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In the context of the recent "Food Sovereignty Forum" of Uruguay, organized by REDES-Friends of the Earth, Movimiento por la Tierra and the Extension and Activities Service of the University of the Republic, the participants dealt with the impacts of agrotoxics on the ecosystem, water basins and rural people.
One of the speakers of the forum was Nelson Muñoz, of Sarandi de Rio Negro, Rivera department, in the North of Uruguay.
Muñoz said that in response to his reluctance to sell his field to eucalyptus and pine forestry companies, and his decision to continue raising cattle in an organic way, he received threats and there were constant fumigations that ended up polluting the water sources around his lands.
The small-scale cattle farmer said that as a consequence of the agrotoxics applied in the surrounding fields to combat "weeds", for instance through herbicides, or to combat ants with insecticides, his certification as an organic meat producer was not renewed, and the birth rates of his cows dropped dramatically.
In addition, Pablo Diaz, member of the Land Policy Observatory of the University of the Republic and Movimiento por la Tierra, talked about the risks implied by the Large-Scale Mining Law and the use of the National Colonization Institute (INC) as a tool to partially mitigate the impact of this extractive industry on family rural lands.
"If we want to defend the INC as a tool, we shouldn´t allow it it be used to cover the holes left by mining", he said.
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