Tag Archives: Agriculture

Two Mapuche Communities Obtain Land Rights After 15 Years

In recent days, the Chilean government, through CONADI (Chile’s Indigenous development corporation) has returned title to lands in two different Mapuche communities. In the Mapuche community of Manuel Levinao (located in the Lautaro commune of the Araucanía region), 250 hectares (~1 square mile) were returned after being purchased by the Chilean government for nearly US$ 1.8 million. Meanwhile, the Mapuche community of Los Maitenes de Rihue (located in the Cañete commune of the Araucanía region) was given land title to a small parcel of land (~.04 square miles) valued at US$ 76,000. This small parcel increased the community’s land holdings to 265.3 hectares (~1.02 square miles), which the Chilean government has been slowly acquiring and returning to the community since 1997. Continue reading

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Chile Announces Project to Restore Ancestral Gardens of the Rapa Nui People

From 500 to 1500 C.E., the Rapa Nui people utilized a type of gardening that relied on small, semi-circular stone structures known as “manavai” to protect plants from wind and other harmful elements. Now, a joint project involving the municipal government on Easter Island, the Chilean national forestry corporation (CONAF), and the Inter-American Development Bank, are seeking to restore a number of these ancestral gardens — the ruins of which many still exist. The long-term goal is to preserve Rapa Nui agriculture, promote cultural education, and increase ethno-tourism on the Island. Continue reading

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Twenty-Seven Mapuche Communities Sign Agreement to Export Agricultural Products

Today, it was reported that, Kiñe wun lof Mapu, an Indigenous association comprised of more than 1500 small Mapuche agricultural producers from 27 different Mapuche communities, signed an agreement with the corporation, Socomal. The agreement included an investment of nearly US$ 400,000 in helping the Mapuche producers get trained and develop more than 2,400 acres of land for the production of beans and lupins. Ultimately, those goods will be sold at market prices and shipped globally — including to Europe and the Middle East. Continue reading

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Chilean Constitutional Court Orders Protection of Indigenous Seeds

On Friday, June 24th, the Chilean Constitutional Court rules on the constitutionality of UPOV 91 — the International Convention for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants –which essentially gives property and other rights to the “breeders” of new seed variants. UPOV 91 has been consistently opposed by Indigenous peoples who have argued that the Convention will hurt Indigenous farmers and has the potential to rob Indigenous peoples of their cultural property.  Ultimately, the Court ruled that UPOV 91 was constitutional, but in the process it made several important statements designed to protect the interests of Indigenous peoples.

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Major Aymara Organizations Join the Growing Opposition to UPOV 91

On Wednesday, June 15th, leaders from both the Aymara Autonomous Council (Consejo Autónomo Aymara) and the National Aymara Council (Consejo Nacional Aymara) expressed their opposition to UPOV 91 — the International Convention for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants, which essentially gives new rights to the “breeders” of new seed variants. The Aymara organizations took their concerns to the Chilean Constitutional Court, which had invited commentary on the Convention and its effects last week. The Court, at that time, had granted a request made by 17 Chilean Senators to hear the case and decide whether UPOV 91 is legal or not. Continue reading

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Mapuche Health Network Rejects UPOV Convention 91 on Transgenic Seeds

On May 11, 2011, the Chilean Senate voted to adopt the International Convention for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants (UPOV 91), which essentially gives new rights to the “breeders” of new seed variants — meaning any person who has created, discovered, or developed a seed variety. In practical terms, this legislation means that it is illegal for farmers to save seeds from their crops and use them later on, so long as those seeds have been patented. The Convention will uniquely affect Indigenous peoples and some organizations are considering legal action against the State. Continue reading

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