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URBAN AGRICULTURE IN ROSARIO, ARGENTINA ADDENDUM

Examples of International Initiatives and Subsidies The Canadian based International Development Research Centre (I. D. R. C.) has held conferences in several emergent urban agricultural centres around Latin America to address the systematic and technological details and difficulties of designing and implementing urban agricultural projects and programmes. Despite its being headquartered in Canada, the I. D. R. C. has in fact assumed a leadership role in the unification of many urban agricultural projects and programmes in Latin America. For example, in April of 2000 the centre invited representatives 'from 13 cities in Latin America and the Caribbean to discuss urban agriculture' (I. D. R. C., 20012002, para. 10). The location was the capital of the Republic of Ecuador, which much like Rosario has much to gain from an urban agricultural programme. The analysis and methodology of the urban agricultural project and programme 'life cycle' were discussed and an urban agricultural work pilot tested. After Quito, Ecuador, the centre next summoned the representatives of the different Caribbean and Latin American urban agriculturalists in Lima, Peru. A delegation from Rosario, Argentina attended; Rosario was selected to host the third conference of the I. D. R. C. with the Caribbean and Latin American delegations in May of 2003 (I. D. R. C., 2001-2002, para. 17). The chain of conferences operated on a budget of $348,600, of which the majority ($234,600) was provided by the I. D. R. C. and the remainder ($180,000) was collected from the participatory municipal governments' community chest. Municipal Poverty Alleviation According to Pacione (2005, p. 564), Rosarios Urban Agricultural Programme has achieved impressive results in terms of poverty alleviation. Urban agriculture guaranteed the direst, lowest level needs of the poor in Rosario by reinforcing food security. As has been mentioned, urban agriculture also improved the monthly incomes of the participants, by up to the supplemental hundreds of dollars, a noteworthy increase in purchasing power in Argentina. Urban agriculture also improved the economic output and wealth of Rosario taken as a whole by having transformed uncultivated [and non-paying] land into productive spaces (Pacione, 2005, p. 564). Urban agriculture contributed to a rise in the stagnant employment rate of Rosario through the requirements to hire enough human resources to own, operate, manage and maintain more than 800 urban kitchen gardens established from the inception of the Urban Agricultural Programme in 2001 to the time of writing (2005) alone. The 800 urban kitchen gardens created jobs for 5,000 Argentinian households. Meanwhile, the newly created market activities and other newly created jobs indirectly linked to the Urban Agricultural Programme, kept 10,000 more Argentinian households employmentally secure; the labours of these households were responsible for the food security of 40,000 of Rosarios 1.3 million people (Pacione, 2005, p. 564-565). Also, among the poorest demographic strata of Rosario it has been calculated that the Urban Agricultural Programme helps the average family living in the city conserve anywhere from a tenth to a third of the budget it would normally completely spend on food, money that could be anywhere from a twentieth to a fifth of its total monthly earnings (Pacione, 2005, p. 565). According to Salazar (2007, p. 8), urban agriculture arrived at a time manifesting levels of poverty of 60 per cent in the province of Rosario.

