Agrarian reform settlers increase rice production

The Santa Rita de Cássia II Settlement, in Nova Santa Rita, in the Metropolitan Region of Porto Alegre (RS), increased its production of organic rice. There are 31 families, who will produce 110 hectares of food. Farmers have already started the transition in July this year.

Organic production assumes an important role in the fight against the poison, after the settled families suffered from pesticide drift in November 2020, both in agroecological and conventional productions.

Marcos Vanderlei, from the administrative sector of the Cooperative of Settled Workers of the Porto Alegre Region (Cootap), talks about the relationship between the agribusiness production model and the use of poisons for their crops. “They establish a relationship of exploitation, aggression and destruction of natural resources, applying irresponsible and unsustainable practices. Above all, the poisoning that has affected ecosystems, food production and people”, explains the settler.

The Landless Rural Workers Movement (MST), on the other hand, to combat agribusiness and the high rate of poison in its cultivars, has agroecology as one of its main banners. In Nova Santa Rita, several of these peasants are already working with this production model.

Renewal of the way of cultivating

To start organic production, it is necessary to convert the system, which takes 12 months to be managed with practices and control systems in accordance with the organic legislation conferred by the certifier. The decision to replace the production mold led to a great reflection with the group of families in the settlement that already produced other agro-ecological foods. The collective discussed their way of living and bearing fruit, thus opting for a renewal in the way they cultivate their cultures.

After the pesticide drift, the producers of the Santa Rita de Cássia II settlement were unable to sell their products for 60 days. They were barred by the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Supply (Mapa) and by the bodies responsible for organic products in Rio Grande do Sul. collection.

: Read also: Mercado da Vida is an example of local resistance and global seed for Agroecology

The attitude of the change in the production model was also due to the promotion of Cooperative of the Settled Workers of the Porto Alegre Region (Cootap), a solidarity economy initiative that aims to practice fair trade and sustainable consumption. It is also responsible for encouraging and developing agroecological rice production in the Agrarian Reform Settlements in the state of Rio Grande do Sul, where families are organized in the Agroecological Rice Management Group. The cooperative helps through the policies of inputs, services, purchase of production and technical training.

: Read: Largest Latin American producer of organic rice, MST forecasts a 12-ton harvest

This transition aims, in addition to fighting the hegemonic production system, to generate greater profit for the settlers. According to settler Joice Sarmento, from Nova Santa Rita, organic rice is sold at a higher price related to the traditional one and, automatically, provides a higher income for producers.

“Organic culture today is self-sustainable, it produces and remunerates more than the conventional. I do the fair, I’m producing rice and I’ve been producing other types of grains. So, we know the market value today and the value that is traded”, comments the landless man.

The agroecological model puts life first. It escapes the shackles of standard production, which uses countless products that are harmful to health. There are already several studies showing how the use of pesticides in the planting and production of food can cause as much damage to the health of those who produce as to those who consume these foods.

Source: BdF Rio Grande do Sul

Edition: Marcelo Ferreira

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