Real World Radio interviewed Natalia Salvático, member of Friends of the Earth Argentina, to know more about the work being carried out by the organisation this year with reference to agroecology in the country. The activist started by making reference to the current Argentinian political context: “We are experiencing a huge setback, which implies serious impacts for family agriculture”.
Despite the cuts to public policies linked to family farming and at the same time the increasing benefits for industrial agriculture, especially soy, but others as well, such as forestry, Natalia Salvático said that an agroecological peasant agriculture is maintained and strengthened, “a type of agriculture that we need to defend and that the population is becoming increasingly aware of its importance for Food Sovereignty and ultimately for our survival”.
Friends of the Earth Argentina is member of the Fair Trade Network of the Coastline, a group under expansion in the country, which works “collectively for the good living and social solidarity economy principles”.
This group was created during the 2001 crisis in the country and it works mainly in Santa Fe, Córdoba, Buenos Aires, but it also includes farmers from other provinces. The initiative is an antisystemic one, said Salvático: “in this network we avoid making profits at the expense of others; we work with agroecological farmers, consumers and textile cooperatives”.
About the certification of organic or agroecological food, the activist made reference to the need to make a distinction between the participatory certification system and the market”. “The network is proposing a participatory system of guarantees together with those consumers that support us. We don’t want the official “organic” stamp, because we know that for the farmer this implies a kind of pressure that is impossible to comply with, which is focused on export and not internal consumption, and which on the other side is carried out by private companies with their own interests”.
Salvático said that this is a growing movement but stated: “it will be necessary, as social and environmental movements, to see how to defend the work of farmers, because as this movement grows, it will become increasingly threatened by the dominant system”.
Peasant, environmental, social movements met in Rosario in September 2016 for the 5th National Market of the Fair Trade Network of the Coastline and the 4th Meeting of Sustainability Initiatives, organised by Friends of the Earth Argentina.
Salvático explained the goal in promoting and organising these spaces: “these initiatives propose to advance towards the transformation of the system, and not only some of its aspects”. In this way, in addition to talks and debates among agroecological farmers, the meeting and the market were spaces for debate and political planning.
Listen to the 2016 interview below, or download the MP3 (3.8 Mb) here.