Drought in RS: small farmers fear “lack of drinking water” if nothing is done

The lack of water is wreaking havoc in all regions of the state. Not only are agricultural crops destined for commercialization registering significant losses, but the very livelihoods of many families are also at risk.

According to Plinio Simas, representative of the Movement of Small Farmers of RS (MPA/RS), the situation of family farming is in a worrying state: there is a lack of water for people to drink. In addition, he reports that the crops that families grow for food are also very threatened, so the problem of starvation could be imminent.

“What concerns us the most is the food issue. Cassava, potatoes and beans: the very livelihoods of farmers are under great threat. More than that, it seems that the drought will continue for a long time,” he said.

Worst drought in 17 years

According to the Technical Assistance and Rural Extension Company (Emater) from RS, this is the worst drought in the state in the last 17 years. More than five thousand farming families are without access to water even for use in their homes.

Read more: Rio Grande do Sul has the worst drought in the last 17 years, and losses reach R$ 20 billion

According to “Adverse Event Report No. 1” published by the entity with a survey of the effect of the drought in the state, the lack of rains already compromises the contribution of the primary sector in the gaúcha economy.

“There is the fact that there are already more than 8,000 locations and more than 207,000 properties affected by the effects of the drought in the state, in addition to about 10,500 families with difficulties in accessing water”, informs the report.

In addition, he states that the drought causes losses in the most diverse agricultural activities. So far, the crops of around 115,000 grain producers (soybean, corn and beans) and approximately 23,500 milk producers have been affected.

Also according to Douglas Cenci, president of the Federation of Family Farmers/RS (Fetraf/RS), there is an estimate that 70 thousand families of small farmers are suffering from the drought, especially in the Center and North regions of the state.

Read also: Drought causes damage in Rio Grande do Sul and puts 113 municipalities in an emergency situation

Minister’s visit did not bring hope

In this context, the Minister of Agriculture, Livestock and Supply (MAPA), Tereza Cristina, visited the South of the country. This Wednesday and Thursday (12th and 13th), the minister was visiting Rio Grande do Sul, Santa Catarina and Paraná to investigate the situation of the drought. According to a source consulted by the report, the visit did not bring concrete proposals to alleviate the problem.

According to Plinio Simas, the minister’s visit to the region only brought promises, but no public policies. He says he feels that the federal government is distrustful of the state of the farmers, which he thinks is not correct since the drought is already recognized, including hundreds of municipalities that have already declared a state of emergency.

“We at the MPA are apprehensive about this lack of commitment to all workers, but especially to farmers. They don’t have public policies to help, even more so now with this very severe drought”, he says.

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According to the small farmer, rural families, at the moment, need policies to have a minimum support, whether through emergency credit, to feed themselves or to produce food, or even in relation to debts. “That’s what agriculture expects,” he says.

Both among its peers and in the MPA’s assessment, there is a consideration that the actions of the state and federal governments, so far, are insufficient. The movement reports that this situation has been bad for more than a month, something that is recognized by the government bodies themselves, and so far they do not perceive any effective policy to help this population.

In this way, they hope that the minister’s visit may be a sign that the government will take the situation seriously from now on, despite regretting the great “disengagement” with family farming and rural development in the region.

Source: BdF Rio Grande do Sul

Editing: Rebeca Cavalcante and Katia Marko

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