Platform of Via Campesina for Agriculture
May 26, 2010
The Brazilian people and the popular rural organizations and the city
The current agricultural model imposed on Brazil by the forces of capital and big business is detrimental to the interests of the people. It transforms everything into commodities: food, goods of nature (such as water, land, biodiversity and seeds.) and it is organized for the sole purpose of increasing the profits of big business, transnational corporations and banks.
We must urgently build a new agricultural model based on constant search for a more just and egalitarian society, which produces their needs in balance with the environment.
Therefore, we make some comments and invite the Brazilian people to reflect and decide what type of agriculture they want for our country.
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I - THE NATURE OF THE CURRENT AGRICULTURAL MODEL
The current agricultural model, called agribusiness, has as its main characteristics:
1. Organizes agricultural production under the control of large landowners and transnational corporations to exploit farm workers and have dominion over production, trade, inputs and seeds.
2. Prioritizes output in the form of extensive, large scale monocultures, affecting the environment and requiring large amounts of poisons that harm the health and quality of food. Brazil consumes more than a billion gallons of poison per year, becoming the world's largest consumer!
3. Organizes forestry monoculture, such as eucalyptus and pine, which destroys the environment and biodiversity, spoils the land, generates unemployment, allocates production for export, makes profits for transnational corporations and while permitting social and environmental degradation.
4. Incentives expanding the area of monoculture of sugar cane for ethanol production for export. Once again, causing damage to the environment, raising food prices, concentrating land ownership and denationalizing the sector producing sugar and alcohol.
5. Spreads the use of transgenic crops, destroying biodiversity and eliminates all the native seeds. The genetically modified seeds cannot live with other varieties and contaminate the other varieties, resulting in the medium term, the existence of only seeds controlled by transnational companies. With control of seeds, these companies charge royalties, sell pesticides to their own industries and pushing governments to adopt policies of their interests.
6. Encourages deforestation of the Amazon rainforest and the destruction of babassu [type of palm], through the expansion of cattle ranching, soybean, eucalyptus and sugar cane, and export of timber and minerals. We are against the law authorizing the private exploitation of public forests.
Given the gravity of the situation, exposed to Brazilian society:
1. The agribusiness model protects the exploitation of slave labor, child labor and the over exploitation of rural workers, without ensuring the rights and social security and minimum conditions of transport and living on farms. Therefore, the ruralista caucus [bloc of large landowners in the Brazilian Congress] has never accepted the project that penalizes farms with slave labor, already approved in the Senate.
2. The bill by Senator Sergio Zambiasi (PTB-RS [Brazilian Labor Party in the state of Rio Grande do Sul]), which aims to ban foreign property in the border region of all parents, regulate the land in a situation of lawlessness and crime at the border of foreign companies such as Stora Enso and the Moon sect.
3. The works of implementation of the São Francisco River will benefit only agribusiness, industrial fishing business and production for export and the expansion of sugar cane in the northeast, and does not meet the needs of millions of peasants living in the semi-arid areas.
4. The increasing privatization of ownership of water companies, especially foreign, such as Nestle, Coca Cola and Suez, among others.
5. The current energy model gives priority to large plants, mainly in the Amazon, and transforms the energy into a commodity. Privatization destroys and pollutes the environment, steadily increases prices of electricity to the Brazilian people, favors large energy intensive consumers and the control and delivery of energy to large multinational corporations, threatening national sovereignty.
6. Attempts to change the current Forest Code, proposed by the ruralista caucus to serve agribusiness, would authorize the clearing of areas in order to look for easy profits.
7. The connections of transnational corporations, fake environmental groups and some Northern hemisphere governments want to transform the environment to a single commodity. And introduce evidence of tradable carbon credits on the stock exchanges - including exempt companies for polluting the North - and generate revenue opportunities for companies in the South, while the strain on the environment freely following capital.
8. The policies that privatize the right to fish disrupt the environment in rivers and at sea and prevent them from fishing, on which millions of Brazilians depend.
9. The recently passed law that legalizes the illegal occupation of false titleholders, regulating public areas invaded the Amazon to 1500 hectares per person (before it was allowed only legalize up to 100 hectares). We are against the bill by Senator Flexa Ribeiro (PSDB-PA [Brazilian Social Democratic Party of Para, center-right political party) which reduces the Amazon Forest Reserve in each property from 80% to 50%.
II - PROPOSE A NEW PROGRAM FOR BRAZILIAN AGRICULTURE
A program that is based on the following guidelines:
1. Develop water and an agricultural program, which prioritizes food sovereignty of our country, encourage the production of healthy food, diversifying agriculture, agrarian reform as a broad democratization of land ownership, distribution of income produced in agriculture and the population from rural areas.
2. Prevent the concentration of private ownership of land, forests and water. Make a wide distribution of the largest farms, establishing a maximum size limit of ownership of natural resources.
