The supposed democratization of soy

The supposed democratization of soy

By Jorge Eduardo Rulli

As an export crop, soybeans helped a minority of farm owners to get out of their debts and allowed them to achieve ever-imagined living standards. The rural family disappeared, the roots, and the old rural culture languishes in the urban peripheries.

Let's say once again, because it is important to be fully aware that genetically modified rr soybeans are part of a technological package made up of herbicides and other toxins, and certain agricultural technologies such as direct seeding, technologies that from the nineties they installed in Argentina a large-scale production model and enormous dependence on inputs. The social and environmental consequences of this industrial agriculture with transgenics were truly devastating for our country. In addition to the disappearance of many thousands of small and medium producers, millions of Argentines were forced to migrate from the countryside to the city, expelled from their towns and uprooted from their traditional ways of life, to settle in urban peripheries of extreme poverty and passed to be supported with welfare plans that were paid with withholdings on soybeans and had to be fed in the soup kitchens for the homeless and in school cafeterias, with the same transgenic soybeans that Argentina produced as fodder for pigs and chickens in Europe and China .

As an export crop, soybeans helped a minority of farm owners to get out of their debts and allowed them to achieve ever-imagined living standards. The agricultural frontier expanded, and sweeping through the mountains and peasant life it reached the jungles of the Yungas, pushing cane and lemon cultivars towards the foothills.

The price of land made livestock farming unthinkable, at least as we knew it. Now, the cattle were piled up in the feedlots or marginalized in the areas of estuaries, on islands or in places where the hegemonic process of agriculture could not be imposed due to the lack of suitable land. The practice of agriculture without rotations, added to intense and repeated toxic fumigations, liquidated a good part of the phosphorus, the nutrients and the microbial life of the Argentine soils. Some ecosystems such as the Chaco or northern Santa Fe collapsed, cancer became an epidemic, and Argentina broke a record of crops and children born with malformations, because their mothers were in contact with poisons or were fumigated during pregnancy. In the framework of the so-called globalization, the Argentine case is emblematic of the new submission to the corporations, of the installation of a productive model that, due to its extensive collateral damage, perpetrates a true genocide on the population itself.

The agribusiness model was favored, which started from the concept of making agriculture a business and not a form of existence in the countryside as it was previously with the farmers.

The food production spaces and the fresh food marketing spaces disappeared, to the benefit of the agri-food chains and the industrialization of everything that constitutes Argentine food. Precarious work currently supports, to a large extent, the reduced vegetable and vegetable market, while the agro-export model is reconfigured towards new production parameters and global dependence on large corporations. The current crises in the countryside hide under the media circus of electoral policies, the deepening of the current model. We are halfway between the republiqueta of forage soy, and the republiqueta of biofuels and biogenetics, a stage in which the large “pools” [or agricultural trusts], the soybean oil complex, the great “feedloteros” will definitely prevail. [dedicated to intensive cattle fattening], meat processing plants, agrofuel refineries and exporters […] In fact, the whole country has long depended on a discussion about export duties, and yet it has never been heard talk to an exporter on the subject and apparently they are very satisfied with the existing policies, in such a way the experts say that in Argentina they earn up to fifty times what they would earn in other export markets, without having significant controls on the activities they carry out .

On the other hand, the insistence of the local left on land ownership and the raising of the slogan of agrarian reform as a solution to the problem of growing sojization, confuses the thinking of public opinion and is absolutely functional to the imposed model by corporations. Unless we refer to the ownership of the domain of the land that they occupy from former small peasants of the interior provinces, we will be taking the focus of attention from the need to deactivate the model to take it, as in a distracting operation, to the confines of the model , where the frontier of compulsive agriculturization expands and the situations can be extremely dramatic, but never decisive. The insistence on the slogan of agrarian reform by a certain left, without the explicit accompaniment of the concept of food sovereignty, conceals the unspeakable aspiration to expand the current model of transgenic monocultures with new contingents of rural sectors, in an operation that we have called with sarcasm: the "democratization of the soy model".

Today the question passes clearly and decisively, by the use and not by the property of the land, since no great capitalist, at the price of the land today, would accept to maintain such immobile capital, when his money is reproduced more easily in the services, in the intermediation or in the use of other people's land that it impoverishes without major consequences for the own patrimony. The problem arises from consolidating the soybean model, channeling the unemployed from agriculture into social struggles. In this way, it facilitated the installation of the current care and clientele model, a complementary and indispensable social model to corporate plans that require only the territory and natural assets: biofuels, cyanurization mining, implanted forests and paper pulp. Today, corporations do not need rights, but they need governors and leaders who take care of the social and who are convinced, as is convenient for companies, that world hunger can be solved with more and more biotechnology. Corporations need leaders with whom they can negotiate the new rules of international domination, leaders who manage the current fragmentation of society and who accentuate the growing splintering of identities and interests, in the new metropolises of poverty, urban conglomerates in process of becoming slums, always on the verge of environmental collapse and mired in insecurity and particularly in food insecurity.

In the new globalized societies, citizen conscience languishes mired in the consumption of images, while politics seem to have become a way of life in which a few do business and many others secure a meager salary between now and the elections. The rest seem willing to choose, once again, between Coca and Pepsi. The bulk of intellectuals remain burdened by their own history, in a mechanism of denial of failures that they only know how to read as defeats, a mechanism that leads them to persist over and over again in the same or similar error.

The progressive sides of the Latin American left, manifestly anachronistic in times of climate change and the evident depletion of the planet's life resources, their refusal to understand the importance of ecology in the struggle of the peoples, and that stubborn conviction in neutrality of science and technology, inherited from the myths of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, makes them functional to the interests of corporations and to the globalization and post-globalization model.

Meanwhile, the new global plagues arising from those sinister manure pits and septic tanks of the new and gigantic industry of meat production in confinement, sow terror in the populations of the planet as if they were apocalyptic threats and make possible huge businesses of the corporations of the medicines. Gigantism of the productions, bioindustry, monocultures with transgenics, disappearance of biodiversity, absence of the State, increasing lack of protection of the peoples, pollution and decrease of the immune systems are the inevitable results of these models that are promoted both from the right and from the left.

We need to escape these traps and persist in the search for new paths. More and more of us are participating in the company of saving the planet and recovering scales and ways of life that respect our own humanity. In this battle for life there are no minor tasks, and the sense of personal responsibility is one of the most formidable instruments that we can engage in the fight. Hence the importance of awareness and ecological practices that millions of people are incorporating: new recycling, reuse and reuse habits; replace plastic bags, demedicalize one's health, produce one's own food and reproduce trees and spread it, buy from small producers in local markets and adapt food to seasonal fruits, avoiding industrialized products as much as possible. We are on the right track and we are more and more numerous, we do not even intend to win, but we have made the battle for life out of the way. They can't beat us.

Jorge Eduardo Rulli - The full version of this editorial (May 3, 2009) of the Horizonte Sur radio program can be consulted on the program's website, broadcast on 870 AM on Radio Nacional, Buenos Aires, Argentina, http: //horizontesurblog.blogspot. com / - This is an extract published by the Journal BIODIVERSIDAD, SUSTENTO Y CULTURAS de GRAIN

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