Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Exploited and forgotten: farmworkers

عد سنوات من الخسائر المتتالية، تشهد زراعة البطاطا التي عرفها البقاع منذ مئات السنين، وكانت تعرف آنذاك بزراعة الفقراء، تراجعا وتهديدا حقيقيا بالاستمرار. باتت المواسم البقاعية الشهيرة حكرا على كبار المزارعين والاغنياء القادرين على استثمار مئات الدونمات وشراء اطنان البذار الغالية الثمن ومعها الأسمدة والمبيدات والأدوية الزراعية الفعالة. كما تسمح مقدرات هؤلاء بتأمين التصريف المناسب والتبريد اللازم وسواها من الكلف الانتاجية التي أدت الى افلاس مزارعي البطاطا الآخذين في النزف باستمرار في البقاع.

"After years of recurrent losses, potato farming, once known as the crop of the poor, is in continuous decline. The famous crop of the Beqaa has now become monopolized by a few large farmers who plant hundreds of dunums and who can afford to buy tons of expensive seed potatoes and agrochemicals and who can also ensure the marketing and the storage and other production costs that have left the potato growers bleeding."

This article in Al Safir, reports among others on the concentration of the potato farming and supply chain into the hands of a few large operators, while small farmers exit the sector. But like all other articles on farming, there is no mention of the farmworkers: the people who actually produce the food we eat. They are mostly women, underpaid, without health coverage, often abused and exploited. Even their image does not belong to them: they provide the illustration for an article in which they are not even mentioned.

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