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A tsunami reaches our shores

Small farmers have been suffering for decades in Africa, South America and Asia. Now it's our turn.

A motorway in Tàrrega is cut off during a demonstration. © Albert González Farran (EFE)
A motorway in Tàrrega is cut off during a demonstration. © Albert González Farran (EFE)

Comparing our situation in the First World with those who suffer miseries in countries yet to develop is always unfair. But it is sometimes inevitable. In recent months, farmers in Spain have reached streets and motorways to demand help to the administration to get out from deeper crisis. The markets are setting prices that are making increasingly impossible for the primary sector to survive.

Starting from the basis that these claims are very legitimate, it must be known that they are not new at all. At least, in this planet.

For decades now, small farmers in countries as far apart as Ethiopia, Bolivia and India, among many others, have been abandoning their activity because they can no longer make a living. The megalopolises in developing countries have been caused, for the most part, by a mass exodus of peasants who have been driven into poverty. And precisely for the same reason that our farmers are now complaining: the effects of an assassin market.

It is necessary to contextualize the evils, not to limit their importance, but to realize where we come from, where we are going to and to confirm that in this world everything is connected. And that the evils that seem far away, sooner or later will also reach us. Like an unstoppable tsunami.

It is highly recommended to read Hunger (2014) by Martín Caparros. He shows us the drama of famine and an increasingly unequal and unfair food production. Black episodes like the increasingly common practice of suicide in Indian agricultural regions where no other way out seems possible are explained here. And, hence, an infinite range of situations that have historically been experienced by small farmers in different corners of the world.

Apart from moving us, it should scare us. Because after them, it will be our turn.

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