Today in Plaza de Mayo, small farmers from the Workers of the Land Union (UTT) will distribute over 20 thousand kilograms of fresh produce to advocate for the implementation of emergency and long-term protective laws for small growers. According to UTT, growers are subject to “A system of commercialization with an average difference of more than 400 percent between that which the workers receives for production and that which the average resident pays in the neighborhood market.”
With a 400 percent disparity between consumer cost and growers’ wages, the free vegetables represent the sizable difference commercialization marks up without benefit to the grower.
UTT last protested in September 2016, promoting the proposed Land Access Bill, which proposed the creation of a fund to give small farmers the capital necessary to purchase land.
Today’s protest holds four objectives for UTT: the advancement of the Land Access Bill, the creation of and Emergency Law for Economic Regions, an end to farmer evictions from their land and the immediate implementation, including budget allocation, of the Family Agriculture Act.
The Family Agriculture Act was signed into law in 2014 under the Kirchner administration, and is supposed to establish land as a “social good” which can be stored in a “land bank,” to be distributed to small farmers, especially families and local persons. Familial farming, meaning small farming where the majority of labor comes from the family unit, represents 20 percent of agricultural gross domestic product in Argentina. Familial farming is also the largest employment sector in rural areas, employing 53 percent of the population.
UTT worries without regulation, there will continue to be a growers’ crisis: “The devaluation, the increase in taxes, the inflation, the opening of imports, the fall of the consumer and the grave structural situation of the distinct sectors [are responsible for] the productive crisis.”