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Diego Montón, member of the Union of Landless Rural Workers of Mendoza and delegate of Via Campesina to the United Nations, participated in a day of work and reflection together with the deans of the FFyH and the Faculty of Social Sciences, leaders of the Campesino Movement of Córdoba, CELS and the Human Rights Working Group, with the aim of analyzing the challenges of the Declaration of Peasant Rights that the UN sanctioned in 2018.
In a country with a very high concentration of land, where 1.6% of food companies concentrate 80% of the domestic market, the Declaration of Peasant Rights that the United Nations sanctioned in 2018 is of enormous importance, as well as the challenges that It implies putting into practice this legal instrument that Argentina has not yet incorporated into its legislation.
Before sharing a plenary-discussion session with Flavia Dezzutto, Dean of the FFyH, María Inés Peralta, Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences, Emiliano Salguero, of the Working Group on Human Rights of Córdoba, Diego Morales, of CELS, Francisca Mattoni, Secretary General of the FUC, Eugenia Sosa and Alberto Salas of the Peasant Movement of Córdoba, Montón highlighted that “it was a long struggle and it is a great achievement that the UN assumes and recognizes the peasants of the whole world in the face of a process systematic invisibility ”.
The panel was the closing of different rounds of dialogue that addressed crucial issues on the peasant agenda, which for years has been working to install them in public opinion, some with more insertion than others: native forests, food sovereignty, peasant areas and popular economy. “The Declaration recognizes the fundamental role of peasants in the world, especially in the role of food production and our claim for food sovereignty. And it recognizes that there is a systematic violation of peasant rights in the world, which States must recognize. This implies a new paradigm in the international system of human rights, something that the native peoples had already achieved, but which here is extended to a huge mass of the world's population, ”Montón points out.
Like all declarations and laws, the written letter is one thing and its implementation in public policies is quite another. However, the leader maintains that “for each of the rights the Declaration establishes obligations for the States, in addition to systematizing many elements that already exist, such as the right to food. It is a binding instrument for all legal systems, and it applies to health rights, pesticides, it takes up other instruments that were binding and today makes them visible. There is still a long way to go for the States to incorporate it into their legislation, as is the case in Argentina, which has not yet done so ”.
In any case, the Declaration is a tool for not only states to work on, but also peasant and human rights organizations. "The challenge is to link it to the struggles of each territory, to local conflicts, to work with municipalities, with the Provinces." Hence the presence in the discussion of Diego Morales, director of the Litigation and Legal Defense Area of the Center for Legal and Social Studies (CELS), of Salguero, of the Working Group for Human Rights, of peasant leaders of Córdoba. Among the public were also the legislator Martín Fresneda and the Minister of Justice of Córdoba, Martín Farfán.
New political scenarios
The situation of the peasants during the macrismo was one of retreat, with a phenomenal advance of the agrarian corporations promoted by the Cambiemos government. "We had a bad time, like the rest of society, but in the countryside it felt worse, especially with the logistics of marketing what we produce," says Montón.
The leader highlights that the peasant movement is at a stage in which new organizations and forms of struggle are emerging, and gives as an example the verdurazo that took place in Plaza de Mayo and in different squares of the country as a protest against the adjustment in INTA and the Undersecretary of Family Agriculture. “Progress was made in the forum for an agrarian and popular program that has brought together many organizations, in political terms we have advanced, the Mocase of Santiago del Estero joined, the Union of Land Workers (UTT) emerged, the rural MTE, in Finally, there is a whole political process that shows us stronger ”.
In this sense, Montón points out that Argentina is at a crossroads with the food emergency due to the extremely high concentration of land. Oxfam, which is an international confederation made up of 17 national non-governmental organizations that carry out humanitarian work in 90 countries, published a report that says that 84% of producers in Argentina have 13.5% of the surface, and that the concentration of the scheme The agri-food industry is alarming: 1.6% of food companies account for 80% of the domestic market, "which explains the rise in food prices, which are always ahead of inflation and prevents the possibility of controlling those prices" , warns Montón.
For this reason, family farming can play an important role and organizations are waiting with what the government that takes office on December 10 can do. “We have been receptive by Alberto Fernández's team, we see political will for us to be protagonists and for state resources to be allocated to the sector. It is a good opportunity to get out of the emergency and move towards food sovereignty ”.
It was always said that hunger in the world was due to low food productivity. Until the Brazilian geographer, José duz Castro, first director of the FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations) published a work calledGeography of hunger and it showed that the most productive areas of Brazil were the most hungry. "The discussion is not more productivity, but rather what production systems are established by the countries, who are the ones that produce and how that production is distributed," Montón clarifies.
Another global debate is not just discursive. While the "green revolution" spoke of "food security", and proposed a kind of theory of food spillage that would occur with increased productivity, Vía Campesina installed the concept of sovereignty that proposes that it is a right of the peoples to define their agri-food systems to decide what to eat and how. "Today there is an idea to massify some products and we have only 6 grains that feed a large mass of the people, when before there were more than 32, and a lot of diversity," says the interviewee.
So what to produce and how is synonymous with food sovereignty. "It is a sovereign decision that is truncated when there is concentration of land and concentration of production and marketing, so in Argentina we are far from food sovereignty."
The other great discussion that crosses the planet and is located in thetop five On the agenda of the new generations is the issue of global warming. "Food sovereignty is achieved by strengthening family agriculture and generating short marketing circuits, promoting local agribusiness, we need production to expand territorially, because it generates more work and lowers costs and the use of hydrocarbons. We must recover the culture of each people, which implies redefining production and what type of food we consume, which is another point of dispute, because it is not only to eat so that there is no hunger, but to eat healthy products. In Argentina there is a lot of obesity and very few vegetables and fruits are consumed. We have to rethink the basic basket ”, says Montón.
Caring for the environment is at the center of peasant culture, and that is why during the day we worked on what are the Peasant Areas, one of which would be located in the northeast of the Province, surrounding an area of the Mar Chiquita. “There are two major crises, one the food crisis and the other the environmental-climatic one. It has been shown that the agro-industrial scheme has a lot to do with climate warming, since it is responsible for between 45 and 49% of the greenhouse effect ”, the Mendoza leader remarked.
“While this current scheme accelerates global warming, agroecological and peasant production generates the opposite, family farming cools the planet, provides ecological and food solutions. All this is in the Declaration of Peasant Rights, which highlights a strategic role of peasants, not only so that their rights are not violated, but also because it indicates that our way of producing is beneficial for all humanity.
Source: Al Filo - National University of Córdoba