Phytosanitary regulations as a form of exclusion from the peasant economy

Phytosanitary regulations as a form of exclusion from the peasant economy

By Senator Jorge Enrique Robledo

In this global competition, transnationals act with logic. Or that of the sugar that wants to remove the one from the panela and cannot do it in the open competition of capitalism and then demands drinking water from the farm and since there is no drinking water, the panela farmer leaves the market.

Sanitary regulations are affecting the whole of agricultural production. We are already facing the big problem of the ban on the trade of raw milk for boiling, a problem not yet solved, but postponed in good time due to the opposition of traders and producers. Today what we are going to look at is the mess about the possibility that Colombian farmers have to raise and slaughter chickens on their farms to sell meat.

In the case of paneleros, there is pressure to become technified in proportions that they cannot assume. The claims are many, because if the Ministry insists on imposing that rule, it will end up ruining thousands of Colombian paneleros for the benefit of the large sugar mills in the geographic valley of the Cauca River. The price of panela fell to the order of 60 or 70 thousand pesos per load and there is a very serious problem in the panela areas that should be addressed. Because the price falls at the moment in which some paneleros contracted debts to modernize and then they are caught by the collapse of the price at the worst moment. There is a crisis in the panelera area.

About the slaughterhouses. We were right when we realized what was going to happen with the decision to impose sanitary standards on slaughterhouses that were impossible to comply with. What we said is happening. They are not getting technical, they are closing them. Until two months ago, 352 slaughterhouses were closed and in recent days those in Lérida and Armero-Guayabal, in the department of Tolima, have closed and they inform me in Lérida, where I was last Saturday, that the price of meat increased by a thousand pesos per pound. This is another serious social problem, in a country full of poor people, with an economy shaking from the effects of the international crisis. I insist on asking the Ministries of Health and Agriculture: is a policy that makes Colombians eat less meat good, what makes there less employment? What is good for public health: that promotion regulations are drawn up to truly modernize slaughterhouses, which no one really opposes, or that what is going to end up happening happens, that people will end up sacrificing their cattle to banks of streams and under coffee plantations or in hidden places.

I want to insist that there is a poorly planned health policy here, and it is the one that we are going to discuss today in the case of chickens or peasant hens. This does not mean that I am against taking care of the sanitary. It is obvious that this is a problem that must be addressed, it falls off its weight and that is not the discussion. What is raised is how the process is carried out, how national realities are addressed. And I hope the example I'm going to give you from the United States would be followed. It may seem strange to you that I quote it, but it serves me well to show you how to assume a logical attitude. In the United States, as in many countries, a health problem arises with the live bird trade. In general, the mobilization of living beings, not only chickens and birds, but also human beings, usually generates health problems. Look at what Dr. Roberto Guzmán says, a consultant veterinarian for the United States Department of Agriculture, who was here in Colombia a few days ago, in an interview published by the Poultry magazine of FENAVI, the guild of large poultry farmers. Mr. Roberto Guzmán, a North American citizen, says:

“It is a very complex job, because we are facing a cultural fact, there is a permanent demand for chickens, many like to buy the live animal so that they can sacrifice it right there. Now, if this is not regularized, people will continue to do it clandestinely ”.

And look at what this same American specialist tells us, Vice Minister of Health, about how they treat the case in the United States:

“In the United States, the trade in live birds in large cities is a relevant issue –we are talking about New York, Detroit, Los Angeles, San Francisco, etc.– due to the great demand that exists for ducks, chickens, quail, geese. , etc., by countless cultures settled there. Faced with this, the Department of Agriculture, convinced that the live bird market will continue to function, instead of trying to close it, what it did was to set up a very strong surveillance system in 2003 in coordination with the producers that supply them, thus as with their operators ”.