According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (U. N. F. A. O.) (n.d., p. 1), working in lieu with other organizations, it is not uncommon for poorer demographics in Latin America to see half of their monthly incomes wither away only to keep themselves fed. According to Valente (2006, para. 2), there is such a market for urban agriculture in Rosario that almost immediately after the inception of the idea in 2001, some 7,000 people who were out of work before entering the programme have joined forces to clear the land, plant and harvest vegetables, and sell their produce in street market stalls. The ease of creating jobs in urban agriculture has several reasons. Modern urban agriculture is so productive that it is almost always guaranteed to exceed Rosarios need for food security; hence there is almost always a sellable excess. Hence urban agriculture almost always leads to net income, which can be used to pay wages or for further investment. In addition, the initial capital of an urban agricultural project or programme, and its infrastructural needs are quite low. Finally, one does not have to be highly qualified in any field to be an urban agriculturalist. All this means that a job in the Latin American urban agricultural industry, costs only $500 to create (U. N. F. A. O., n.d., p. 2). Valente (2006, para. 14) evaluated the effects of the urban agricultural programme: the nutritional needs of 40,000 people in Rosario (Valentes [2006, para. 14] and Paciones [2005, p. 564-565] figures are identical) are satisfied even if they live below the internationally official poverty line of $2 per day (bearing in mind that Argentina is one of the more expensive middle income countries). Through the sale of surplus crops, the impoverished of Rosario earn approximately 300 per cent of what the Socialist Party in power pays them in social benefits. Municipal Government Subsidization of Urban Agriculture in Rosario Unfortunately, little data is available in the literature regarding the currency amounts of municipal governmental expenditure on urban agriculture in Rosario. However, by examining the ways in which public funds go to the programme, we can gather some rough idea. Valente (2006, para. 20) enumerates some of the features of the compensation and benefits package delivered by parties involved in the Urban Agricultural Programme in Rosario, by the Socialist Party. Land owners in Rosario who agree for their land to be leased for purposes of urban agriculture, are exempted from paying municipal taxes on the land for two years, the standard time period for which the lots are ceded to the programme. Historically high taxes levied on the ownership of land in Rosario (as the Socialist Party has been in power since contemporary times) are an incentive for many land owners to lease their land to the Urban Agricultural Programme for much longer than the standard biennium. As for vacant land in the city, owned by the Socialist Party itself, it is dedicated to the Urban Agricultural Programme not for two, but for ten years; and impressive government funding means that the land is dedicated not necessarily to producing a profit for the Socialist Party, but for keeping as many denizens of Rosario employed as possible. Modern agriculture is a traditionally mechanized, technological, labour intensive industry for example, in the soy farms of Amazonian Brazil it is not uncommon for a single farmer to man three hundred acres. However, up to 70 people work on each of these government-owned plots of land, which can be as large as five acres (Valente, 2006, para. 20). 2

Despite its nominal political positions and the fact that such plots are funded out of its own treasury, the Socialist Party does not dedicate the land to warehousing or food security, but allows the cultivators to sell the unanimity of what they produce, at farmers markets for their own profit (Valente, 2006, para. 21); it also accepts the additional expenses of providing expertise and education to the cultivators (Valente, 2006, para. 22). Why Urban Agriculture: Economic Ruin of Rosario Valente (2006, para. 6) agrees with Salazars figure of general poverty in Rosario. Throughout Argentinas developmental, industrializing historical stages, Rosario was one of the centres of this development, especially because of its status as Argentinas third most populous city and as a river port. However, the socialist model of Argentina in the early to mid twentieth century, changed the economy of Rosario and made it heavily reliant on socialist based industry, such as central authority price fixing and state controlled output levels. The advantage was that Rosario was also the recipient of heavy government spending; the Argentine Republic began to privatize, liberalize and marketize in the 1980s, and with the removal of government quotas from production in Rosario, it emerged that demand had been less in actuality, and lowered production for lowered demand wreaked havoc on the citys employment rate. By 2001, a full 61 per cent of the population of Rosario was living below the poverty line (Valente, 2006, para. 6). The Argentine Republic in general has had a shaky transition from the socialist to the capitalist market model since the 1980s. The credit crunch that hit Rosario also hit much of the rest of the nation (Valente, 2006, para. 2), which led to the Argentinian President Fernando de la Ruas resignation halfway through his four year term in 2001 (Valente, 2006, para. 7). Yet in spite of this, and despite the uncharacteristic marketization and new public management (N. P. A. ) that Rosario has been undergoing, its municipal government is still socialist, at least nominally (Valente, 2006, para. 7). Intangible Benefits of Urban Agriculture in Rosario The U. N. F. A. O. (n.d., p. 2) reinforces that not only food security but health increases widely as a result of urban agriculture. In an earlier paper I enumerated the wide range of fruits and vegetables that can flourish in an urban environment such as Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada; in the relatively warmer climate of Rosario, we can imagine the same variety, or greater, to exist. Urban agriculture leads to the availability and consumption of a greater variety of fruits and vegetables, a matter that is always encouraged; for example, in El Alto, Bolivia, recent evaluations show that urban farmers significantly increased their dietary consumption and variety by going from 6 to 15 varieties of fruits and vegetables in their basic food basket (U. N. F. A. O., n.d., p. 2). Furthermore, there is a direct correlation between urban agriculture and the consumption of fruits and vegetables in the comprehensive diet overall. This has led to improving the ingestion of vitamins, minerals and fiber. Urban agriculture is economized by not needing the importation of seeds; on the contrary, it has led to greater appreciation of the many naturally occurring strains of fruits and vegetables in Latin America (U. N. F. A. O., n.d., p. 2). References and Works Cited Gunette, L. (n.d.). CASE STUDY: Rosario, Argentina - A City Hooked on Urban Farming. I. D. R. C. Retrieved 17 March 2011 from http://publicwebsite.idrc.ca/EN/Resources/Publications/Pages/ArticleDetails.aspx? PublicationID=529 3

