Unlike Fábio Rafael dos Santos Rigo, heir of the Prato Fino rice brand, which attacks the Unified Health System (SUS), the Landless Rural Workers Movement (MST), the largest producer of organic rice in Latin America, published even at the beginning of the pandemic, in March 2020, 10 reasons to defend the system.
Among the 10 reasons are the following: thanks to the SUS, Brazil is better positioned in the fight against the coronavirus; vaccination is right; access to free medications; medical care for the countryside; 1.5 billion procedures performed per year; and the largest public health system in the world.
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Rigo attacked the SUS this week with cursing at the immunization against covid-19 and underestimating the impact of the disease that has already killed nearly 600,000 Brazilians. “And stick in the ass of SUS. I want it to be sold. Who can do more, cry less. Law of the jungle. I had Covid and it didn’t tickle me. I prefer Covid than this shitty vaccine,” read the text posted on his profile on Tweeta. After the repercussion, Rigo stated that his account was hacked and, therefore, he was not responsible for the publication.
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In addition to acting in defense of the SUS, the MST is also able to sell organic rice at a fair price in view of the 37.5% inflation that affects the food, in 12 months, according to a survey carried out by Matheus Peçanha, researcher and economist at the Brazilian Institute of Economics of Fundação Getúlio Vargas (FGV IBRE).
While the MST sells 1kg of organic brown rice for R$ 7.49, it is possible to find the product without being organic, in the same quantity, but under the Fábio Rigo brand for up to R$ 10. But how is this possible?
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One of the factors that explain the high price in the market is the high dollar, around R$5.30. This makes Brazilian agribusiness producers choose to sell rice abroad, in dollars and, therefore, receiving more for it. This logic, however, does not happen in the MST’s family and agroecological productions.
Nelson Krupinski is an organic rice producer in the Jânio Guedes settlement, in São Jerônimo, Rio Grande do Sul. He explains that one of the big industries’ prerogatives is to store food and not sell it, forcing prices to rise.
Small producers, however, do not even have the resources for this, and that is not even the objective. Farmers seek to distribute the benefits of rice cultivation throughout the production chain.
“This debate about healthy eating is a humanitarian debate. When you talk about whether a fair price is a price that is good for everyone. The market does not need to speculate or exploit the farmer and cooperative. When we talk about fair price, we want to distribute it to everyone, we want affordable and quality food to reach everyone”, explains Krupinski.
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Likewise, Emerson Giacomelli, from the Capela Settlement, in Nova Santa Rita, Rio Grande do Sul, says that what allows for a fair price is the “maintenance of criteria”, which has been maintained during the high price of rice.
“What is our understanding of fair pricing? The fair price is when we look at the entire production chain and everyone manages to have economic viability in their activity. I’m talking about the production process, receiving, drying, storing, processing, delivering, reaching the consumer at an affordable price. The entire chain becomes viable”, says Giacomelli.
Emerson and Nelson are partners in the Cooperative of Settled Workers of the Porto Alegre Region (Cootap), which currently brings together 364 families that produce organic rice, from 14 settlements, in 11 municipalities in Rio Grande do Sul. Today, the state has the largest contingent of landless food producers in Latin America.
Edition: Vivian Virissimo