In other words, they recognize the existence of a problem, but also some cultural, economic and commercial realities. And what are the místeres saying, and we are talking about the country that produces the most birds in the world, if I'm not wrong, and probably the most technified poultry farming and the country with the highest sanitary standards, and look at what is the attitude assumed by the United States Department of Agriculture. What, in short? That we look at the problem sensibly. That we recognize that there are cultural realities here and we look for ways to improve sanitary conditions, but based on realities.

The countries did not start yesterday. Now I was saying to the director of the ICA: if the first chicken were to be brought to Colombia next week, one could invent some very special sanitary protocols, but we have been with poultry for 500 years, and that imposes some realities that are there and that must be taken care of. That is, what: advance in sanitary standards, but without causing such a mess that they cause hunger and more poverty or even worse because what is introduced are clandestine, desperate ways, as the United States Secretary of Agriculture prevents, where there are also many more police officers than here.

The FAO recommendation

Look what FAO says, the world organization that watches over the food issues of humanity. And look at the importance it attaches to chickens, which we here call peasant or small-production chickens. FAO says:

“Rural poultry farming is like a dress that is in fashion and that can be worn alone or combined with others. Indeed, poultry farming can be associated with almost all the activities carried out by small farmers ”.

This concept is key. Peasant poultry farming is not a specialized production, but it appears associated with coffee, corn, etc.

“Only a poultry program adapted to local conditions will satisfy its participants. Rural poultry production contributes to improving food security in many developing countries by generating income for poor farmers, particularly women ”.

Here the FAO further specifies that families do not raise chickens or chickens in the field simply to eat them. They are talking about how this increases the income of poor producers, particularly women. Another key issue. It is the type of task in which the small rural owner, the husband, can work part of the year, and the raising of chickens is more of a woman's own activity, as is also the case to a large extent with the raw milk trade.

“This activity uses local resources efficiently, requires few inputs and makes important economic, religious, social and cultural contributions to the improvement of the living conditions of peasant households. Poultry present numerous advantages, particularly when they are raised in diversified production systems. They are small, they reproduce easily, they do not require large investments and they can provide themselves, at least in part, to feed themselves, they are capable of feeding on kitchen waste, discarded grains, worms, snails, insects and vegetation and some concentrates. ”.

We are talking about a tremendously efficient activity economically. It is probable that the profitability of a chicken or a hen raised in a peasant plot is higher than that of a chicken or a hen raised in a technified farm, precisely because of these characteristics that I am showing.

It does not show the rationality of the million-bird farm, but it is not irrational for that. Nor is it an economic or social absurdity. It simply presents another rationality. How can an animal that does not have to eat 100% concentrates produced in many cases with imports, but is capable of eating a cricket or kitchen waste, is not going to exhibit immense rationality. And in that sense, it has a very high efficiency, which allows it to even compete with the most technified farms in Colombia.

If there are so many peasant hens, and now I am going to show how many, it is because they are efficient and competitive in their own way, which is different from the way other types of producers produce their hens or chickens or their eggs, because ultimately the problem is the same. We are talking about peasant chickens, but in general we are talking about a whole process in which there are eggs, chickens, everything. Then it turns out that the layers, as happens in technified farms, once they complete their cycle, they become animals for slaughter and for using their meat.

A very important line in the economy

How important they are in the national economy is another aspect that should be looked at when the Ministries of Agriculture and Health take action. Because it is not the same that Colombia is produced on a small or large scale. I give you this detail: Fenavi and Dane, from 2002, and it is a mess we have because there are no recent studies, they count 29 million copies: 12 million hens and 17 million chickens. In addition, one billion eggs, all from traditional, peasant production.

In my office they made some calculations accepting that this type of production increased by the same percentage as the national poultry industry as a whole, and today we can be talking about 24 million chickens, 843 thousand roosters and 17 million hens, for a total of 41 million birds annually.

It is a very important line for the national economy. And if we look at it from the GDP side, the percentage is more important, because it adds much more value at the moment of truth than what can be added by the technified farms that import almost all the food of these birds. The other idea that I want to make clear is that this sector of peasant chicken production is vital in the economy of those peasants. Without it, many could not survive. They would simply be ruined, because they have no other options.

