The Agriculture Movement of Misiones, MAM Yerba Mate Titrayju: Land, Work and Justice – North East of Argentine. The Rio Parana cooperative involves a group of agricultural activities that give small producers access to tools, common land and the professional education necessary for processing their products. In some cases, the cooperative involves itself in the entire production process and enables the small producers to avoid dealing with middlemen who generally take more than 50% of the cost of the final sale. One of the most successful projects of the Cooperative is the Yerba Mate Titrayju. Yerba mate is historically a principle product of the province of Misiones where 80% of the rural population works in the agricultural sector and 65% are small producers. They live and work with their families on farms of 25 hectares, often rented from large landlords under a Feudal-type system. The process of manufacturing the yerba mate begins first with the drying process and is followed by milling and then fine treatments before being packaged. Small producers cannot sustain this long and costly process and the production and distribution are therefore controlled by an oligopoly that pays pitiful amounts to the small producers. A series of laws exist that theoretically protect the small producers but they are seldom applied because the state does not have the money to enforce them. The “Tritayju” project gives many small producers the ability to process and package the Yerba Mate and to sell it to consumers through the Commercial Centre of Indigenous and Rural Workers whose goal is to increase responsible and fair trade between the farmers and the cities. Through the Cooperative they are also implementing tourist programs to benefit the families who offer their hospitality.
Project and picture edit from 360 Responsible Tourism Argentina
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