On the 18th of October, Grape Producers Union (Üzüm-SEN), a member union of the Small Farmers Unions Confederation (Çiftçi-SEN) organised an assembly of grape producers under the banner 'The problems of grape producers and food sovereignty'.
To organise this event, members of Üzüm-SEN and leaders of Çiftçi-SEN visited more than 70 villages in 3 towns, organised small assemblies and forums, listened to the problems of the producers and invited them to participate in the assembly. During these visits, around 3,000 pamphlets were distributed. One was an invitation to the assembly and the other was about the effects of climate change and geothermal power plants on grape production. Moreover, around 1,000 posters were put on the walls in villages, bus stops, shops, cafes and other places.
The assembly took around 3 hours, during which a number of different topics were discussed. Amongst the issues on the table were the effects of geothermal plants and mining projects on grape production and the way food corporations determine food markets. The grape producers also explained how the war on the Turkish border and the problems with neighbouring countries affect the export and price of food. They told how the government is trying to liquidate the Agriculture Sales Cooperatives, and that producers must struggle against this process.
Here are the results from the speeches of the producers who attended to the assembly:
- We need to struggle against the energy projects which poison land, water, air and people.
- We need to struggle against the liquidation of cooperatives, and struggle to democratise them.
- We need to struggle for peace.
- We need to develop our internationalist solidarity among producers in Turkey and around the world.
- We need to be aware that 'food sovereignty' is not just the struggle of producers; consumers, academics, fisherfolk, ecologists, and people living in cities should also be included in the struggle, and we need to build up solidarity and campaign networks.
- We need to develop our organisational capacity as a union, develop agroecology and organisational formation.
Grape Producers Union (ÜZÜM-SEN), Turkey