I am also going to look at the problem of rural poverty in some detail. This worries me more and more in discussions with the government. Minister Arias gets upset when I say it, but I insist on saying: we are not in Denmark, we are in Cundinamarca! It is a way of pointing out that international standards cannot be strictly applied in Colombia, because they do enormous damage. It is not the same to make health decisions in France, the United States or Italy, and yet, look at how careful the United States is in making them. So I can't help but protest when I see that sanitary standards are almost mechanically being transferred to Colombia. I have often cited the case of the sanitary regulation that prohibits the production of panela with painted nails, a regulation brought from I don't know where, as is obvious. How many peasant panela producers will paint their nails and yet the prohibition against making panela with painted nails is still there.

I am going to give you some figures to try to illustrate a bit what rural poverty is like. Sometimes I think that those of us in politics do know this reality, but at times it occurs to me that the high state bureaucracy does not know rural poverty. You will think so, because suddenly on Sundays they go on tours to the farm, but on those days they are attended by the mayor, the wealthy of the town, and probably the less impoverished peasants appear. But if one goes to the deep agriculture, not to the one on the banks of the main roads, where peasants who live four, five and ten hours from the first urban site of some importance, we find ourselves with really scandalous poverty.

I am going to give some figures to illustrate what I am talking about. Less than one hectare, rural properties in Colombia, 1,380,000, that is, 35% of rural properties in Colombia have less than one hectare. From one to three hectares, 868,000, from three hectares down is 58% of the Colombian rural property. This is canned hunger and poverty, as they say, and those are the peasants of these chickens that we are talking about. Concentration of land in Colombia, GINI index, 85%, I think one of the worst in the world, because when it approaches one hundred, and we are at 85, it is already the worst index, that is, a higher one does not exist except in the theory. This is poverty too. 68% of rural workers earn less than a minimum wage, 35% earn less than half the minimum wage, and these are the ones who raise these chickens that they call backyard, people who have a little house and a yard and five or ten chickens.

Rural poverty is chilling

Look at the Gross Domestic Product per capita, the general of the country, 4,390 dollars, very bad. In the United States or Europe they can be 40 thousand dollars. The average rural per capita, $ 1,522. But if the average is fifteen hundred, it is because there are people of three hundred, four hundred and two hundred. I give you a figure that you are going to be terrified of: the per capita in Colombia is 1,522 dollars, that of the Congo is 1,540 dollars. Those of the Colombian countryside are per capita income of an African country. That of Sri Lanka, in Asia, which is one of the poorest countries on earth, that country to which cyclones arrive every year and flood and destroy it to the point of devastation, is 1,540, and the Colombian agrarian is 1,522 , less than Sri Lanka, of course includes urban areas there.

Other data. Poverty throughout Colombia is 49%, rural is 73%, these are figures from Dane and the National Planning Department. Indigence: the national average is 14%, rural is 27%. Chronic malnutrition in rural areas, for children under five, 17%; from 5 to 9 years, 18%; from 10 to 17 years, 24%. In boys of fifteen, sixteen, seventeen, chronic malnutrition is one in four. Chilling.

Let's look at the case of coffee growers, because the statistics here are very bad, so one does not have figures, I wish one could say so much in panela, but the figures in Colombia are very bad. Let's look at the case of the coffee growers who are reputed to be one of the sectors of the national agriculture with less difficulties, but look at the figures and you are going to be terrified. 95% of the coffee plantations have less than five hectares, 88% less than three hectares, 62% less than one hectare, those are the coffee growers of these chickens that we are talking about, many there in the Manizales leaks and that They are looking for me because the government is persecuting them. Sure, they are not next to the paved road. These compatriots must be sought in the deepest part of the canyon. In coffee, 63% do not have an aqueduct, 94% do not have a sewer system. And the rules that oblige them to have sewers to kill a chicken. Misery in coffee, 28%. There I was last week meeting in Ibagué with the farmers of the Municipal Committee of Coffee Growers of Tolima, and I take the opportunity to send the message to Minister Arias. They are busted, because, in addition, the roads are over in Colombia, there are no roads in rural areas. Pulling out a bundle of orange turned out to be a feat.

