The delegation made up of agricultural producers and technicians from Austria arrived in Reconquista to learn about the Obreros del Surco organization, which brings together family producers and fishermen, where the work of a producer organization as a social organization is reflected.
In Colonia Durán they visited the fields of the Sager and Holzer families, in which experiences of managing native forest with cattle are reflected.
In addition, they were received by the Bishop of Reconquista Ángel Macín.
After touring the area, representatives of both countries prepared an open letter addressed to governments, social and political organizations, and the community, as the result of a first exchange of experiences. They showed their concern about the effects of climate change, the urgency to defend natural resources and highlighted the key role of family farming in tackling global problems.
Alliance for sustainable agriculture
Representatives of family farming from Austria and Argentina presented a document with proposals to close the visit of Austrian farmers to the country.
It was after an exchange of experiences and joint work that lasted 15 days and included leaders from the provinces of Chaco, Corrientes, Santa Fe and Buenos Aires. This alliance, which promotes the union of both countries for the promotion of sustainable agriculture, is managed by Incupo in Argentina and by Welthaus in Austria, with financing from the Ministry of the Environment of the European country.
The final meeting took place at the headquarters of the Argentine Episcopate, with the presence of the president of the Episcopal Commission for Social Pastoral Care, Monsignor Lugones; the vice head of mission of the Austrian Embassy in Argentina, Lisa Butzenlechner; the president of Incupo, Ernesto Stahtringer; the Managing Director of Welthaus Graz, Markus Meinster, the President of the Justice and Peace Commission Humberto Podetti; Marcos Filardi of the Network of Free Chairs of Food Sovereignty and the president of the Institute of Family Agriculture, Miguel Gómez.
This declaration of family farmers from Argentina and Austria, in ALLIANCE and accompanied by INCUPO and WELTHAUS, is part of an exchange with different organizations such as the Asamblea Campesino Indígena del Norte Argentino (ACINA) and farmers on a trip through the north and center of Argentina .
These international meetings mobilized the producers, their organizations and the technical and political leaders. Based on that, they shared some reflections that include urgent problems, challenges for the sector and a call to governments and political actors.
Faced with global problems such as environmental pollution and the effects of climate change; the urgency in the conservation of natural spaces such as the Amazon, the Chaco region and the Guaraní Aquifer; a global trade in agricultural products that leads to deforestation; and consumers’ loss of contact with food production and processing; Family farm producers from Austria and Argentina propose:
“A production of healthy and culturally appropriate food; the reinforcement of local networks, with regional marketing; the implementation of communication and education strategies to show the work of small producers. Also, promote awareness to positively influence consumers; an international dialogue to work together on global solutions; and the joint work between family farmers, organizations and States for a climate-friendly food system”, as expressed in the letter they made public this Friday, November 18.
“As organized family farmers, we contribute to sustainable family farming in our localities, provinces, and countries, and we invite politics, the church, science, and civil society to join our alliance,” the document says, highlighting the role of family farmers who carry out the use of agroecological methods, promoting biodiversity, soil regeneration, ecological management of diseases and pests and responsible consumption of resources.
The public call they made includes three central points: A request for recognition of family farmers, their organizations and the agroecological approach; the support of the institutions and organizations to the producers, promoting their production and commercialization opportunities. And finally, the design of global strategies based on humanity, spirituality and the will to change.
Family farming here and there
The alliance between Argentina and Austria unites organizations that are working to recover forests and put sustainable livestock farming into practice in those places, reinforcing the idea that the forest can be cared for and worked for the benefit of the environment and the economies of the family farmers. During the visit to Argentina of eleven agroecological producers from Austria, innovative productions were seen, such as organic livestock, the relevance of the native forest and why it is important to preserve it.
The dialogue with the organizations was useful to learn how the organizations in Argentina and Austria are looking at the role of family farmers, the constraints that exist in the two countries. It was an exercise in recognizing what both countries have in common, what needs to be strengthened and what needs to be changed to take care of the earth, our common home.