DECLARATION BY SPP GLOBAL’S VII GENERAL ASSEMBLY
Gathered together, as 130 representatives from small producers’ organizations and friends from twenty countries in Latin America, the Caribbean, Africa, Asia, Europe and North America, on June 21-24, 2018 in the city of Piura, the capital of the Piura region in northern Peru, we would like to make the following public declaration, approved by the VII General Assembly of the Small Producers’ Symbol (SPP).
As small producers’ organizations from around the globe, in alliance with buyers and consumers from all the world’s continents, we have demonstrated during recent decades that it is possible to build a democratic, inclusive and solidarity economy in harmony with the environment, and that small producers can accomplish this, working from the bottom up, as active subjects in our own development, and without needing to ask permission from anyone. We represent an international alliance of small organic producers—key actors in the fight for economic and social justice and for a healthy environment for all.
The dominant economy prevailing in today’s world is a dictatorship controlled by a small number of gigantic consortiums that are continually strengthening their power through mergers, forced buy-outs and strategic alliances. The thousands of brands of the most common products in the global market are actually property of these few consortiums.
For us, a very significant example of these powers is the Bayer company, which makes chemical products and which recently acquired the Monsanto company—the company that has primary control of the global market for seeds and agro-chemicals.
For the millions of small producers of coffee, cacao, fruit, grains, panela, herbs, spices, crafts and other basic food and artisan products, the dominant economy represents a severe threat to our survival.
Although the FAO reports that nearly 80% of the world’s food is produced by small producers’ families, it is the huge food consortiums that determine the market value of these products.
Those of us who are small producers whose livelihoods depend on the sale of these products in the poorly-named free market have no other option but to sell our products to the highest bidder, or more precisely, to the least worst of the bidders.
Large producers decrease their production costs by hiring cheap labor and through ecological exploitation. Small producers do not wish to exploit anyone or anything. They live in the midst of their communities, working with the labor force from their families and communities, and surrounded by natural resources, and thus ecological devastation or the destruction of their local economies are not within the options they would consider.
For this reason, however, small producers will never be able to compete with large producers in terms of production costs, and therefore need to receive better prices for their products.
At the same time, large-scale production cannot compete with small-scale production in terms of social, economic and ecological benefits. Large companies externalize social and ecological costs, and make the entire society pay for the havoc caused.
Furthermore, large production companies are unpredictable. Today, they invest in one region and in a product that is increasingly more artificial and harmful to human health and to the planet, and tomorrow, they will abandon the product in the name of increased profitability.
This VII General Assembly of SPP Global has therefore decided to intensify its activities in positioning the SPP in society and the global market, to demonstrate that we are the families of organized small producers, to show that our organic products and our environment are part of our family and we care for them and cherish them as such, and to bring visibility to our products’ ecological and economic benefits for humanity and for the planet.
At SPP, we have decided to strengthen our financial and commercial strategy for the good of all and especially for the good of our consumers. We have decided to continue to work in diversifying our production and promoting the great variety of our products in local and international markets.
SPP’s General Assembly has expressed its great concern for the increasingly harsh nature of laws for introducing our organic products into European markets, and we will be developing strategies to prevent these new rules from excluding us from access to markets.
Lastly, we are concerned by the urgency of our need to recuperate, defend and make use of the rights of communal and original peoples, as we are among them.
SPP is the voice of small producers in the international market and in response to local and international public and private policies. We small producers will continue to fight for our rights for many more years, working together with our allies and through our democratic organizations to defend and promote the value of our work and to contribute to a better world that is more fair, ecological, democratic, egalitarian, diversified and inclusive.
Piura, Piura, Peru
June 22, 2018