There are an estimated 500 million smallholder farms in the developing world which provide livelihoods for 2 billion people and produce about 80% of the food consumed in Asia and sub-Saharan Africa. It is these small farmers who truly contribute to global food security.
Although support from urban-based students and activists was important, the rural protest in Indonesia during President Suharto's regime was built on continued protest and organisation around land issues.
This paper attempts to specify the key criteria of a ‘pro-poor land policy’ and ‘truly democratic land governance’ concerning state/public lands, using the lessons from activist databases, including that of the international human rights organization Foodfirst Information and Action Network (FIAN).
Brazil has not experienced any sort of major agrarian reform since then, but dozens of rural movements have been organised and hundreds of thousands of landless peasants have acquired the right of access to land (especially through settlement projects) as a result of these social movements’ struggles. After so many years of fighting and popular mobilisation, what are these movements’ contributions to building rural democracy? This study seeks to understand this process by evaluating social movements’ alliances (both rural and urban alliances) and evaluating their relationships with political parties, especially with the Workers Party (Partido dos Trabalhadores – PT) and with the Brazilian Federal Government.
Has political regime change led to changes in state-society relations? This study begins to address this question by analysing rural movement efforts to exercise newly-won citizen rights. The specific focus is on rural civil society initiatives to use the “right to know” as a tool to bolster long-standing campaigns to build self-managed, community-based economic development institutions, to bolster peasant influence over the policy process, to defend human rights, and to respect indigenous rights.
To be a strong peasant movement in a place like Chokwe, Mozambique requires going beyond ambiguous compromises to develop collective political thinking and to develop the capacity to use political power in ways that ensure that governmental and non-governmental organisations that help the peasantry act in line with what peasants wish and need.
Vía Campesina’s ‘Global Campaign for Agrarian Reform’ has made a significant impact (inter)nationally in reshaping the terms of the land reform debates, but its impact on other land policy dynamics has been marginal.
In 2006–08, food shortages became a global reality, with the prices of commodities spiraling beyond the reach of vast numbers of people. International agencies were caught flatfooted, with the World Food Program warning that its rapidly diminishing food stocks might not be able to deal with the emergency.