Jairo Restrepo is an activist in the field of sustainable agriculture and food sovereignty. He campaigns for a return of self-determination, knowledge and autonomy for the farmer in the face of powerful agribusiness. He has been a consultant on sustainable agriculture for many years, working with the UN, Unesco, the FAO and the International Labour Organisation. He worked at the Federal University of Rio Grande de Sul in Brazil for many years.
In an interview he explains:
“Society does not have to be detached from technology. Technology is an expression of society and this is what we want. We don’t want to change technology; we want to transform society, thereby changing the technological proposal. Today the opposite occurs, the dominant type of technology proposes a society subjugated to industry, and we want the opposite – and here I use one sentence quite a lot – “my dream is to construct a being, an ideal state of a being, so that I shall not be the ideal being of the State”. I want to fight for this ideal state of being so that I won’t be the ideal of the State; that is not to be slavish.
Industrial agriculture is no longer able to respond to the crisis of societal change. On the contrary it is causing the crisis, because agriculture and the food system wants to enslave society, concentrating economic revenues. This hungry proposal of accumulating capital by all means causes a crisis, and farmers see that this is not a technological issue but an economic crisis that in turn is a political crisis. Capital is its own gravedigger in this respect.”