Farming campaign boycotts conference over City’s ‘annihilation’

Cape Town – Members of the Philippi Horticultural Area (PHA) Food and Farming Campaign have boycotted the Agroecology for the 21st Century conference.

Yesterday, they picketed outside the venue. The PHA campaign withdrew from the conference they were invited to, saying they would not share the stage with the government.

Chairperson of the campaign Nazeer Sonday said they objected to the City of Cape Town and representatives from the provincial department of agriculture being there.

“We will not appear on the same platform as those who seek to annihilate small-scale farmers in the PHA, destroy the unique and irreplaceable breadbasket of the city, deny the need for land reform and who actively engage in the greenwash of agroecology.

“We thus object, in its entirety, to the hosting of CoCT (City of Cape Town) and DEADP (Department of Environmental Affairs and Development Planning) speakers at this conference purporting to promote Agroecology. 

"In our experience of 10 years, they abuse the power of their office and talk green while acting right. Neither sustainability nor acceptable environmental practice features in their governing practice.”

The PHA campaign was embroiled in a dispute with the City and provincial government over proposed developments in the PHA.

Sonday said the City and the government’s legal stance confirmed that their intent was to destroy the city’s food supply and the city’s best chance for food security.

“The CoCT and the Western Cape Provincial Department of Agriculture (WCPDA), via the 2018 Indego Study, have ‘engaged with the community’ and have done ‘public participation’. 

"In reality this study simply endorsed the final assault on the PHA, deleting one-third of its hectarage and endorsing all the developments.”

Organisers for the event said the campaign’s picket did not affect the conference, but their input could have been valuable.

Mayoral committee member for spatial planning and environment, Marian Nieuwoudt, said: “The Philippi Horticultural Area Food and Farming Campaign launched litigation in the Western High Court to review and set aside some of the decisions taken by the Western Cape provincial government, as well as the City of Cape Town. 

"The City’s legal team is preparing the City’s answering affidavit. Given that the matter is before the court, we will not comment until such time as the matter has been concluded.”

The Agroecology for the 21st Century Conference brings together about 200 regional activists, academics, small-scale farmers and policymakers to explore ways of rapidly moving southern Africa towards an agroecological future.

Through a series of interventions across sectors and disciplines, they will discuss how to galvanise the transition from a failing industrial food system to one that produces safe and nutritious food in a socially and economically just manner.

The conference takes place from January 28 to 30 at the Centre of the Book, the Iziko Museum and the Spin Street Gallery.

“The CoCT and the Western Cape Provincial Department of Agriculture (WCPDA), via the 2018 Indego Study, have ‘engaged with the community’ and have done ‘public participation’. 

"In reality this study simply endorsed the final assault on the PHA, deleting one-third of its hectarage and endorsing all the developments.”

Organisers of the event said the campaign’s picket did not affect the conference, but their input could have been valuable.

Mayoral committee member for spatial planning and environment, Marian Nieuwoudt, said: “The Philippi Horticultural Area Food and Farming Campaign launched litigation in the Western High Court to review and set aside some of the decisions taken by the Western Cape provincial government and the City of Cape Town. 

"The City’s legal team is preparing the City’s answering affidavit. Given that the matter is before the court, we will not comment until such time as the matter has been concluded.”

The Agroecology for the 21st Century Conference brings together about 200 regional activists, academics, small-scale farmers and policymakers to explore ways of rapidly moving southern Africa towards an agroecological future. 

"They will discuss how to galvanise the transition from a failing industrial food system to one that produces safe and nutritious food in a socially and economically just manner.

The conference is from January 28 to 30 at the Centre of the Book, the Iziko Museum and Spin Street Gallery.

Cape Times

107939267 - Farming campaign boycotts conference over City's 'annihilation'

1 Comment

Leave a Reply