Venezuela: Urban Agriculture and the Production of Plenty for the Man
We have won the world’s first Ministry of Urban Agriculture, which not only holds a new possibility for a healthier, humane and economic agriculture, but also a niche from which to build the foundations for new forms of production that guarantee greater sovereignty.
By Lorena Freitez
Minister Of Popular Power For Urban Agriculture
January 6th 2017
(Must see. Mike)
The first major mission of the Ministry of Popular Power for Urban Agriculture (MINPPAU) was precisely this: 29,426 productive units were registered throughout the country, bringing together 100,000 people motivated to produce, through activating the Urban Agriculture National Registry. We prioritized 10 of the largest and most populated cities from across the country in order not to distract us from urban areas and we proposed 13 short cycle vegetables with the clear intention of having the first harvest sown in these cities between 90 and 100 days and with a minimum output (50 kg of seeds and 104,000 tomato seedlings), the production of 377 tonnes of vegetables (tomatoes, eggplants, paprika, peppers, radishes, lettuce, among others) and that the produce could all be eaten at the close of the 100 day agro-urban production campaign.
This first campaign “100 Days for Urban Agriculture” was nothing more than a strategy to visualize and accompany a new political-productive “agro-urban” Venezuelan subject who, synthesizing the best of the countryside and the city, entered into economic democratization disputes. In 100 days: 1) we knew the potential of urban agriculture in Venezuela, mapping those committed to agriculture and militant in those cities; 2) we visualized the people’s capacity to solve problems; 3) we awakened restlessness and enthusiasm in those indifferent or skeptical about these new forms, subjects and productive spaces; 4) we identified the main challenges of sustainable and humane agriculture in cities.
Yes, We Were Also Able to Increase Food Production
We went from a volume of 377,000 kilos in 10 cities to 9,000,000 kilos in 180 urban parishes. With a jump of 2.387% increase in our own brands of production we welcome January 2017 as the first year of this nobel ministry comes to a close.
With the intention of jumping from our wish to a reality, in July 2016 we launched “21.5 weeks for Agro-Urban Hallacas”, which was call to organize families and communities around a collective sense: “let us produce the ingredients for our hallacas (Venezuelan Christmas tamale dish), let’s fight, no one will steal our Christmas”. This was our call to organize diverse subjects, territories and modes of production, within the framework of a concrete policy to support production under the slogan “Let’s all chip in”, appealing to a methodology based on shared work, mutual support, respect and co-responsibility between producers, families and the government.
Twenty-one weeks dedicated to organizing ourselves on six production fronts based on technical support, agroecological training and financial support with more than 3,000 credits and donations of agricultural equipment. More than 140,000 people formed part of this initiative from non-organized families, youth groups, Local Provision and Production Committees (CLAP), animal protein producers, schools and small peri-urban producers, which we directly accompanied to create 14,674 productive units, along with which last December we fulfilled the supply of hallaca ingredients for 305,000 families in 180 urban territories.