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Does peasantry pay the price for a more European Turkey?

By Asutay Meriç, Agrobiodiversity Campaign Intern at Eco Ruralis Following a contentious and  controversial election in Turkey politicians seem to continuously highlight that Turkey is Europe’s first and the World’s 7th largest agricultural producer. Roughly 80% of the hazelnut production, and most  of the fruit and veg that is exported into the EU comes from Turkey. These figures sound impressive. However, for the last decade Turkish peasantry which holds nearly two-thirds of the Turkish farms has been the poorest segment of the society. Their political, economical and cultural rights are constantly violated by the ruling Government itself. According to the Turkish National Institute of Statistics (TNIS) (pdf), agriculture makes up 8,4% of the national income and 25 % of the employment. Its 38.6 million hectares of utilized agricultural land has a segmented structure where an average plot size has around 5 hectares. Turkey, an EU candidate country for more than 15 years, has a very large utilized agricultural areas compared to other European countries. Having such a strong rural base, the country has always been […]

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“Peasant” is not a bad word … but what does it mean?!

Written By:  Derek Freitas, Food Chains Campaign Coordinator for Eco Ruralis   General Context The word “peasant” is used in all sorts of ways to mean different things by many groups of people across the world. It is indeed very hard to define. This is particularly problematic due to the fact that the majority of decision-makers related to establishing agricultural policy at the national, EU and global levels don’t have an accepted reference point for understanding one another in a basic sense. Often, the only time when self-ascribed “peasants” feel that they are accurately portrayed is when they explain what that word means to them. But, again, even they disagree based on cultural, historical, geographical and individual differences.   Global Context The international peasant movement, La Via Campesina, calls for an International Convention on the Rights of Peasants and states the following in Article I of its own “Declaration on the Rights of Peasants – Women and Men”: “A peasant is a man or woman of the land, who has a direct and special relationship […]