By Miguel Angel Núñez
The productive territories are spaces that have been selected according to the sites where genetic materials of original embryos and pre-Columbian seeds are found. These are demarcated according to Bolivarian, rural and indigenous schools, covering 16 states of the country.
Productive territories, seeds and agri-food sovereignty
The productive territories are spaces that have been selected according to the sites where genetic materials of original embryos and pre-Columbian seeds are found. These territories are demarcated according to the Bolivarian, rural and indigenous schools, linking 9 ethnic groups so far and covering 16 states of the country.
This original initiative, born in the Venezuelan revolutionary process, begins to systematize the wealth of knowledge that has been recorded, starting from different participatory methods. It is about a relationship between the teachers and students of the schools with the “living books”, who are mostly elderly people, who have a deep ancestral knowledge about the characteristics and environmental management of our genetic resources that, throughout history, still remain in our rural spaces.
So far, with an average of 40 schools per state, they guarantee us approximately 500 productive territories, where the representatives of the schools together with the "living books" have verified and established in situ how they select their seeds; how they dry and preserve them; how they germinate; how they are sown and how the crops are cared for (agroecologically); how the products are given added value, how the gastronomic culture of the food crop is commercialized and valued in their geographical area. All this knowledge has been evaluated in 37 pre-Columbian cultures and in crosses of animals and embryos. A dense knowledge has been generated, which is essential to rescue and revalue it as part of our cultural and scientific heritage, to be transferred to our new generations and substantially to be able to collaborate with the authentic foundation of a policy of agri-food sovereignty, as is the basis of our native seeds and embryos.
The productive territories that have been defined report crops with the following Amerindian contributions: cassava, cocoa corn, sweet potato, potato, peanut, tomato, chili pepper, paprika, vanilla, beans, beans, squash, squash, chayota, mapuey, moriche, Heart of palm, onoto, fruit trees such as milky, guava, mapuey, soursop, avocado, pineapple, medlar, kidney or anón, merey, cotoperíz, parchita, hicaco, jobo, semeruco or cerecita, la maya, el merecure, plants such as cotton, tobacco , Coke. Animals and embryos: hens (different crosses), chickens, roosters, turkeys, ducks, bananas, geese, quail, partridge, pigeons, guacharaca, birds, ostrich, cattle, morrocoy, pig, bees, sheep, dogs, fish, donkeys, mules, male horses, mare, chiguire, tapir, goats, cats, buffalo, silkworms among others.
The value of participatory methods
This unprecedented and valuable reflective meeting in relation to the issue of germplasms and embryos has been financially supported by Lic. Trina Manrique from CONAC, conceived by a full-fledged revolutionary, hardened in the struggles of the 60s, the comrade. Libio Rangel, who together with 140 facilitators at the national level, began their travels through the designated territories using the social and cultural productive calendars. This participatory method has been aimed at supporting a process of permanent investigation and action of the socio-cultural particularities of the school environment and its communities. From the beginning the gastronomic historical legacy of the productive communities was highlighted, coming to find this accumulation of knowledge and initiatives that point towards the collective construction of a national and international reference, which exposes, values and enhances the multiple comparative advantages that our Tropical agricultural systems present us as the material foundations of 21st century social agriculture.
The different dynamics of the participatory methods that have been used with the “living books” presage filling 3,000 notebooks of records to analyze, systematize and present them to President Chávez.
Naturally, from this quantity of records, an endless number of reflections are given off in different dimensions, worthy of being taken into account to approach to debate from other scientific and ideological perspectives, what should be an authentic policy of agri-food sovereignty.
Here are some fundamental reflections for the suggested proposal:
1) There is no doubt that there are local agri-food strategies defined by peasants and producers in our productive communities.
2) These strategies have had a sustainable use of natural resources, where peasants and producers demonstrate knowledge of their ecological and biological limitations and potential, making use of popular technologies typical of their environmental rationality and their historical-cultural heritage.
3) The meaning and social and cultural recognition of the productive knowledge of our peasant is strengthened as a basis for achieving local agri-food self-sufficiency, totally unknown by research and academic institutions of agricultural and livestock sciences. The application of Article No. 19 of the Land Law is complied with.
4) Once again it becomes clear that the attribute of agri-food endogeneity must be based on the agroecological management of the soil and the productive system as a basis to guarantee the use and purity of the genetic materials that we have in our country. In other words, to advance in the supply and demand of a productive system or chain towards the achievement of local and regional food security and sovereignty, we must take into account that the preservation, management and use of our biodiversity is and will be inseparable of any of the agri-food strategies to be defined to overcome hunger.
5) The experiences of the Venezuelan productive territories are related to other investigative processes of some tropical Latin American countries, which also show us that it is possible to find a social and ecological balance in the areas where productive dynamics similar to ours have been established.
It is our revolutionary becoming we have learned and shared with the Via Campesina Movement, that the struggle for the right to land and territories, the right to access water, forests, soils and the defense of life are inseparable from sovereignty food, understood as the right of the peoples to decide indigenously, without any pressure or imposition, the agriculture they want to have and the food they want to consume as established in our National Constitution. We affirm, without seeds there is no agriculture, without agriculture there is no food and without food there are no peoples.
Once in our revolutionary Venezuela we have re-found the bases of our genetic heritage of our seeds and embryos, we ask ourselves
What institutions of the national government are going to promote the knowledge rescued and valued in the productive territories?
Which government institutions of the academy that continue to turn their backs on the revolutionary agri-food process, will incorporate the scientific and technological character that our genetic resources are giving us?
How can our well-offered Cuban, Brazilian and Argentine international advice on agri-food matters integrate the teachings of our productive territories?
How could we institutionally articulate the knowledge found in the productive territories and produce the synergy required to promote our agri-food sovereignty?
What should we do so that this unprecedented process of revaluing our genetic-biological heritage does not die, we do not distort it and it can receive substantial support from the national government for its expansion?
By last; In the absence of a government institution that has been able to dedicate itself to the activities of the productive territories and in the face of the results found, many of us wonder: does this knowledge constitute the basis for the creation of a Ministry of Peasant Affairs? We make such a reflection, because the current situation of any food sovereignty process also involves knowing how to distinguish that in the world there are two types of agriculture that are confronted. The transgenic corporate industrial agriculture that has always had sufficient support for its relative scientific and technological development, and the agriculture of small producers, which, even without the required support, continue to show us its existence and other real possibilities for its development.