Farmers in protest, the conditions of #UnitedFarmers and Assorurale

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AgricoltoriUniti_Assorurale_2024

The position of the protesting farmers converges towards the priority objectives that Assorurale – Italian Rural Association, member of the European coordination of La Via Campesina (1) – shared today, together with the writer, with the group leaders of the Agriculture Commission in the Chamber of Deputies. AAA consumers wanted.

1) #AgricoltoriUni, the absolute priorities

The absolute priorities of the #UnitedFarmers – to be implemented immediately, as a pre-condition for suspending the protest and starting a dialogue with the institutions – are those set out in the Manifesto of 2 March 2024:

A) #fairprice. Immediate reform with legislative decree of legislative decree 198/2021 on unfair commercial practices, to establish the mandatory ban on sales and transfers below cost of agricultural and agri-food commodities. To be guaranteed with systematic checks by the Financial Police on electronic invoices where actual production costs, reference prices and exchange values ​​are displayed

B) annulment of AGEA Decision No 9 of 2022 August 41 and of the MASAF decree approved on 8 February 2024 in the State-Regions Conference, by means of which freelance professionals were excluded from access to the SIAN (National Agricultural Information System) and further obstacles were introduced to the operation of CAAs (Agricultural Assistance Centres). With unacceptable prejudice to free competition in services

– stop any plan to deregulate new GMOs (slyly renamed NGTs, New Genomic Techniques, or TEA, Assisted Evolution Techniques). At European and also national level, still in conflict with the law in force in the EU (2,3).

2) Assorural, the other priority requests

The other priority requests presented by Assorurale, to be implemented within 6-12 months for the survival of Italian farmers in crisis, concern:

– substantial advance of the 2024 CAP premiums

– mandatory ban on placing photovoltaic panels or other means
for the production and storage of energy (e.g. wind turbines) on agricultural land

– promotion and non-repayable financing for the installation of panels on the roofs of agricultural companies, for the purposes of own consumption and that of energy communities

– reintroduction of benefits to entrepreneurs under 40 who intend to
start new activities in agriculture, livestock, fishing and aquaculture

– concrete and satisfactory aid, based on actual production shortages, in cases of natural disasters (primarily droughts, floods, frosts)

– blocking of negotiations and ratifications of international free trade agreements (e.g. CETA, Mercosur, Singapore, Indonesia), in the parts that concern the unconditional liberalization of trade in unsustainable agri-food products (4,5,6,7).

2) Rural agriculture, medium-term objectives

Medium-term objectives indicated by Assorurale, to be implemented in Italy in the current legislature, concern:

– approval of the long-awaited law on peasant agriculture (8)

– implementation of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Peasants and Workers in Rural Areas (United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Peasants and Other People Working in Rural Areas, UNDROP), (9)

– ‘de-bureaucratization’ of agriculture and self-management of farm files, request for independent and free CAA, management of practices by the public.

2.1) Common agricultural policy

Assorurale’s position on the Common Agricultural Policy responds exactly to the needs of family and peasant farms. These represent 94,8% of the farms in the European Union (Eurostat, 2020) and yet they are systematically betrayed both by their false representatives (e.g. Coldiretti, Copa-Cogeca) and by the governments and MEPs who serve them exclusively. So:

– redistribute the CAP in favor of family and peasant agriculture, with a maximum ceiling of €100.000 per company and rebalancing between the first and second pillars

– no to the demands of the agribusiness oligarchies which, under the false guise of ‘simplification’, aim to dismantle environmental and social cross-compliance

– instead adapt environmental conditionality to the needs of peasant farmers, less bureaucracy and more respect for the traditions and characteristics of the territories

– provide substantial support to agroecology, which integrates a service of public interest to protect biodiversity and combat climate change (10,11)

– cover the costs of organic farming certification for family and peasant businesses with the CAP

– promote the commitment of young people and generational turnover in the National Strategic Plan

– limit the overpopulation of ungulates.

