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Rural workers stage protest before Argentine Congress in support of Access to Land bill

Tuesday, October 26th 2021 - 18:17 UTC
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Demonstrators want Argentina to achieve “food sovereignty” Demonstrators want Argentina to achieve “food sovereignty”

Argentina's Union of Land Workers (UTT) Monday camped in front of the Congress building in Buenos Aires in support of the Access to Land bill. The UTT, which claims to represent rural workers nationwide, who make up for 8 % of the national workforce, planned to stay mobilized for 4 days in a row.

The demonstrators brought fruits and vegetables to share in what has been dubbed a form of food resistance. 

The UTT maintains that “instead of paying abusive rents, we could pay back a loan that allows us to access our land and give us the security to produce food and invest on the path to agroecology,” according to a group statement.

”Because in addition to getting sick with agrochemicals, the families that depend on these poisons produce at dollar prices and sell in Argentine pesos,“ the group went on.

In addition to exchanging food and vegetables, the UTT plans to hold a cultural festival, talks, workshops and screenings which will be mirrored at other protests nationwide.

UTT spokesman Lucas Tedesco said ”40 % of the arable land in the country is in the hands of 1,200 families,“ while the workers of the land generate 60 % of the food consumed at homes. And these workers live “in improper conditions,” Tedesco explained.

”We ask for this law to begin to build a model of healthy, sovereign food, outside the logics of exploitation and contamination,“ he added, as he insisted he did not know why the bill was not moving forward.

”We are going to make a 'panazo' (bread party) and 'asadazo,' (barbecue party) with meat from producing families, to show that prices can be built, but with another model“, and not the one currently used in Argentina with sharp inflation ”after four years of a neoliberal government and two of a pandemic, wherewith a progressive government, there is still an economic crisis where prices do not stop rising.“

Tedesco also called for the national Government of President Alberto Fernández to act diligently on this issue, since it is the third time the Access to Land Law bill has been submitted to the Legislature. The first time was in 2016.

”In Argentina, only 13 % of the land is in the hands of small producers who produce more than 60 % of the food that circulates in the domestic market, while 1 % of agricultural companies control 36 per cent of the land cultivated in our country,” Tedesco detailed.

He added the bill seeks to create a soft credit scheme “for the rural sector,“ which would allow ”small producer families to access land to produce food sustainably and live in decent housing.“

”At this time, while food corporations want to withdraw supplies and continue to starve the people, we need concrete measures more than ever to be able to access food through fair prices, and for that, it is essential to lower and control the prices of the food basket.”

Zulma Molloja, also a spokeswoman for the UTT, said that “the agribusiness model represents a concentrated field that does not feed, is not focused on the hunger of the people while generating extraordinary wealth from exports,” which, although necessary, are not the “sustainable model through agroecology and the democratization of the land” Argentina reportedly needs “to achieve food sovereignty.”

Protests are scheduled to span until Thursday, Oct. 28. Similar stagings are taking place in in the province of Buenos Aires, Córdoba, Santa Fe, Chaco, Formosa, Entre Ríos, Corrientes, Misiones, Santiago del Estero, Tucumán, Salta, Jujuy, Mendoza, La Pampa , Neuquén, Río Negro and Chubut, it was reported.



Categories: Agriculture, Politics, Argentina.

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