If agribusiness works, why not take it to the small producer?
What is being done wrong in San Pedro? Why does a report from the National Institute of Statistics (INE) present the population of this department as one of the most affected by hunger? Is there a logical explanation for such nonsense?
The department of San Pedro has an area of 20,586 square kilometers and a population estimated at 430,000 inhabitants. Surface water abounds in its territory and its lands are very suitable for agriculture and livestock. According to a census carried out by GeoConsultores, 198,000 hectares are allocated to mechanized agriculture, 318,000 to pasture and 511,000 distributed in agrarian reform to small farmers with plots averaging 20 hectares. The marshes occupy a not inconsiderable area, 453,000 hectares and the rest is flooded land and natural fields of employment, mainly livestock.
Most of that half a million hectares of land affected by the agrarian reform remains in the hands of Indert, which has not been able to definitively title those lands until now. As of October 2021, the entity had managed to register 34,669 lots for a total of 244,000 hectares. That means that more than half is still in the nebula. Without papers, without technical or credit assistance, the owners of these lots are abandoned to their fate.
But not all. In the agricultural campaign 20-21, small producers from Colonia Cristo Rey, San Pedro, planted a total of 100 hectares of soybeans grouped in a planting committee. Assisted by guilds such as APS and UGP, with certified seeds and guaranteed placement, each producer received around Gs.11 million at the end of the harvest.
And this is not an isolated model but it is spreading. In 2021, a total of 43,000 farmers with less than 20 hectares planted 860,000 hectares of soybeans, thus participating in 23% of the total planted that year. Of that amount, 375,100 hectares belong to the department of San Pedro.
Talking about hunger is a very serious matter, an issue that should be at the top of the political agenda. If there is an agribusiness model that also works for small producers, why not take it to a national scale? Unless outdated ideologies put the spoon in and condemn agribusiness as the enemy of the small farmer. Don’t be surprised, there are international organizations involved in this task of condemning the peasant to eternal backwardness. With diligent local servers, it pays to aim.
How can there be hunger in a department with prime agricultural land and plenty of water? Small producers grouped in planting committees are successfully entering the soybean agribusiness. If the system works, why not generalize it throughout the country?