Antonio Walker, Minister of Agriculture of Chile: "I greet all those anonymous heroes who make it possible for agriculture to continue producing"
The Minister of Agriculture, Antonio Walker, is one of the government officials who has had to do the most work in the context of the crisis caused by COVID 19 (apart from the Health sector), due to the fact that the quarantines and the various restrictions on movement human affect stocks and disrupt the food distribution chain.
Their work is essential because the health crisis, caused by the coronavirus, can transform into a food crisis if the sector paralyzes or collapses. What would transform the reality of the population in a situation of humanitarian catastrophe.
Asked about his vision of the critical moment the country is going through, Minister Walker declares:
- "The most important thing is human health, we have to take care of so many people who work in the rural world. There are more than six million people living in the Chilean countryside. 30% of the population lives in the rural sector. We have to take care of people as a first priority, because approximately one million people work directly in tasks related to the agricultural world and another million people work in tasks or functions indirectly related to agricultural activity. So we must take care of our people. A worker over 65 cannot go to harvest, cannot get up at 6 in the morning and face the morning wind or the hot midday sun. We have to intensify the application of Good Agricultural Practices, an issue that in Chile we do very well, but now the task is to add to these Good Practices everything necessary to face COVID 19 ”.
The minister comments his satisfaction that agricultural activity and food generation has been declared as strategic and he takes advantage of thanking all those who are working or have worked to maintain the population's supply chain.
To the question regarding food supply, he answers:
- We have had the largest drought in the history of Chile, so I want, first of all, to value the million people who transform water into food for Chile and the world, thanks to them we are very well supplied. We have everything we need, cereals, dairy products, red meats, white meats, vegetables, fresh fruit, dried fruit, berries, wines ... so I call not to hoard, we have everything and the supply is not will interrupt.
As a concrete measure, it informs that the Safe Supply Committee has been formed, where all the actors related to the production, transport and distribution of agricultural products are and highlights the “luck of being a country that produces many and very diverse products. agricultural ”, highlighting the food security of the country.
As a reflection, Minister Antonio Walker recounts the hard months he has had to live since 2019, remembering that “we have had six very difficult months as a country and as a Government. We had a tremendous social outbreak on October 18, where the people spoke loud and clear, and we listened with humility to implement a new social pact. We are now facing this crisis caused by the pandemic. My call is to the union to face these challenges together ”, he declares with conviction, adding:
“I am proud of the agriculture we have, a food supplier. My word is only thankful and I appeal to take care of ourselves. The health of our people comes first, but we are not going to lower our arms, so that Chile does not lack food. I salute all those anonymous heroes who make it possible for agriculture to continue producing. ”
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