Of the 27 thousand sugar mills in Colombia, 12 thousand are with animal traction, without a motor neither ACPM nor electric, animal traction, and I wish someone would do the statistics and I am sure that they will find some that are human traction . I have known trapiches in Colombia on the basis that they are pushed by the owners of the trapiche. This is the country we are talking about. I know that I can't convey what I want: the Colombian rural drama. Not that the city is fine, but I emphasize the matter.

Let's look at one last fact before entering specifically to analyze the measures that have been taken. And I take advantage and leave it as a record in the debate. It is seeing such a state of poverty that I affirm that they should not raise taxes on poultry farmers. They are going to make them an increase of about 75%.

The collection of the poultry parafiscal contribution, which Fenavi collects or spends, will go from about six billion to twelve billion. It is against hunger that it turns. Eggs are practically the only form of animal protein consumed by the poor in Colombia. It has become normal in the poor neighborhoods of urban areas that for lunch you buy a cup of rice and four eggs and make a dish that is rice cooked with eggs, well, and a little whey in the Coast, which is also he is on the verge of being persecuted with the raw milk decrees.

When they then tell me that they are going to raise a peso to the contribution, of course I cannot agree with the imposition of taxes that affect the poor of a very poor country like this. And be careful with this, gentlemen of the government and senators, I am afraid, I hope I am wrong, but the impoverished that this country is going to hit in the coming years is not going to have a name. The times of the fat cows of the national economy in the past years little or nothing reached the town. And the years of the lean cows come and they are going to be thin.

Look what is happening in the United States. It was the growth of the world economy that pulled the national economy, not democratic security, as its main feature. Bad times for the world economy are coming and bad times for the national economy are coming. It would be a miracle if it wasn't, I hope I'm wrong, let's wait. The government should act with the sensible logic of not causing more damage, nor more damage, nor affecting more lines of the economy, which even if they are not the lines of the people with ties and freshly shaved and perfumed, they are a vital part of the economy. economy of the country and the functioning of this society.

Resolution 957

Let's talk about a first Resolution of the ICA, the 957 of April of this year, on agricultural farms that fortunately, already repealed it this week, but nevertheless I want to analyze it. This first resolution was destined to put conditions to the producers about how their property had to be in order to fatten some hens or chickens or to get some eggs.

So they talked about agricultural farms. That's what they called the place where those birds were raised or fattened, commercial poultry farms, to which they set standards, and self-consumption poultry farms, to which they set other, slightly less demanding standards.

The first thing I have to regret is that there is so much misunderstanding of the country where you live. In Colombia there are no self-consumption poultry farms as a specialized figure. Our peasants do not raise or fatten chickens or chickens to eat. That is not true, and it expresses a lack of knowledge of the national reality. Our farmers fatten a chicken or a hen mainly to sell it. Well, I already read what the FAO says. There is no need to do deep research here, because in Colombia, in the midst of the poverty that I tried to explain now, an old adage that says: when a poor man eats chicken, one of the two is sick. That is still true. Either the chicken is sick or the poor man is sick. That is the norm. So there are no specialized self-consumption poultry farms, as you tried to put them. And they made in that resolution a series of demands that were practically impossible to fulfill on the part of the farmers of backyard chickens. I am not going to examine each of the regulations, but they were about the design of the houses, the specialization of the spaces, the accesses, the qualities of light, drinking water, and talking about drinking water in the Colombian countryside is as if I also asked for a space shuttle. They could not be fulfilled in any way.

