Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

Palestinian Farmers Win Food Sovereignty Prize

Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

Palestinian Farmers Win Food Sovereignty Prize

Article excerpt

At an Oct. 15 ceremony at the Iowa Historical Building, the U.S. Food Sovereignty Alliance awarded the group's 2014 Food Sovereignty Prize to the Union of Agricultural Work Committees (UAWC) of Palestine.

"Poverty without controlling your food means true suffering, both poverty and hunger. If you can control at least your food, you can survive. For us food sovereignty is a tool of struggle against the occupation," explained UAWC board chairman Ali Abd El Rahman, who was visiting the U.S. from Jerusalem for the first time.

El Rahman told a packed auditorium that the UAWC, founded in 1986, is dedicated to assisting Palestinian farmers in the West Bank and Gaza in the fight for sovereignty over their trade and their land.

"The Israeli occupation controls every small detail of Palestinian life, the water, the electricity, the food, the movement, anything you can imagine," El Rahman said.

UAWC works mostly with small-scale farmers, he added, and believes in food sovereignty for Palestine.

"For us agriculture is not only how much share we have in the gross national product; it is not just the thousands working in agricultural sectors; it is not only income," he explained. "For us agriculture is a style of life, our heritage, our connection of people to their land."

The group offers farmers access to education, training on best practices and techniques, and support and solidarity in the face of daily challenges to their livelihood.

"The most important factor is to be connected to community," he stated. …

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