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The Training Center of the Small Farmers Movement of Brazil (Via Campesina) - located in Rio Grande do Sul- represents a stronghold of political and productive struggle against tobacco transnational corporations that subdue peasant families.
Leader of MPA Rosiéle Lüdtke explained this in an interview with Real World Radio during the 5th National Native Seed Festival held in Anchieta, Santa Catarina state.
At an early age Rosiéle joined the Rural Pastoral Youth and she identified with the proposal of the Small Farmers Movement promoted in her region, where there are large tobacco monoculture plantations.
Coming from a farming family of German origin, she witnessed how her family and most farmers in Rio Grande do Sul harvested to sell their products to transnational corporations, so she found the proposal of production diversification and political training really attractive and necessary.
“I studied, I took a course in agriculture but I continued to be a peasant”, she says.
“Peasants are trapped in the tobacco chain: we receive input, technical assistance and we have no guarantee of the prices from the industry. They sell lots of input, poison that is not necessary, they provide assistance that is inadequate, so in this way they increase the family farmers’ dependence on them”.
About her role at the MPA’s training center “San Francisco de Asis” in Santa Cruz do Sul, two hours from Porto Alegre, Rosiele highlights that in the beginning they confronted the price of tobacco raw materials.
“But then we realized that this did not solve anything, we needed to fight production. In Santa Cruz do Sul, which is where tobacco transnational corporations are based in Brazil, we needed to have an alternative that would be in direct opposition to tobacco production.
The training center has 40 hectares with food, energy, farming experiences, staples that can be planted where tobacco is, where we expose peasant technologies. “It is not a matter of imposing technologies but of showing that it is possible to build technology based on peasant knowledge”.
Diversification, complementarity, agroecology and added value to production are some of the principles promoted by the training center visited by around 20 international delegates that were invited to the festival.
Photo: Radio Mundo Real
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