In response to our claims, a second ICA resolution came out. I call it the second resolution, but I met it last night, in which there are no longer self-consumption farms. Bingo !, they were right to correct that. And they established that commercial poultry farms to which they place a series of demands are those where more than two hundred live birds are housed. They are accepting the farmer who, without special conditions, can have up to two hundred birds on his farm at any given time. I frankly tell you that this may be a sufficient number in the strictly peasant economy, 200 birds, assuming that they did a perfect technical process and raised chickens every eight weeks, fat, it would mean that in the year they would return to the business six times. We would have twelve hundred chickens fattened a year or less, and one can assume that this is where the norm is right as to what the needs of a farmer may be. But frankly I tell you, director of the ICA, vice ministers and colleagues, I have many doubts that this should be a cap, because here one has to look with consideration not only at the peasants, but also at the small and medium entrepreneurs and see which ones. are its economic realities.

Here is a question and that is to put a cap on 200 and from there they all become the same.Is it sensible to do it when in this business there can be people of five or ten thousand hens or chickens a year, but also people of five million and of ten million? After the peasant I have been talking about in some detail, are they all the same upwards? I do not think so. It would be necessary to study it more carefully.

It is an issue that the ICA should look at if it is about making decisions adjusted to our realities, not to do harm, not to create problems, to be realistic, that is, not to treat those who have five or ten thousand birds a year as if it were an undesirable that I hope it ends: this is what worries me. Or is it indifferent to us?

Some protection for the bottom, the very poor, and then the jump to the monopoly, if that is sensible? Because when they tell me that after 200 birds, they are all the same, I find the formula to raise the matter curious, because it turns out that they are not. Here are people of 20 million birds a year. Is 20 million birds a year the same as 1,300? These medium producers are also key in the economy. They are even important to make up the older ones.

The problem does not end here, because there is another resolution if you want worse than the one that has just been corrected, because it requires a series of conditions for the slaughter of the birds.

A very large part of the peasant chicken business is not selling the live hen, but slaughtering it under traditional conditions and selling it to a small restaurant or to the guy who passes by, already slaughtered. There are many ways to market those chickens and hens, not to mention that there is another important business, since many people have the business of buying waste hens that lay eggs and process them and end up turning them into a sancocho. It is a big, immense business, I understand that there are like 24 million discarded birds a year. On Saturday on the plane I was lucky enough to talk to a poultry farmer and he explained the matter to me in detail. You have your laying hen and once it reaches the age when it is no longer profitable, you sell it to whoever passes it for stew. If the peasant cannot slaughter his chickens, the twelve hundred a year we are talking about, but has to take them to a slaughter plant, he is out of business as if he had been forbidden to fatten the hens. This has to be clear. If the peasant cannot slaughter his hen on his farm, under the conditions in which he is able to do so, they also take him out of business. Because they are not self-consumption chickens, but commercial ones.

Resolution 4287 has 43 pages of rules, fifteen or twenty per page, that must be followed! The chicken slaughterhouse that is required is to account for a human surgery room, only it is for chickens. There is a rule that even requires an electric touch to the chicken so that the moment they kill it, it does not suffer.

Imagine the peasant, who cannot help but watch his children suffer, trying to prevent the chickens or hens from suffering. You have to have cold and hot water, all kinds of sanitary facilities, all the differentiated processes, arches of I don't know what for when the trucks come in, full floods I think it's called something else, things that one has to look up in the dictionary to know about that is.

It is the same slaughter plant for twenty million birds as for any number of birds, even one, and this is my main claim. If I have the business of fattening a hen on my farm, and I want to fatten a hen to slaughter and sell to my brother's restaurant, I have to set up this plant. They smile, well, the peasants of Manizales are being persecuted with this rule. Officials come to them and tell them to respond, among other things because the rules are like that. It is not for the official to say, well, since you are a peasant, do not comply with the rule, because the rule does not exempt peasants. All kinds of conditions. For example, lighting. Spaces must be illuminated in such a way that they do not generate inappropriate colors or shadows. I imagine that it must be very important that there are no inappropriate shadows in the lighting, but asking a farmer that is absolutely disproportionate. Uniform sanitary facilities around the world, instruments with special metals, etc.

