Raising awareness among producers and consumers about the importance of organic and agroecological products is the objective of the awareness campaign that has just been launched in the framework of the project “Development of organic peasant agriculture for economic recovery and productive reactivation in the context of COVID-19”, implemented in Paraguay by Fundación ETEA – Development Institute of Universidad Loyola and the association Alter Vida, with the support of the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID).
In order to achieve a relevant social impact, the campaign has developed a set of promotional videos –available on Fundación ETEA´s Youtube channel – to be disseminated in the Paraguayan media. It is also foreseen the preparation and development of informative materials and educational workshops to raise awareness among citizens and public and private institutions.
The project focuses on responding to a situation of worsening social crises in Paraguay, seeking the opportunity to strengthen the rural sector through the production of healthy, chemical-free food. To achieve this objective, the project works with rural communities located in the departments of Guairá and Cordillera, supporting interventions to increase production with ecological techniques, improve marketing processes and, in parallel, advocacy actions are carried out in public policies to promote mechanisms that make sustainable a greater promotion of organic production, throughout the country.
Problems of the conventional production system
Conventional agriculture uses many chemical substances (pesticides) that can be harmful to health and the environment. The World Health Organisation and the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) have criteria for classifying pesticides according to their health hazards, e.g. carcinogenicity, reproductive toxicity, mutagenicity, among other adverse effects. Several of these pesticides are widely used in Paraguay in agricultural products for human consumption. Currently, most foods contain a high amount of chemical compounds (preservatives, flavour enhancers, sweeteners) that are already restricted in other countries.
Main messages of the awareness campaign
As an alternative to conventional and chemical production, organic and agroecological production is a production system that uses practices that improve soil fertility conditions, increase crop yields, favour the health of producers, and generate greater economic profitability.
Likewise, organic production protects natural resources such as soil, water, air and forests, avoids the pollution of the planet and contributes to the adaptation of family farming to climate change.
In terms of consumer benefits, organic and agroecological production produces healthy products that are free of chemical residues. These foods get more flavours and smells from each agricultural product. And we are guaranteed to know the origin and quality of the products through the organic seal.