supply on the basis of renewable energies, for dissemination.

Technically, there is nothing preventing us from 100 per cent provision with renewables."

The Combined Power Plant press release
Das Regenerative Kombikraftwerk
Deutschland hat unendlich viel Energie

05 January 2008

International Year of the Potato

Among many other things, 2008 is the International Year of the Potato (IYP), proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly, recalling resolution 4/2005 of the Conference of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), adopted on 25 November 2005.

According to the IYP official website, "the celebration of the International Year of the Potato will raise awareness of the importance of the potato - and of agriculture in general - in addressing issues of global concern, including hunger, poverty and threats to the environment".

The potato has been consumed in the Andes for about 8 000 years. Being taken to Europe in the 16th century, it quickly spread across the globe. Today, potato is the world's forth most important staple food crop (after rice, wheat and maize).

"The potato should be a major component in strategies aimed at providing nutritious food for the poor and hungry. (...) The potato produces more nutritious food more quickly, on less land, and in harsher climates than any other major crop - up to 85 percent of the plant is edible human food, compared to around 50% in cereals".

Potatoes are rich in carbohydrates (good source of energy), have a high protein content ("with an amino-acid pattern that is well matched to human requirements") and very rich in Vitamin C and potassium.

Still according to FAO, the IYP is an opportunity to make a valid and effective contribution towards meeting some of the UN Millennium Development Goals, namely:
  • Goal 1 - Erradicate extreme poverty and hunger;
  • Goal 2 - Reduce child mortality;
  • Goal 5 - Improve maternal health;
  • Goal 7 - Ensure environmental sustainability;
  • Goal 8 - Develop a global partnership for development.
Particularly, it is aimed at focusing global attention on:
  • the need to reach the vulnerable with solutions that reduce constraints, create opportunities, improve productivity and reduce risks in the farming systems on which they depend;
  • the need to alleviate poverty by increasing incomes and linking farmers to markets;
  • the range of actions needed to protect, conserve and utilize potato diversity;
  • solutions for sustainable intensification of farming systems that will stop or reverse the loss of natural resources.
One of IYP's key partners is the International Potato Centre (CIP), an international research institute dedicated to potatoes, sweetpotatoes and other root and tuber crops, with the aim of reducing poverty and achieving food security, on a sustainable basis, through improved management of natural resources.

The CIP will be organising many activities during the year. Most importantly, it will organise an international forum entitled "Potato Science for the Poor - Challenges for the New Millenium", a working conference to celebrate the IYP, to be held in Cuzco, Peru in 25-28th of March. The conference will explore the role of potato research and the development of potato-based systems in the heterogeneous developing world.

A good example of CIP's activities is its partnership programme "The Papa Andina Initiative", a regional initiative that promotes technological, commercial, and institutional innovation in the potato sector in Bolivia, Ecuador and Peru.

The Papa Andina's strategic partner in Peru is the project INCOPA (Innovation and Competitiveness of Peru's Potato Sector), which aims at identifying and implementing new market opportunities taking advantage of potato biodiversity of Peru, using a Participatory Market Chain Approach.

A Participatory Market Chain Approach is a participatory R&D method that has recently been developed. Involving different actors of market chains, it seeks to generate group innovations based on a well-led and -structured participatory process that gradually stimulates interest, trust and collaboration among members of the market chain.

This way, the project INCOPA has created a marketing concept of linking small-scale farmers from the Andean highlands in Peru to new urban markets, the "T'ika Papa". T’ika Papa promotes biodiversity conservation and environmentally friendly potato production techniques while giving farmers open access to technological assistance and innovation, encouraging local farmer’s associations and propagating the flow of market information.

T'ika Papa has been so successful that it has received several international awards, such as the UN Seed Awards 2007 (Supporting Entrepreneurs in Environment and Development) and the BBC/Newsweek/Shell World Challenge 2007 ("competition aimed at finding individuals or groups from around the world who have shown enterprise and innovation at a grass roots level"). Also, last 16th of October, the World Food Day 2007, FAO has recognised T'ika Papa as a successfull experience in the promotion of the small production of peasant communities.

Welcome to the International Year of the Potato!

International Year of the Potato, FAO
Potato Science for the Poor - Challenges for the New Millenium, CIP
T'ikapapa, INCOPA, CIP
The INCOPA project, CIP

The Papa Andina Initiavive, CIP
CIP - International Potato Centre
FAO - Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, UN