I frankly tell the people of the government that with this Resolution 4287 the production of peasant chickens or backyard chickens or poor chickens in Colombia is eliminated. Thus it is not possible to sustain the business. Someone will tell me, then, that the peasant take his ten hens and go and find a sacrificial plant to be sacrificed. If that were possible, profitability would disappear. I ask: a person who has set up a slaughter plant for ten million hens a year, will he receive ten hens from a farmer to put them in the slaughter chain? Of course not, because up front it violates all the rules.

Resolution 4287 must also be repealed. Either the Minister of Social Protection repeals this other decree or the peasant chickens and peasant chickens and backyard chickens will end. I also think that if this decree is corrected, it should not be modified in the sense of two hundred hens down, one way, and two hundred up in another way. The country is full of medium-sized producers of chickens and hens, to whom demanding the same standards as those of the twenty million also ruins them. That's not good. Monopoly under capitalism is not good, competition is better. It is good that there are small and medium entrepreneurs and not just large entrepreneurs. It may be that there are great ones, but that there are only great entrepreneurs and poor peasants is not good, for the economy, for the circulation of money, for trade sales, for the competition itself, which is supposed to be healthy under the conditions of capitalist production.

I said it here and someone smiled, a chicken or a hen is like a grain of corn with wings. What is done in the business is to take vegetable protein and turn it into animal protein. 87% of the costs of an egg are food, 72% of the costs of fattening a chicken are food, a pity that Dr. Arias is not there, but in 15 days we will look at him again.

This is yet another proof that importing all the feed for the chickens is absurd, because the really good business is food. The chicken business works as a kind of maquila in which grain or soybeans are brought in and converted into animal protein. But this is also a threat, because if for whatever reason grain imports stopped entering Colombia, what would happen to the high-tech chicken and egg industry? A booming industry, which has grown a lot, which has become more technical, and that is good, but which is almost 100% dependent on foreign food. Dependency first throws the business, because it does not add the value that it should add, it does not integrate the economy, which is the key in these matters. But it also puts us under a barbaric threat.

If for whatever reason the boats do not enter tomorrow or they are delayed in entering with that corn or there is any natural or social event and this becomes entangled, what happens to the country's economy. But in addition, and this is also mentioned by the FAO, there can be no real success in a poultry production on a global scale, in exportable production for roasting and eggs on a medium or large scale, that is not supported by an important cereal production at low costs . It is a scientific fact. Los gringos son los primeros productores de pollo, porque también son los primeros productores de cereales. Estoy seguro de que detrás del gran éxito avícola de Brasil hay una economía integrada. Es una discusión interesante, pero lo que me sorprende es que los de Fenavi no peleen más duro el punto, porque realmente están como rezando todos los días para que no vaya a haber un problema de flujo de alimentos a escala global, que en cualquier momento puede presentarse, como se ha presentado tantas veces en la historia de la humanidad.

Transnacionales utilizan las normas técnicas para quebrar la producción nacional

Los tecnócratas suelen tener una mirada demasiado especializada. Si el tipo es médico, no ve sino bacterias y con tal de cazar una bacteria hace hasta lo imposible, así se acabe el mundo, como se dice de los poetas que con tal de pulir un verso están dispuestos a sacrificar un mundo. Esa ultraespecialización es muy dañina. Voy a explicar algo que es interesante: todas estas normas, particularmente la de los mataderos, tiene origen en intentar copiar o desarrollar o imitar o como se quiera decir las normas de bioseguridad de la OMC.

Se apoyan en normas comerciales, con el cuento de exportar, con el cuento de la competencia internacional. Entonces es importante que los técnicos entiendan cómo es el mundo. El mundo de hoy es un mercado global y en él solo pueden funcionar los capitales de envergadura global. Este es el mundo de las trasnacionales. Ese es un mundo de una competencia feroz entre monopolios, y para los que no son monopolios y trasnacionales la competencia se vuelve tremendamente difícil, tanto que pueden ser liquidados en condiciones relativamente fáciles. Viene además una crisis mundial que va a poner un grado bárbaro de estrés y de problemas.

