Referendum for the Agro in Colombia

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The Thursday May 12th of the current year, various representative organizations of the peasant economic sector, lead by Dignidad Agropecuaria, entered before the Civil Registry in Bogota to the so named Referendum for the Agro Nacional in Colombia.

The objective is to stand for the rights of the peasants and the alimentary autonomy of the country due to, since the 90`s decade this once have been suffering a serious deterioration, generating in the present one of the most important humanitarian rural crisis, meanwhile Colombia becomes an un-sufficient country in terms of Alimentation.

Referendum for the Agro in Colombia

Referendum for the Agro in Colombia

The beginning of the policies applied since de 90`s were the result of the talks between the North-American government (Mainly), who put pressure along with their “support” in the fight against the narcotrafficking.

The Colombian government, of course, without considering rural interests business these policies, this policies today, 26 years later, the supposedly promised benefits for the South-American country haven’t showed up yet.

Demonstrators claiming the referendum

Demonstrators claiming the referendum

With the start of the applying of the FTA with the United States of America and the European Union that ease the importation of goods, including food, 12 million tons of natural products have been already imported, which has disadvantaged the rural workers a lot.

Especially for the applying of the commercial dumping policies implemented by both potencies. As a consequence, the local rural workers can’t match the prices of the imported alimentary goods and their business are seriously devastated.

Aggravating the panorama of the peasants, the Colombian government forces them to buy certified seeds, or in another words, transgenic multinational seeds. This seeds augment the production costs, and furthermore, not only not letting them keep a part for the next harvest, the create a dependence of the pesticides or herbicides that they must buy to those companies.

The organizations that make up the Referendum for Agriculture, led by Dignidad Agropecuaria

The organizations that make up the Referendum for Agriculture, led by Dignidad Agropecuaria

With the goal of favouring the big companies totally unfavourable laws are implemented for the Agro National, the health and the alimentary security of the Colombian people. Like the law 970 has already shown us (Watch the documentary HERE).

The government suits the peasants that keep natural seeds, original, which are offered freely by the nature and do not harm the health.

Sadly the Colombian government continues to apply these policies, now under the plan “Colombia Siembra”, for instance, it promotes the sowing of a million hectares of transgenic cultives of Corn and Soy beans.

The work and the life of the peasants in these conditions becomes untenable

Like spokesmen of Dignidad Agropecuaria claim:

“…The misery and the inequality are still big in the cities. As a result, we, the Colombian are getting more and more subject to the transnational, the financial markets and the big potencies to be able to feed ourselves”.

Poster of the Referendum for the Agro

Poster of the Referendum for the Agro

The recent strikes “Cafetero” and “Nacional Agropecuario” of the 2013 put in evidence this crisis, and that is why this representative group of the peasant economy promotes the approval of a referendum, for which collecting a quantity of signs specified by the national laws is required.

The objectives that the referendum defends can be summarized in three points:

The protection and promotion of the national agricultural production and the work that is generated by them in terms of sustainability and gender equality, including the biodiversity and the traditional wisdom.

The re-negotiation or unilateral ending of the FTA.

The approval of a Familiar Agricultural Law that guarantees to the peasant communities, indigenous and afro-descendants the right of a worthy life and a development from own forms of economy, keeping the biodiversity and the associated knowledge that are found in their territories.

We have no doubt that their claim is fair.