PANUPS: Asia/Pacific Food Campaign

                         P A N U P S
                   Pesticide Action Network 
                        North America
                       Updates Service

February 7, 1997

Asia/Pacific Campaign to Eat Smart! Healthy! Local!

Citizens' groups throughout the Asia Pacific region have 
joined together in a campaign to promote healthful, safe, 
locally-grown food. The Safe Food Campaign, coordinated by 
the Pesticide Action Network Asia and the Pacific (PAN AP), 
supports sustainable agriculture practices, which preclude 
the use of chemical inputs, as the way towards a safe and 
secure food supply. Sarojeni V. Rengam, PAN AP director, 
stated "We are launching this joint campaign not only to call 
for production and availability of food that is nutritious 
and safe for human consumption, but also to protect the 
health and livelihoods of the producers of our food -- our 
farmers, especially women farmers, fisherfolks, indigenous 
communities and our workers." Activities are being held 
throughout the region by partner groups in Malaysia, 
Indonesia, India, New Zealand and Sri Lanka.

Eating food that is locally grown is a key aspect of the Safe 
Food Campaign. According to the Campaign, countries which 
participate in a deregulated global food system are likely to 
find sustainable local food systems weakened by reliance upon 
foreign suppliers. Strengthening rural and indigenous sectors 
by creating demand for safely produced, local foods would 
foster a more just, equitable and sustainable relationship 
between consumers and producers -- and could possibly turn 
the tide on problems of food security.

Highlighting the crucial role women play in ensuring food 
security is also an important part of the Campaign. In Asia, 
women perform over 50% of the labor involved in intensive 
rice cultivation. Women also have much of the responsibility 
for and knowledge of sustainable agriculture systems, and 
they play a key role in preserving and utilizing 

The Campaign also views the right to food as a basic human 
right. As stated in the Bangkok Declaration for the World 
Food Summit (1996), signed by many organizations throughout 
the Asia Pacific region, "People need food to be available, 
accessible and have power to access it, and freedom of choice 
with regard to the food they produce and consume. 
Decentralized and democratic systems of food production and 
distribution are essential to people's participation in food 

A range of activities were held throughout the region to 
launch the campaign in each country. In Malaysia, PAN AP 
collaborated with local groups on a Seminar of Safe Food; 
exhibitions on local fruits and dangers of pesticides; farmer 
to farmer exchanges; and a "kenduri" (Malay style feast) 
featuring local foods. In Aotearoa/New Zealand, a coalition 
of seven groups organized a "Safe Food Day," and called for a 
nationwide boycott of the country's "dirty dozen" foods -- 
the 12 foods most highly contaminated with pesticide 
residues. Fifteen organizations came together in Sri Lanka 
for a march and rally with the theme of "Pesticides, Food 
Security and Safety," which included street theater entitled 
"Pesticides and Death." In Indonesia, events have been taking 
place around the country to promote biodynamic and organic 
farming. PAN Indonesia has also been working to raise public 
awareness about residues of "Dirty Dozen" pesticides on food.

There have been a series of events in India linked to the 
Campaign. The Pesticide Free Community Vegetable Production 
Program began in September 1996 and involves over 100 farmers 
who grow produce that is sold directly to 300 families in 
local communities. In December, the India Rural 
Reconstruction and Disaster Response Service (PREPARE) 
organized a rally attended by thousands of coastal fisherfolk 
and agricultural workers in Andhra Pradesh to demand safe 
food and protection of marine food.

Source: Pesticide Monitor, Volume 5, December 1996.
Contacts: PAN Asia and the Pacific, P.O. Box 1170, 10850 
Penang, Malaysia; phone (60-4) 657 0271; fax (60-4) 657 7445; 
email PANAP@geo2.poptel.org.uk.
"Eat Smart! Healthy! Local! -- Safe & Secure Food for 
Tomorrow" and two accompanying posters are available from PAN 
Asia and the Pacific for US$10. 
PREPARE, 4 Sathalvar Street, Mogappair West, Madras - 600 
058, India; phone (91-41) 654 211
PAN Indonesia, Jalan Persada Raya No. 1, Palbatu Menteng 
Dalam, Jakarta 12870, Indonesia; phone (62-21) 829 545; fax 
(62-21) 798 1038.
PAN Aotearoa New Zealand, PO Box 46-076, Herne Bay, Auckland, 
New Zealand; meriel@ccul.auckland.ac.nz.
Community Education Centre, 17, Talahena, Malabe, Sri Lanka; 
phone (94-1) 866 053.

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