Y uno de los líos que tienen las trasnacionales para tomarse todos los mercados globales es que el mundo está lleno de nichos de gente que sobrevive, no porque posea la gran tecnología de la trasnacional, sino por las ventajas comparativas de la pobreza. Es el caso de nuestras gallinas campesinas. Como un porcentaje importante de su alimentación son grillos y lombrices y desechos gratuitos de cocina, entonces adquiere un nivel de competitividad tremendo. Lo mismo el caso de la leche cruda para que la hierva la gente, claro, usted elimina el proceso industrial de la pasterización y lo traslada a que cada ciudadano hierve su leche, entonces usted mejora de mil maneras la competitividad. Lo mismo el caso de la panela. Nuestros campesinos en buena medida están sobreviviendo defendiéndose en su racionalidad a punta de pobreza. Se levantan más temprano, el hijo no va a la escuela y tantas otras cosas propias de la economía campesina.

Tengo una tesis: en esto de la competencia global, las trasnacionales actúan con una lógica que aplican donde puedan, en los países donde se descuiden nuestros dirigentes, o porque no entiendan, o porque trabajen para el otro bando, y es la lógica de utilizar los reglamentos técnicos contra nuestro aparato productivo. O el del azúcar que quiere sacar al de la panela y no lo puede hacer en la competencia abierta del capitalismo y entonces le exige agua potable en la finca y como no hay agua potable, sale del mercado el campesino panelero.

El capitalismo es un sistema de competencia feroz. Miren lo que está pasando en la Tierra. Estos tipos por ganarse unos dólares reventaron la economía mundial y estén seguros de que si para abrirle el camino al TLC y a las importaciones avícolas del TLC necesitan quebrar las gallinas de traspatio de nuestros campesinos, no faltará quien diga que hay que sacar del negocio a ese sector.

Una última reflexión y un llamado cordial al gobierno, si ustedes quieren. Hay que ser cuidadosos a la hora de legislar para el mundo rural. Ese es un mundo que hay que conocer en detalle, que hay que intentar comprender, sufrirlo. Son unos compatriotas que están sobreviviendo en unas condiciones de extrema dificultad. Cualquier norma puede desquiciarlos. Estoy seguro de que aquí hay colombianos que no han perdido su parcelita porque engordan diez gallinas, pero si ustedes les quitan las diez gallinas, les quitan también la tierra y los tiran a un cinturón de miseria de la ciudad.

Quiero además decirles que esa economía campesina con todas sus pobrezas y debilidades es vital en el conjunto de la economía nacional. Esto se lo digo a los neoliberales que solo creen en grandes cifras. El 70% del valor agregado agrícola de Colombia lo ponen los campesinos, no los empresarios. El 84% de las hortalizas y las frutas que se producen en Colombia la producen los campesinos, casi toda la papa, una parte inmensa del maíz, del café, ni se diga. A esa gente hay que cuidarla teniendo en cuenta que son economías integradas. Ellos no se especializan un una sola cosa. Por ejemplo, esos campesinos de la papa tienen vaquita lechera, los campesinos del café tienen gallinas. En Santander, a los santandereanos, ahí entiendo que viene una norma sobre caprinos. Lo único que falta es que le exijan para criar un chivo quién sabe que cosas que no se puedan cumplir. La producción caprina en Santander es importante y debiera mirarse con detenimiento.

Version reducida, enviada por la RED POR UNA AMERICA LATINALIBRE DE TRANSGENICOS, de la Intervención del senador Jorge Enrique Robledo sobre las normas sanitarias del Ministerio de Protección Social y el Ministerio de Agricultura,Comisión Quinta, 30 de septiembre de 2008 – Colombia – La versión completa puede verse en

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