Lobby group wants Nairobi WTO conference stopped
17 December 2015, 11:13
Nairobi - An International farmer's lobby group wants the ongoing 10th World Trade Organization (WTO) ministerial Conference talks in Nairobi stopped because the global body has no agenda for poor people from developing nations.
The group La Via Campesina (LVC) which has membership in 73 countries from Africa, Asia, Europe and the Americas is holding a parallel two day seminar in the capital city with its local partners who include Bunge La Mwanchi, World March of Women Kenya, among others, to denounce WTO.
Over 164 local and national organizations from across the globe are members of LVC, a movement that brings together millions of peasants, small and medium-size farmers, landless people, women farmers, migrants and agricultural workers.
Speaking Wednesday on behalf of the group at a press briefing in Nairobi, Delmah Ndlovi said the free trade championed by WTO will only benefit multi-national corporations and further impoverish poor farmers and workers.
Ndlovi who is also the national vice chairperson of the Zimbabwe Small Holder Organic Farmers Forum (ZIMSOFF) observed that WTO has no interest of African countries and other developing nations at heart, but is only trying to seek acceptability in the continent.
"The WTO is trying to reinvent itself to appear as if it cares about Africa and has solutions to a myriad of problems like increasing poverty and unemployment. The organization which promotes interests of developed countries and transnational corporations is to blame for ruin of most African economies which are agriculture -based," said Ndlovu.
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"Kenya and other African countries should not be hoodwinked to embrace WTO. The country and other member states from developing nations all over the globe should pull out of the WTO. If they don't, they will get a raw deal that will kill their economies, peasants, consumers, industries and livelihoods," he explained.
Cidi Otieno, the President of Bunge la Mwananchi noted that the negotiations by most African countries at the conference are market driven, and there is no mechanism to protect local farmers, consumers and even entrepreneurs.
"The WTO is a neo-colonialism tool as it only boosts the interests of foreign corporations and the rich. There is nothing in the cards for the majority poor people from struggling nations like Kenya. It only entrenches capitalism system," he said.
Hae-Yeon Chung, spokeswoman of the Korean Peasants League lamented that poor countries in the wold have not reaped a single benefit from WTO for the last 20 years of its existence. She pointed out that the organization has only threatened the livelihood of small farmers and peasants who feed 70 per cent of the world population.
Representatives of organizations from India, Indonesia, Japan, Thailand, Norway and the US among others championing for the same cause were present.
The lobby group has organized street demonstrations today in the streets of Nairobi to express their displeasure with WTO. According to the Organizers of the demo which is planned to end at KICC, they are determined to make the Nairobi 10th WTO Ministerial Conference the last one.
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