3) Vision

The vision of Fabrizio Garbarino and Antonio Onorati well expresses the idea of an agri-culture that respects all its protagonists, no one excluded, and true democracy. We must therefore

– create the chambers of agriculture, according to the French school, where farmers can elect their provincial delegates. Who so can
legitimately represent the sector at public institutions, in
permanent agricultural tables. Enough! to the obscure proxies in Coldiretti

– set up a national observatory on the working conditions of farm labourers, (12) financed with CAP funds as part of the implementation of enhanced social conditionality

– stop the sale of public agricultural land, to be rented instead at controlled prices with priority given to agroecology projects, (13,14)

– reform the system of ‘ISMEA Land Bank‘ which contributes to enriching the landowners (where in Italy Bonifiche Ferraresi stands out, of which the public body ISMEA holds 6,04% of the shares and is at the same time a partner, in an orgy of conflicts of interest) through speculation on prices of land which therefore remains inaccessible to those who produce food and to young people interested in entering agriculture.

4) AAA Consumers wanted

Farmers and labourers, breeders, shepherds and fishermen are relegated to the bottom of the national statistics. The primary sector barely represents 2% of the employed in Italy and is dying, precisely because of the bad politics led by Coldiretti to favor the agro-industrial giants and bribe its millionaire managers. (15)

Customers on the other hand they are increasingly looking for local, fresh, sustainable, pesticide-free foods. But they still don’t realize that these foods will soon disappear, if we don’t all take to the Italian streets together now to demand the fundamental human rights of the farmers who still sacrifice themselves to feed us.

#CleanSpades, #UnitedFarmers, #Égalité!

Dario Dongo

Footnotes

(1) See paragraph 8 in the previous article by Dario Dongo. Origin of raw materials on the label, the unsolved problem. GIFT (Great Italian Food Trade). 6.3.24

(2) Dario Dongo. #FarmersUnited, the manifesto 2 March 2024. GIFT (Great Italian Food Trade). 27.2.24

(3) Dario Dongo, Marta Singed. Italy. The ‘drought decree’ becomes a Trojan horse for new GMOs. Civil society protestsGIFT (Great Italian Food Trade). 31.5.23

(4) Dario Dongo. Beef with hormones from Canada to the EU. CETA, what guarantees? GIFT (Great Italian Food Trade). 25.1.21

(5) Dario Dongo. Brazil, pesticide massacres are added to deforestation. Unsustainable EU-Mercosur agreementGIFT (Great Italian Food Trade). 21.4.21

(6) Dario Dongo. Agreement between EU and Singapore, toxic treaty already in forceGIFT (Great Italian Food Trade). 22.11.19

(7) Dario Dongo. BBC Indonesia. Voice to the indigenous people robbed to produce palm oilGIFT (Great Italian Food Trade). 4.6.22

(8) Dario Dongo, Giulia Caddeo. Popular campaign for peasant agriculture, pending the lawGIFT (Great Italian Food Trade). 6.9.19

(9) Dario Dongo. Farmers’ rights, UN Declaration. GIFT (Great Italian Food Trade). 23.11.18 https://www.greatitalianfoodtrade.it/progresso/diritti-dei-contadini-dichiarazione-onu/

(10) Dario Dongo. PAC post 2020, smoky gray. We need an organic revolutionGIFT (Great Italian Food Trade). 22.10.20

(11) Marta Strinati. CAP post-2022, the failure of the ecological transition in agricultureGIFT (Great Italian Food Trade). 24.11.21

(12) Dario Dongo, Sabrina Bergamini. Water and sanitation, governments and corporalsGIFT (Great Italian Food Trade). 28.7.20

(13) Law 4 August 1978, n. 440. Rules for the use of uncultivated, abandoned or insufficiently cultivated land https://tinyurl.com/4yurppms

(14) Dario Dongo, Camilla Fincardi. Agroecology, SDGs, salvation. The FAO Decalogue. GIFT (Great Italian Food Trade). 12.4.20

(15) See paragraphs 7 and 8 of the previous article by Dario Dongo. Farmers in protest, the viral deception of Coldiretti & CoGIFT (Great Italian Food Trade). 5.2.24

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Dario Dongo, lawyer and journalist, PhD in international food law, founder of WIISE (FARE - GIFT - Food Times) and Égalité.

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