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The dialogue between peasant movements in Brazil, facilitated by La Via Campesina, has strengthened since late 2011 around the resistance against agribusiness, which is considered to be a “power alliance” that includes large estate owners, transnational corporations, political sectors and media.
The 5th Native Seed Festival is being organized by the National Board of Small Farmers Movement of Brazil (MPA) in Anchieta, Santa Catarina, Brazil. One of its members, Marcelo Leal, participated in one of the panels, where he explained that the basis for the “power alliance” can be explained in three aspects: the defense of land rights, the production of healthy food without harming the environment and the agrarian reform.
The peasant leader made a description of Brazil’s current economic situation and its ’reprimarization’, unlike the apparent ’reindustrialization’ the country is associated with internationally.
Leal quoted figures that show that Brazil’s level of industrialization is similar to what it used to be 50 years ago, despite of which -national and international- investments are more limited to production or commodification through the extraction of raw materials and energy.
Leal, an agronomist who also studied political economics, claims that
La Via Campesina has played a key role to put together rural workers, people affected by dams and other national organizations that are being increasingly affected by the current economic model that only benefits foreign investors and local elites.
The capacity building event goes on from 18 to 20 April. Three hundred MPA activists from 17 states are participating in the activity, plus international guests from Colombia, Ecuador, Paraguay, Argentina, Uruguay, Nicaragua, Guatemala and Honduras.
Some of the issues being discussed at the plenary sessions are the improvement of the “Peasant plan” that will imply a proposal but that will also include food and energy production alternatives by analysing the situation in Brazil, the Americas and the world.
Some international guests visited the MPA’s training center in Santa
Cruz municipality, Rio Grande do Sul, where the movement works on diversifying the production of tobacco monoculture plantations promoted for decades by transnational corporations operating there.
They MPA has now installed small agroindustries where they produce organic food, alcohol, sweets and vegetables.
The training includes the participation of international speakers and a celebration during the weekend at Anchieta’s main square with MPA members that will carry native seeds produced in different regions, and the performance of several local artists.
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