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Social movements should maintain the mobilization so agroecology will not be co-opted.

International peasant movement Via Campesina denounced a commercial interpretation of “agroecology” that they do not identify with, the movement stated in a communique Thursday.

The statement followed the seminar promoted by the FAO (the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization) in Brasilia, which discussed between June 24-26 strategies of strengthening “agroecology” in Latin America.

According to Via Campesina’s Peter Rosset, the agroecological matter is living two processes.  One is recently promoted by institutions like the FAO, which seeks to consolidate a commercial type of agroecology. The other one has been carried out by social movements and includes various types of knowledges, shared among peasants, native peoples, rural workers, and others.

“We are at a time of dispute between these two visions of agroecology, and we are attending this event in order to close off this dispute,” said Rosset.

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On one hand, various ministries of agriculture in the region have been promoting policies of agroecology. However, this pattern represented in his opinion “an opportunity, but also a threat, because without the mobilization of social movements, these policies could end up supporting a commercial type of agroecology.”

It is crucial that these organizations mobilize so these new policies eventually support a popular-peasant agroecology, he added.

In recent years, agroecology has started to raise the interest of international and regional bodies and governments, although this approach was ignored for decades when promoted by peasant movements like Via Campesina. Concerns about the effects of climate change have been the main driving force of this interest, as agroecology is more and more perceived as the most obvious response to both mitigate these effects and guarantee food security needs.

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