The Peasantry in Crisis

peasantThe traditional peasantry in much of the world has suffered significantly in recent decades, on one side because of the climate change that seems to get worse year by year, and on the other the attack of the “rural economic development” policies. The recent free trade agreements with the United States, Canada and the European Union do not favor the peasant economy of Colombia; to the contrary, the prices of domestic products are in steady decline, as is the attention of the national government on the agro-sectors’ issues.

The frustration of the agricultural sector (especially small-holder farmers) has materialized in recent years through public demonstrations and organized strikes demanding more support from the national government. These frustrations are due to the decreasing profitability of the rice, corn, potatoes, orange, milk, meat … production, raising a great urgency to act. Entire communities across the country are threatened by the growing economic crisis caused by the deterioration of the small-holder farming system.

The communities of the Alta Montaña (High Mountain), Carmen de Bolivar region expressed that traditional corn production, which in previous years provided a significant financial income, is no longer a profitable crop; nowadays it’s hardly even worth the effort because of the almost complete market collapse.”

Andres, a community leader Pichilín explains: “The government has abandoned us! They only show up to campaign and make empty promises that they won’t keep, and don’t return until the next campaigning season. How will that improve our situation?”

In situations like these it is not easy to remain hopeful, but when the sun sets and the light of positivity fades, we stand as one small candle saying, “we will do what we can”.

— Leonel Elias Dueck, Food Security Program