Project in the San Javier Organic Basin

Project in the San Javier Organic Basin

By Mirta Rivera

In contemporary society, one of the tools to deal with growing social and ecological problems is to have an active attitude in consumption. Responsible consumption implies being aware of the repercussions - social, economic, environmental - that acts of consumption have.

Project in the San Javier Organic Basin

Organic production for responsible consumption

In contemporary society, one of the tools to deal with growing social and ecological problems is to have an active attitude in consumption. Responsible consumption implies being aware of the repercussions - social, economic, environmental - that acts of consumption have.

As a general rule, the objective of production is the generation of wealth, which is why it tends to reduce people to the role of mere passive consumers. However, that does not exempt them from responsibility and a certain amount of power. Conscious and responsible consumption, aimed at promoting activities that are beneficial to nature and people, is a great contribution and a decisive instrument of pressure against the market.

Directing our shopping habits towards responsible consumption is a difficult task, which implies changes in our practices as consumers, as well as a constant search for information that allows us to independently choose products and services.

Just as responsible consumption synthesizes an ethical, ecological and solidarity consumption, there is also a type of food production that is environmentally and socially responsible. It's about organic production.

Opting for organic products is an act of responsible consumption, since the production system of these promotes the protection of the environment and its resources, the care of human health and the quality of life of rural workers.

In the organic basin of San Javier, Misiones, 840 families live from this type of production. The history of the basin dates back to 1996, when the economic crisis that affected agricultural production and exports caused the bankruptcy of the San Javier sugar mill, which operated as a cooperative company since 1950. This closure affected nine municipalities and a large number of families that lived from its production. By decree, the province of Misiones transferred the administration of the mill to the IFAI (Institute of Agricultural and Industrial Development), which implemented the production of organic sugar. In the new challenge, the old producers that supplied the raw material to the mill would now begin to convert their conventional production to organic. Thus began a process of controls that allowed the IFAI to achieve the certification of the basin in three years.

Since the beginning of 2004, supported by the Organics project, these farmers have been diversifying their production. The idea of ​​the project is that they get out of the only profitable crop that is currently sugar cane and that they can venture into other economic alternatives. Thus, the project, financed by the Italian government and carried out by an Italian NGO and a local one, provided training, technology and inputs for the incorporation of vegetable crops. This allows a weekly entry of money, which the cane or annual crops do not allow, since a profit is obtained once a year to distribute in the 12 months.

At this time, tomatoes, peppers, round zucchini and zucchini, basil, lettuce, chard, pickles are being produced, for self-consumption and to market in the Posadas market and other nearby cities.

The key to this project is that small producers must work together, because the area that each of them can exploit with the help of their family is not much: to access the market with the three Cs (quantity, continuity and quality) depend on of others. The project also helps them with a refrigerated truck, irrigation system and the fitting out of a packing plant in which the vegetables are classified to take them to the markets. The premises for the packing plant were provided by the municipality of San Javier, through a usufruct for 15 years, to the Association of Sugarcane Producers of San Javier (MAPO, Argentine Movement for Organic Production), whose partners are the beneficiaries of this draft.

The Organics project was created within the framework of a Cooperation Agreement with the Italian government, and is developed by the Institute for International Economic Cooperation (ICEI), an Italian NGO, Fundación del Sur, Argentine NGO and MAPO. In addition to promoting organic development in our country, the project includes training and advice for producers, informative talks and workshops for teachers.

Organic production is governed by a specific rule, which establishes the non-use of certain chemical synthesis products (pesticides, herbicides, fertilizers, preservatives, etc.) in the production and processing of food. In this way, basic resources are protected, such as soil and water that are not depleted or contaminated, the health of rural workers, which is not affected by toxic fumes, and finally that of all consumers who choose healthy products. It brings significant benefits to human health and represents a strong trend around the world. In fact, according to Rodolfo Tarraubella, president of MAPO, “in Switzerland, more than 90 percent of baby food is made with organic products, while in the rest of Europe that percentage already reaches 50 percent”.

* Responsible for the communication of Organic Project: Mirta Rivera

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