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In the latest edition of the Voz Campesina radio program, produced between the CLOC and Radio Mundo Real, we interviewed young referents from the Latin American Coordinator of Rural Organizations of South America, Central America and the Caribbean who shared their personal experiences with us about the link they have with the agroecological production, how they began to participate in the CLOC and what struggles they have for food sovereignty in their territories.
We analyze why peasant and family agriculture is a viable economic option for young people, but also the challenges that return to the countryside implies for new generations.
“Going back to the countryside is an urgent task in view of the shortage of healthy food and this is only possible with the promotion of peasant and indigenous family agriculture ”, they affirm in the CLOC Operational Secretariat. From Paraguay, representing the South American region, Augusto Isaac Acuña, a member of the Training and Education Secretariat of the Organization for the Fight for Land (OLT), said in Voz Campesina that returning to the countryside “is not just talking about the area rural; the country-city relationship needs to be discussed further so that there is a joint strategy in this return to the field of youth”.
Among the challenges, Acuña pointed out that one should think about:
“A) how to update peasant agriculture taking into account ancestral knowledge and respect for the environment for food production;
b) the problem of migration from the countryside to the city;
c) disseminate the ecological aspects of peasant and indigenous agriculture, which has given young people the interest to return and stay in the countryside; as well as maintaining the essence of this agriculture, adding new technologies and the processing of products. That is, not only to produce the raw material, but to preserve food in small factories, which is also an option for employment with an agroecological approach ”.
The coordinator of the CLOC-Vía Campesina Paraguay, highlighted the lessons learned from the Cuban model, such as mini-factories, which enhance the production of raw materials, conservation for consumption throughout the year, and the marketing of agro-ecological products in markets. local.
Acuña highlighted the training in agroecology provided by the Latin American Agroecological Institutes (IALAs), he being an agroecological technician trained by the IALA Guaraní of Paraguay and the Florestan Fernandes School of MST-Brazil. These experiences strengthened and deepened the lessons he had in his family that has fought for the land since 1995 and that, through organization, managed to obtain land to produce and develop projects such as the production of agroecological yerba mate from OLT and CONAMURI, despite that the transgenic soybean crops of large corporations have destroyed community herbs. In the north of Paraguay, other producers have developed the production and processing of cassava, sesame, and chia for natural oils, milk and family production of preserves, desserts, sweets.
In the case of Central America, Enma Elizabeth Catu Raxjal, Maya Kaqchikel member of the National Coordinator of Widows of Guatemala (CONAVIGUA), the Young Mayan Movement (MOJOMAYAS), and sub-coordinator of the Central America Youth Region of CLOC-Vía Campesina, He said that his approach to agroecology was through the knowledge that was especially transmitted to him by the women in the family (such as his grandmother and his mother) and how his connection with the field and Mother Earth began from some tasks in which he participated together to his grandparents and, while at CLOC, he was seeing “that the use of chemicals were not necessary to produce food”.
Catu Raxjal considered that “reclaim the land"Is one of the main challenges in a region where"there are no policies that favor the rights of all youth", Which is added to"the lack of guarantees to defend peasant and indigenous rightss ”and the closure of borders that limits food security.
“The extractivism of cement, mining and hydroelectric plants has left us in this crisis that prevents us from accessing our lands, with projects that produce landslides and landslides, and leave the lands in such poor condition that they must be recovered in every way. Young people are not vulnerable, they have violated us because they have isolated us from the best conditions to live. The youth is not a population that still has the attention of governments and returning to the countryside is a great challenge for the youth because many times our families do not have land. We must recover the lands from the organization, promote community cooperatives, recover ancestral knowledge and good practices such as the exchange of seeds, stop allying ourselves with large corporations that make us produce with chemicals, demand public policies such as insurance - in case we lose production because of the strong storms, for example- or have guarantees to re-harvest"Said the Guatemalan referent.
Added to this is the fight against patriarchal and macho practices that subsist in the allocation and recovery of land for women, as well as the search for truth and justice that CONAVIGUA leads for all the victims of the internal armed conflict.
Lieser Inabel Ramírez, from the Dominican Republic, member of the Federation of Coffee Growers of the Southern Region (FEDECARES), of the Association of Young Entrepreneurs "Sembrando para el Futuro" (ASOJESF) and responsible for the articulation of young people of CLOC-Vía Campesina Caribbean Region, considered that in this context of crisis “many companies will close their doors and young people will return to the field"So the joints must be strengthened to"guarantee the country-city alliance, being more efficient in our production and guaranteeing distribution and commercialization”.
“We feed our peoples and build movement to change the world. And in these times of pandemic, youth can assume a super important place”Added the member of the Political Commission CLOC-Via Campesina Caribe.
Source: CLOC - Via Campesina