Agroecology Will Have a National Plan and Create a New Milestone for the Country

By Najar Tubino
Da Carta Maior

The federal government will soon launch the National Plan for Organic Production and Agroecology ( PLANAPO ), after more than a year of discussion with dozens of civil society organizations and representatives of 10 ministries. The Minister of Agrarian Development, Pepe Vargas said the plan will be important not only for the family farm, but for the whole country .

Investments in 134 initiatives involving 14 goals in four main areas - production, use and conservation of natural resources, knowledge, marketing and consumption. Secretary Valter Bianchini , Family Farming of MDA [Ministry of Agrarian Development] said in Botucatu recently that PLANAPO will have a significant volume of resources in the order of R $7 billion, and will set guidelines by 2015. The National Policy Agroecology was defined by Decree 7,794 last year.

It is a milestone for the country, where agribusiness, for their economic importance, dictates rules and constraints everywhere. Recently a group of researchers, two of them linked to the Embrapa [Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation] and Unicamp [State University of Campinas], launched the “Seven Theses of the Rural World," a ballad that seems more like a pamphlet TFP - Tradition, Family and Property - so rancid.

In addition to traditional dazzle of the modernization of agriculture, that live in new times, technological innovation above all, and consequent social changes dictated by monetization, the reasoning of the bankruptcy decrees family properties, the end of agrarian reform and defines as chimerical and absurd the proposal to disseminate technologies alternative calls .

Agrarian Reform

" At no time in agrarian history rural were the establishments with smaller economic status so close to the border of marginalization ... two-thirds of the establishments, nearly three million units, produce a meager 3.3% of the gross income of the sector. “This is one of the brightest parts of the thesis. But there's another even more revealing: " the story is not over, but the last fading will disappear to the theses on the peasantry, some terms disappear from the past, including land reform. The issue of agrarian reform has lost its relevance and insistence, and corresponding resource allocation in state actions in this field finds no reasonable justification."

It's a beauty. The IBGE Census, 2006, the first that collected data on family farming in Brazil, points out a number of more than 12 million people living in more than four million farms, covering an area of ​​80 million hectares. Certainly they are all doomed, in the view of these researchers, specialized in “rural.“ What actually is a little world of an elite in the country, very powerful, worth billions of dollars per year - only in meat exports were nearly six billion dollars in 2012. Soy involves more than 30 billion dollars . It is a world funded by international trading companies , known by the letters ABCD - ADM , Bunge , Cargill and Louis Dreyfus .

Bankruptcy of Millions

Let's say this is capitalism in rural version. But to order the liquidation of the family farm that supplies the domestic market and involves millions of people are already a bit above the quota reasonable. However, is symptomatic . Because the Seven Theses were released just in time that the federal government will release PLANAPO. The moment soybean growers celebrate 10 years of implementation of innovation in the world of Monsanto , and which, after losing the validity of the patent, launches the second seed. Including its own Minister of Agriculture, the Brazilian delegation went to China in committed to agribusiness and argues for multi technology. At the same time, the same Monsanto withdrew its bid to produce transgenic seed in the European Union, following BASF, which had transferred its research center in Germany to the United States, focusing its business in the two Americas.

One facet of agribusiness everyone knows - intensive production - is only possible by the application of chemical fertilizers and pesticides. Monsanto, BASF and Syngenta produced in recent times a Frankenstein seed where the venom itself forms part of the plant. This is because corporations sell the poison too. On the other hand, if the pesticide residues cause disease, especially various cancers, the same companies produce drugs to treat diseases. It is a virtuous cycle. And nothing can be discovered about the influence of GMOs on human health because no research, quite the contrary , corporations boycott any such initiative.

Principle and Not Revenue

So agribusiness fears both agroecology, that much more than a healthy planting technique involves ethical principles, which values life in the first place, much ours as the other species, integrated into the natural environment. Therefore, the researchers linked to agribusiness, and they are the majority, they always try to debunk or discredit the ecological principles. They are not productive, are not efficient, and do not yield economically . What has already become a fallacy, when you know that the organic business world revolve more than $50 billion, and the main consumers are Americans and Europeans. And the organic, in this case, is the certificate with seal, requires audits, extra costs and elite market and export.

