The present press release has been published by ARI, ECVC member in Italy, to accompany a longer analysis document on the COVID-19 pandemic and Peasant Agroecology. The analysis includes some political demands to support Agroecology and to stop false solutions. As ARI reports: “the analysis document is the result of the re-elaboration and development of different texts, arguments, and information disseminated by many sources, which we have re-composed into a mosaic to give the sense of an emerging collective thought”.
10 June 2020
From Coronavirus to peasant agroecology
The peasant analysis of the pandemic
We are farmers and peasants involved like many in the COVID-19 pandemic, we express our point of view here, with the intention of dialoguing with the social realities and experiences that share these visions. Starting from the necessary look at the biological characteristics of the coronavirus and observing some significant correlations on the epidemic spread of COVID-19 in the Italian territory, we wanted to deepen the aspects more related to the agroecological dimension that also includes health, economy, and society.
Viruses do not live alone, as never before, the pandemic of the coronavirus reveals to us the systemic nature of our world: human, animal and ecological health are closely linked. This is particularly evident in the case of these zoonoses, which is the viral cross-transmissions between the human species and other animals.
Breeding and viral outbreaks. The size and organization of the genetically selected and uniform herds that have been developed for over a century, favour the reduction or disappearance of possible immune resistances useful in slowing down viral transmission. It is in the immense livestock farms that there is a greater chance of infectious mutations for humans.
The ecological consequences on human health. Infectious diseases do not operate in a vacuum but arise and develop in close relation to the natural and social environment. Devastation of ecosystems, pollution and climate change converge, with serious effects, ecological crisis and health crisis. While in the ecology of the body a diet based on ultra-processed foods, poor in nutrients, rich in agrochemicals, weaken the immune system. Thus a connection emerges between agroecology-food-health-immune defences.
The liberalist technocratic response is in a new pact between Science-Industry-Institutions where Health and Agriculture can exist only thanks to technological solutions produced by Biotech companies and purchased on the market. Satellites, drones, new genetic material “to reach the farmer by all means”, by means of competitive and attractive processes for the return of investors’ capital. Commodifying logics that often invest also international institutions, from the EU to WHO to Climate Conferences.
Biopolitics and surveillance capitalism. State institutions, on occasion during this pandemic, have implemented social policies considered impossible until a few hours before. By suspending society, isolating and confining the population in their homes, even forbidding any physical contact through the deployment of a veritable authoritarian control, denying any free scientific confrontation, in the cultural and political incapacity to know how to educate their citizens civically. In fact, it favours the further domination of the big corporations both during the confinement at home with digital entertainment and the delivery of goods, and later with the tracking apps of personal movements and the collection of health data.
Need for new scientific approaches. We do not share the ideologies of the coronavirus as a simple “health emergency” or, on the contrary, the one that accuses a generic “human being” as responsible for the environmental crisis, since they deny or mystify the real political and social dynamics and responsibilities. It is necessary to work together, scientists, citizens and farmers, for a science of the complexity of physical-chemical-biological-cognitive-social systems, integrated with the system of knowledge accumulated from the collective experiences of economic and social sectors and fields and in the relationships with the living ecosystems.
For an agroecological horizon
Agroecology, as understood by social movements, is complementary and inseparable from food sovereignty, it practices the right of peoples to a healthy diet, respecting cultures, obtained with sustainable and environmentally friendly methods, as well as the right to decide their own food and production system. This places those who produce, distribute and consume food at the heart of food systems and policies and above the needs of markets and businesses. It defends the interests and integration of future generations. For all this, it becomes indispensable to strengthen solidarity, living well, eating well, food autonomy, taking care of water, soil, and seeds and to support family and peasant agriculture; building from the territories the gathering of producers in rural and urban alliances. Let us recognize these collective capacities. Let us depend on each other.
Corte Palù della Pesenata, 5 Colà di Lazise 37017 (VR)