D. R. C. (2001-2002). Optimizing Use of Vacant Land for Urban Agriculture (UA) Through Participatory Planning Processes. Retrieved 17 March 2011 from http://www.idrc.ca/en/ev-8005-201-1-DO_TOPIC.html I. D. R. C. (n. d.). Urban agriculture: Rosario, Argentina reaps the benefits. Retrieved 17 March 2011 from http://publicwebsite.idrc.ca/EN/Resources/Publications/Pages/ArticleDetails.aspx?PublicationID=7

Pacione, M. (2005). Urban Geography: A Global Perspective. New York: Routledge. Retrieved 17 March 2011 from http://books.google.ca/books?id=M3rAuvR-ogC&pg=PT569&lpg=PT569&dq=public+spending+urban+agriculture+rosario+argentina&source=bl&ots=TWdj8floc&sig=9R8Q6pwWYesgQcgyTSe11Su4cQ8&hl=en&ei=N3uCTa3kHsHAtge_4qzdBA&sa=X&oi=book _result&ct=result&resnum=4&ved=0CC0Q6AEwAw#v=onepage&q&f=false Salazar, L. B. (2007, January). L. A. C. Competition for the Transfer of Best Practices Medellin Price 2005: Document on Transfer of Winner Practices. Retrieved 17 March 2011 from http://docs.google.com/viewer? a=v&q=cache:aF2hjsaVb10J:www.buenaspracticas.org/documentos/Transfer%2520Report. %2520ENG..pdf+urban+agriculture+program+rosario+argentina+budget&hl=en&gl=ca&pid=bl&srcid=ADGEE SgCQFhKEjxD2jLlHgWQ4jKq37mOCjtybhOqdmwgBLuyGMiD7kowUUKJZZRFr2y62JrPn0uYmQpjSN13axn80dirvkX50ERhPjnkVYDZod4sqD8iXAMMoKhz7FBDRZYfijrGagL&sig=AHIEt bQnT_nmwYsdX3BPdDKwJfT1ORftuA U. N. F. A. O. (n.d.). Urban and Periurban Agriculture in Latin America and the Caribbean: A Reality. Retrieved 17 March 2011 from http://docs.google.com/viewer? a=v&q=cache:D_XtQgq45tMJ:www.rlc.fao.org/es/agricultura/aup/pdf/brochuren.pdf+urban+agriculture+econom ics+rosario+argentina&hl=en&gl=ca&pid=bl&srcid=ADGEEShkx8pkNlhfnXvR0ZzJU5mjtJcYgMmg3lPC6gZ6z7o11av7ljlyCYb_qXSr4wzFBfVS60bPva9FGlRujnSvwVvjlVRU33tOqsKi4vQ5E3Ei3cG5oX6k9yUtLoCIbjet4GpVxW&sig=AHIEtbSwnUdP1RLC_rQ0DQB8RMJp2TpC4w&pli=1 Valente, M. (2006, 9 February). Urban Gardens Provide More than Just Food. I. P. S. News. Retrieved 17 March 2011 from http://ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=32099