Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Chilean villagers suffer water shortages because of Europeans’ love for avocado

avocado farming requires massive water use
Locals don’t benefit from avocado business in Chile; a peasant in Petorca doesn't have water to irrigate plants, raise animals; the river is dry and life is unbearable, Alexander Panez Pinto, Modatima, told RT.

Villagers in Chile are locked in a fight for clean water, claiming farms supplying UK supermarkets with avocados are depleting local supplies. Petorca province is the country's top producer of avocado and villagers there accuse agricultural companies of illegally destroying water reserves with rivers in the region drying up and people now forced to rely on trucks carrying contaminated water for supplies because avocado farming requires massive water use.

Alexander Panez Pinto from the environmental group Modatima, which raised concerns long before the issue hit Western headlines, says there have been water shortages for years now.

“Avocado is just the evident part,” he explained. “Chile has the most radical experience of the water privatization in the world: not only the water management is private but the resource itself is established by private water rights.”

According to Pinto, “there is water market in the country where you can buy and you can sell water as any other commodity.”

“The state in this situation has a low capacity of regulation…The private water right is the main goal of this system,” he told RT.

According to the environmental activist, the current situation has its roots in the 80s, when Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet’s government started a strategy of promoting the exportation of “attractive” products from the country.

“Avocado was one of them, so many… businesses started to look for cheap land and water rights to begin with the plantation of avocado,” Pinto said.......https://on.rt.com/95rw

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