In Brazil, where an estimated 100,000 properties using environmentally friendly practices and organic agriculture, there is the concept of ecological product. It is produced by a group of farmers identified with known techniques and discussed with consumers and organizations representing civil society. The Ecovida Network [certifies organic authenticity] in the south of the country, is an example. It has more than 300 organizations of family farmers and consumers collected in 26 nuclei, involving the three southern states, and have been operating since 1998. The sale occurs in ecological fairs. That, nowadays, has spread throughout Brazil. In Pernambuco, for example, there are 52, and 14 only in Recife metropolitan region. Most farmers are the Zona da Mata, but the fairs are present in the backcountry, the forests and in São Francisco .

Direct Selling and Cheaper

The fair, from Latin feria, feast day, is an event that accompanied humanity since the beginning. In Brazil, the first record in São Paulo is 1914. In the past decade there were 867 in the state capital serving 900,000 people. They are all green, but many producers sell their wares directly to consumers, fleeing the scheme of supermarket chains - the three largest Walmart, Carrefour and Casino now, former Pão de Açúcar.

The fair has better prices, better products, is a space of coexistence and an exchange of experiences. It is not in statistics. Not in control of corporations . Much of the produce sold at fairs doesn’t come from supply centers; the Ceasas, a system created at the time of the military, and in 1980 was transferred to the states and municipalities. CONAB [National Supply Company] work on the volume of goods passing through 72 wholesale warehouses in Brazil gives an idea of the internal market – there are 18 million tons of fruits and vegetables. Brazil is the third largest producer in the world, but loses 30 % of the field to the consumer's table.

The Association of Central Supply forwarded the National Plan to the federal government, aiming to improve the infrastructure, inspect products, care packages, improve health, informing producers – there are 22,000 registered and 200,000 employees in 72 enterprises, - among many other things. Including the creation of a general price index.

" – None of the research institutes reflect directly fluctuations in power supply ...  this lack of reporting and monitoring makes the natural seasonality in marketing this type of product purchase grandiose proportions thus creating great discomfort and misinformation to the entire population." Says the document of the National Supply Plan. The tomato is there to leave no doubt .

How much is the market of fruits and vegetables, not to mention the production sold directly to consumers, and that does not go through the central: R $21 billion in 2011. Imagine if Brazil were to import it, i.e., the scale agriculture is totally favorable, because the domestic market is stocked. With the exception of wheat - 50 % imported - the rest is local production. And, growing 20% to 50% annually, ecological production is gaining space. A path marked by hundreds of organizations of family farmers, and by settlers and by indigenous and Quilombo communities. It's the other rural world; after all, in the field live not only ranchers and soybean farmers, on the contrary, most of them live in the cities or in the capital in the center of the country.

While the spokespersons of agribusiness are spreading the backward ideology of "technological innovation," owned by a single company, which had the goal to transform the seeds of the world in various types of Frankensteins, the people of agroecology and the settlers are organized. Earlier this month came the III International Meeting of the Latin American Agroecology in Botucatu (SP), with more than two thousand participants.

At the same time, the 12th Day of Agroecology of the MST occurred in Maringá and Paiçandu, Paraná, with more than three thousand participants. In Luziania, from August 15th, 800 delegates from 18 states of the Federation of Workers in Family Agriculture (FETRAF) , gathered at the III Congress to discuss the diversity of family farming, the organization of production, agroecology, policy the semi-arid regions and agrarian reform. In Brazil settlements occupy 43 million hectares, mostly in the north and northeast.

To not stop talking about the latest technological innovation in the area of ​​beef cattle: the feedlot, that fattened steer in 90 days, will use anabolic, or as they say in modern speak - growth promoter. Things that the Americans have done for a long time. Just the differential of Brazil was the beef was produced from grass. Exchanged for an at most - actually increase - in exchange it may lose half of the foreign market. Totally innovative!

August 27, 2013