By Miguel Ángel Llana
Industrialization and waste of energy displaced the traditional model of cultivation and breeding, thus causing it to be abandoned along with the social and cultural model in which it was developed, but it is not about longing for past times. The point is that the traditional model was thrown overboard and this new agricultural and livestock model, which is accompanied by other problems, is not sustainable or energy profitable.
Agriculture depends on oil and gas
Agriculture and livestock depend more and more on external energy resources - oil and natural gas - for cultivation, fertilizers, pesticides, irrigation, manufacturing and transportation, in addition, intensive and extensive crops increase consumption and energy dependence. Production moves away from consumers making it necessary to transport thousands of kilometers, which reduces energy efficiency: to produce and bring a calorie to the table, more energy is spent in its process than it provides us, for this reason -among others - the agricultural model is unsustainable. If to all this we add that nutrients, water and other resources are overexploited and that even the agricultural model -as a great consumer of energy- adds to climate change, the future is even less rosy.
Industrialization and waste of energy displaced the traditional model of cultivation and breeding, thus causing it to be abandoned along with the social and cultural model in which it was developed, but it is not about longing for past times. The point is that the traditional model was thrown overboard and this new agricultural and livestock model, which is accompanied by other problems, is not sustainable or energy profitable; nor does it solve or guarantee the quality or the food supply that depends on other factors and political decisions taken at a greater distance even than the food we consume from crops harvested thousands of kilometers away. Put more bluntly, our agriculture and livestock depend entirely on oil and gas, the depletion (or shortage) of these energies will lead to the collapse of agriculture and livestock from which we feed.
Agrofuels aggravate the situation and transgenics consume even more resources, apart from other problems.
The regional Government of Asturias (serve as an example of what happens in other communities), oblivious to the above, disparagingly puts in the bag of the Ministry of Environment and Rural Development all Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries that with 300 km of the coast, while in the same bag as the products, go the field workers and their future. In this political and antisocial model only pharaonic works with millionaire investments count, but not the day to day and what can give work, future and tangible products for local, regional and general benefit, now it is time to eat and feed with cement, bricks and fast businesses, which is what this government has been sowing for a long time and thus renouncing the agricultural past - its roots - and a balanced, healthy and sustainable future, although after so many nonsense, one more does not cause alarm.
What should be a healthy agricultural and livestock management is adrift, without having a present or future, as if we could survive without solidarity by pulling each one on one side and leaving planning to happy isolated occurrences or, what is more likely, to looting and opportunism. The government's work of coordination and support, which is there for that and is paid for, is conspicuous by its absence and its neglect.
In the three sectors mentioned, agriculture, livestock and fishing, research, promotion, development, guidance, support, subsidies, etc. and the corresponding laboratories, farms, hatcheries, etc. they are supposed to work for free and automatically without further ado, judging by the little planning that the government dedicates to them and camouflaging them in a council that does not even represent them by name. To verify the abandonment of these sectors, it is enough to approach any trade and see that a good part of the traditional agricultural products come from places thousands of kilometers away, without being precisely exotic species, but as familiar and everyday as potatoes, apples (even those of cider), nuts, corn, legumes (including those of fabada), etc. or see how many towns and farms that were alive a few decades ago were left uninhabited.
But, nothing was accidental, the school concentration imposed by making that cultural reference disappear, the closing of markets in the cities (replaced by commercial surfaces) that favored direct sales and other difficulties that were not resolved at the time did the rest. Budgets and money abounded for the immediate, the speculative and the superfluous, but agricultural areas and their surroundings were relegated at a stroke.
Now it remains to pay the bill of climate change and the ecological deterioration caused to return, necessarily, to an economic model that is respectful of the limited resources of nature and to recover a sustainable agrarian social and economic model; now, for the good, with a studied planning or, in not a long time, for the bad, but with a very serious food crisis as soon as oil and gas are scarce. The question is: Are our politicians up for the job? Not at all, and neither is the model of imposed democracy.