3. Ensure that Brazilian agriculture is controlled by Brazilians and that is based on healthy food production, the organization of agricultural industries in the form cooperatives in all municipalities in the country.
4. Stimulate diversified production in the form of mixed farming, giving priority to peasant production.
5. Adopt production techniques that seek to increase the productivity of labor and land, respecting the environment and agro-ecology. Struggle for the phase out the use of pesticides, which contaminate food and nature.
6. Adopt pulp production in small units without extensive monoculture, seeking to meet Brazilian needs, smaller-scale agribusinesses.
7. Defend the "policy of zero deforestation in the Amazon and Cerrado [vast tropical savanna eco-region of Brazil, particularly in the states of Goiás and Minas Gerais. The cerrado is characterized by an enormous range of plant and animal biodiversity], preserving the richness and using natural resources in an appropriate manner and for the people who live there. Defend the collective right of exploitation of babassu.
8. Preserve, disseminate and multiply the native seeds and improved, according to our climate and location, so that all farmers have access.
9. Penalize rigorously all the companies and farmers who cut trees and pollute the environment.
10. Implement the measures proposed by the National Water Agency (Atlas of the Northeast), which foresees investments in each municipality in the semi-arid areas, with less cost that would solve the water problem for all farmers and resident population in the region.
11 Ensure that water is a natural asset and a right of every citizen. Water can’t be made a commodity and must be managed as a public resource, accessible to everyone. We support a program to preserve our aquifers, as the sources of the three major basins in the cerrado, the Guarani aquifer and the latest discovery of the aquifer alter the ground in the Amazon region.
12. Implement a popular new energy plan for the country, based on energy sovereignty and to ensure control of energy sources and their service to the Brazilian people. Ensure that the planning, production, distribution and energy sources are under control of the Brazilian people. Also, encourage all forms of multiple energy sources, with priority given to potential local and popular use. Demand the immediate review of current electricity tariffs charged to the population, ensuring access to everyone at prices compatible with the income of the Brazilian people
13. Legalize quilombolas [historic communities established by runaway slaves] all across the country.
14. Prohibit the acquisition of Brazilian land by transnational corporations and "their fronts," above the family model.
15. Demarcate immediately all indigenous areas and promote the withdrawal of all invading farmers, especially in the areas of the Guarani in Mato Grosso do Sul
16. Promote the defense of public policies for agriculture, through the state, guaranteeing:
a) Priority for food production for the domestic market;
b) Prices profitable for small farmers, guaranteeing the purchase by the National Supply Company (Conab);
c) A new policy for rural credit, especially for investment in small and medium- sized farms;
d) A policy research at the Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation (Embrapa) defined by the needs of farmers and production of healthy food;
e) Adequate sanitary regulations of agro-industrial production conditions of peasant agriculture and small agro-industries, expanding the possibilities of food production; and
f) Public policies directed to agriculture, appropriate to regional realities.
17. Guarantee the maintenance of a public, universal solidarity and redistributive social security in Brazil, as a guarantee to all workers of agriculture. Ensure the budget for Social Security and the expansion of social rights to all workers, such as those in the informal and domestic workers.
18. Review the current model of individual transport, and develop a national program of public transportation that prioritizes rail systems, subways, waterways, that use less energy, are less polluting and more accessible to the entire population.
19. Ensure education in the countryside, implementing a broad program of education in rural areas, according to the reality of each region, which seeks to raise the level of social awareness of the farmers, universal access for young people at all levels of schooling, and In particular, the high school and college. Develop a massive campaign of literacy for all adults.
20. Change international agreements of the World Trade Organization (WTO), European Union and Mercosur, conventions and conferences within the United Nations, who only defend the interests of international capital, free trade, to the detriment of the interests of peasants and Southern people.
21. Approve the law determining the appropriation of the whole farm with slave labor. Impose heavy fines on farms that do not comply with labor laws and social security. Repeal the law that allows temporary employment of rural workers, without proper registration.
For work, wholesome food, environmental preservation, a new model of agriculture and national sovereignty!
Associação Brasileira dos Estudantes de Engenharia Florestal [Brazilian Association of Students of Forestry] - ABEEF
Conselho Indigenista Missionário [Indigenous Missionary Council] - CIMI
Comissão Pastoral da Terra [Pastoral land Commission] - CPT
Federação dos Estudantes de Agronomia do Brasil [Student Federation of Agriculture of Brazil] - FEAB
Movimento dos Atingidos por Barragens [Movement of Those Affected by the Dams] - MAB
Movimento dos Pequenos Agricultores [Movement of Small Farmers] - MPA
Movimento das Mulheres Camponesas[ Movement of Rural Women] - MMC
Movimento dos Trabalhadores Rurais Sem Terra [Movement of Landless Rural Workers] - MST
Pastoral da Juventude Rural [Rural Youth Pastoral] - PJR
Movimento dos Pescadores e Pescadoras do Brasil [Movement of Fishermen and Women in Brazil]