Seminar debates regulation of ecological fairs in Porto Alegre and questions city hall proposal

A seminar held this Monday (13th) brought together various entities that represent ecological fairs in Porto Alegre to discuss legislation that regulates this type of activity in the city. Mediated by the Council of Ecological Fairs of Porto Alegre, the meeting questioned a bill (PL) – which regulates the fairs – sent by the city hall to the Chamber, which contradicts several requirements of the category. One of the demands is that the council, which manages the fairs, is not mentioned in the PL, and the management of these spaces would become the responsibility of the municipal Executive itself, from the Secretariat of Local Governance and Political Coordination (Smgov). The event took place at the headquarters of the National Institute of Colonization and Agrarian Reform (Incra), at Avenida Loureiro da Silva, 515.

Coordinator of the Council of Ecological Fairs, Iliete Citadin defends that the fairs are regulated by legislation, but is contrary to the PL sent by the Executive. In addition, she explains that the fairs are part of the Street Vendors Law (10.605/2008), based on Resolution 03/2012, specific for this type of service. “We understand that there has to be specific legislation for ecological fairs in Porto Alegre. What happens today is that we are tied to the street vendor law, and it is also important, but we have specificities, and therefore we need legislation that regulate this, that puts these differences in place”, says Iliete.

The coordinator also argues that, because it is a resolution and not a law, it can be modified with each change of government, which does not guarantee security on the functioning of the fairs for the category. “Today, what we have is a resolution that has been modified since 2012, with each (change of) government, which gives us a certain insecurity. In fact, there is nothing that gives us this firmness as legislation”, says Iliete .

She also claims that the need for legislation is a consensus between the entities that represent the fairs, as well as the essment that the proposal sent by the municipal Executive does not meet the needs of the category. The Coordinator of the Council of Ecological Fairs argues, then, that the law to be created should not be “lean”, in order to give security to the fairgrounds, and not allow that any alteration that harms the category be made by the municipal government from decrees and resolution.

Another claim debated at the meeting is that the bill sent by the city hall to the Ecological Fairs Council refers to the fairs as “Agroecological”. Despite apparently being just a new nomenclature, agroecological fairs differ from ecological fairs in terms of certification of organic products. Iliete explains that a technical note from the Ministry of Agriculture specifies that agroecological fairs do not require this certification. “What guarantee do you have today of going to an ecological fair and buying an organic product, if it no longer has certification?”, asks the coordinator, arguing that this measure goes against everything the category thinks.

In addition to the sale of products without organic certification, the Council of Ecological Fairs is concerned about the arrival of large companies to occupy the sales space of family farming, which is the entity’s priority. It turns out that Porto Alegre already has dozens of this type of fair, while ecological fairs are just seven. “The agroecological fairs do not have any criteria as to the type of products, they are conventional, with the use of pesticides, and do not include family farmers. The traders who are there take products from Ceasa and resell them. They have their merit as work and income , but it is very different from the proposal of ecological fairs, which are guaranteeing the income of family farmers, certified, organized in cooperatives and ociations. Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul (Ufrgs) and member of the Food and Nutrition Security Council of Rio Grande do Sul (Consea-RS).

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