Civil entities that bring together field workers reacted on Friday (17), to President Jair Bolsonaro’s (non-party) vetoes to the Bill (PL) 823/2021, which provided for relief measures for family farmers affected by the pandemic. The proposal had been recently approved by the National Congress, after a long legislative journey that involved popular sectors and different political groups from both houses.
“It would have been a surprise if he had approved the bill because that already happened last year. It is barbaric what this president is doing. This is a political veto, because he knows the origin of the PL, which was built together with popular rural movements, union movements”, recalls Mateus Quevedo, from the Small Farmers Movement (MPA), referring to the recurring conduct of Bolsonaro before the agendas for the sector.
In the official justification of the vetoes, the former captain claimed “a legal obstacle for not presenting an estimate of budgetary and financial impact”. In August last year, he cut most of the points of PL 735/2020, whose backbone was the same as the project vetoed on Friday.
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As a reaction, the opposition recovered the sections cut by the president and gathered the measures in PL 823, presented this year. The genesis of the two PLs took place from demands presented by popular organizations in the countryside to the deputies of the PT bench, who formatted the measures and filed the proposal with the Chamber.
The text foresaw, among other things, the release of an emergency support to stimulate the production of small farmers. The idea would be for each family to receive a single installment of R$2,500, with the value rising to R$3,000 in the case of centers led by women. And, for those who presented projects to implement water access technologies, the funding would reach R$ 3,500.
Another relevant aspect of the PL was the forecast for the creation of the Emergency Assistance Program for Family Farming, which would be administered by the National Supply Company and would buy products from peasants to be destined for people in a situation of food and nutritional insecurity.
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“Women, once again, will be the most affected because they are the ones who feel hunger knocking on the door, they are the ones who have to try to solve a problem in the family as a whole. So, receiving this news is as if we were, once again, being shot directly in the chest”, says farmer Edcleide Rocha, from the Peasant Women’s Movement (MMC).
The PL also established measures for the renegotiation of rural credit and extension of bank terms for workers in the sector. It also provided for automatic granting of the Crop Guarantee to peasants eligible to receive the benefit until December 31, 2022, subject to the presentation of an inspection report attesting to the loss of the crop during the pandemic period.
Mateus Quevedo points out that the lack of state incentive for the production of small farmers harms, in the end, other workers by stimulating food inflation in the consumption chain.
“It will increase hunger. And this happens because, from the moment you take resources from family farming, you reduce food production in the countryside and people resort more to markets – which, to top it off, sell processed products, transgenics, etc. Therefore, some products, such as rice and beans, increase in value because demand increases”, relates the farmer.
The president’s vetoes can only be overturned by the National Congress through a vote. “For our part, we will continue to fight and pressurize from the municipalities and states for this to reach Congress and for it to have the strength to overturn the vetoes,” says Edcleide Rocha.
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Edition: Vinícius Segalla