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The National Agroecology Plan (PNA) was launched in Montevideo, on August 21st, aiming to increase the number of farmers and consumers under agroecologically-based food production, distribution and consumption systems in order to contribute with the improvement of the quality of life of rural and urban populations.
In the framework of a press conference organized to launch the Plan, the members of the National Agroecology Network, together with the Native Seeds Network shared their arguments and experiences in this process at national level and launched a campaign to gather signatures aiming to exert some influence in the Uruguayan government through a message to President Tabaré Vazquez. They claim that the government´s programme includes agroecology promotion through a Plan such as this one.
At the press conference, the member of the Uruguayan Agroecology Network, Alberto Gomez, said that “the plan was developed during several meetings attended by over 1000 people around the country, but today we are sharing it with the rest of the population. He added, “the endorsement campaign will be held until November, which in addition to gathering signatures, it also aims at concrete proposals to continue deepening the plan”.
Farmer Rik Kestier, member of Cooperativa Ecogranja, member of Ecotienda, stated that they use a complex production system, contrary to conventional production, where they treat the soil, they sow the seeds, manage crops, harvest and then commercialize their products.
He said: “we respect the soil because it gives us many things; we don´t have monocultures, we have a rotation system, we mix crops, treat the plants, in fact, we don´t use agrotoxics”.
He emphasized the commercial process, where they produce food and sell it through “baskets” that are delivered directly to the homes of the buyers or in local markets. “The chain is so short that we don´t need intermediaries”, said Kestier.
He highlighted the importance of food sovereignty and explained “through organic production, we are an extremely important link in the chain to offer consumers wholesome food, we can provide security through the certification of products offered in stores and markets and this way consumers can be certain of the fact that the product meets all the features”.
Seeds come first
The member of the National Native Seeds Network (RNS), Jose Puigdevall, stated that plant resources are the basis of agroecology, as well as the natural resources present in the land and considered within the production system.
Puigdevall, a native fruit tree and beekeeping producer of Quebrada de los Cuervos, Treinta y Tres department, highlighted that he has been working to save native genetic resources for over 10 years, which implies a huge sacrifice by the RNS.
He said, “from the beginning we have been aware of the importance of seeds for the development of sustainable production systems”.
He explained that “at policy level, technical/economic feasibility, environmental sustainability and social acceptance are very important. In a way we are asking for support through the gathering of signatures to support the initiative of the PNA because we think that Uruguay deserves the opportunity to think of development based on another paradigm”.
Another speaker, Mauricio Vives, representative of GRANECO, defined agroecology as a “food production model that needs support” and he added “this doesn´t mean it is the silver bullet to all problems, but the people are demanding increasingly more”.
He said that a PNA is necessary because there are farmers who work hard for producing wholesome food and there are consumers who want to buy these products, so this Plan “is the opportunity to raise awareness on the political sector, which has been the slowest to react”.
To add your signature, please send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.redes.org.uy or redagroecologia.uy
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