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The 4th National Meeting of the Agroecology Network will take place in Atlantida, Canelones, where farmers, consumers, technicians and representatives of organizations member of the Agroecology Network of Uruguay will participate. Real World Radio interviewed Agronomist Alberto Gomez, member of the Network.
Gomez announced that they expect between 250 and 300 people from different parts of the country. He said: “the Network works to support those farmers carrying out ecological and organic farming, or those who would like to start doing so”. And he highlighted that local markets, and points of sale in the communities for producers to directly link with consumers are promoted.
He added that “there is a participatory certification system that allows producers to have a label that identifies their products for consumers”. The Agroecology Network is the only certifying unit authorized by the Livestock, Agriculture and Fisheries Ministry in Uruguay. “It is a participatory certification because it involves the participation of farmers, consumers and technicians” and added that certification is between peers, “it is not farmers who certify themselves”, highlighted Gomez.
The Agronomist said that they work on capacity-building, exchanges among farmers and currently the Network is promoting together with other organizations (National Native Seeds Network and the Latin American Scientific Society) a National Agroecology Plan for public organizations to coordinate actions to promote this sector.
He said that the Meeting has never taken place in Canelones department before, and for the Agroecology Network this is one of the strongest places in terms of number of farmers and production. “We´ve received significant support by Atlantida Municipality and Canelones authorities for the meeting and the aim is to promote agroecology and production”, he added.
About the supply and demand of agroecological products he said: “there is an increasing supply of organic products, but demand is still significant”, and he added “people are more and more informed about the need to eat in a healthy way and see this opportunity in organic products”. “There is demand, but the producer needs to have dialogues with other producers to build new ways to approach consumers”, he concluded.
The activities will start on Saturday 31 at 8am. At 5pm there will be a presentation by the local Development Project focused on agroecology and a public opening ceremony. Then there will be a Round Table on the challenges of sustainable agriculture with experts on the subject. At 9pm there will be a cultural activity with local artists. While on Sunday November 1st activities will start at 9 through 2 pm with a closing ceremony.
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