Pilar Rodríguez de Crespillo (retired, 55 years old) and her husband Ariel gave away all the fruit from their farm due to the impossibility of placing it on the market due to its lack of profitability. They did it online and claim that no authority approached or gave "like" on their Facebook page.
Pilar got up on a Thursday fifteen days ago with an ambivalent feeling. On the one hand, the day was clear and when looking at the Bowen farm that has belonged to her husband's family since 1924, she was able to see the four hectares of fruit trees and vineyards loaded to the brim.
Is that after several years and although the excess of rains contrasted with the drought of the last five years, the climate did not play those bad tricks that used to take everything (even the plants themselves as happened in December 2008) and the production of pear, peach scoop, fine grape and plum d'agen among other varieties (about 20,000 kilos in total, between the two estates owned by the Crespillo family in the district) shone in the plants.
At the same time, Pilar listened to her husband Ariel (farmer, 56) who did not stop lamenting. "We are going to lose everything," he said in distress, after having been able to place only 343 boxes of all varieties in the packing houses, that is, just under 20% of the total production.
A regular user of social networks and an inveterate reader of newspapers throughout the country, Pilar assiduously shares publications related to politics and especially agriculture. And it was precisely through that account that he decided to express that bittersweet sensation, a mixture of pride for the quality obtained with the effort of the whole year, and of impotence when seeing it go to waste hanging from the branches, without being worth harvesting.
That noon Pilar wrote: “To the community: on Calle L between 21 and 22 in Bowen, Department of General Alvear, on our property, Finca Crespillo, all kinds of seasonal fruits of excellent quality are given away. Scoop pears, peaches, plums, bring container. Unfortunately, everything is being lost, in this way we collaborate with many people who do not have the possibility of consuming fruits and we avoid that officials are fatigued working for the sector ”.
Although it does not have a multitude of virtual friends (total 242), the rebound of the networks did not wait and although the "likes" were scarce, only 10, the text was shared 181 times and from there the cascade effect did not take long. reverberate throughout the community.
Neighbors from all over the department began to approach the farm. First, the closest ones by bicycle; but later, of the rest of Alvear and of several neighboring districts of San Rafael. The most distant even arrived from Monte Comán (70 kilometers from Bowen) in vehicles of all kinds and with their boxes ready to harvest.
"They emptied our farm in ten days," explained the woman. “Many professionals came and were surprised to find the land in perfect condition. I think everyone expected an abandoned farm with a few neglected plants, ”he said, unable to hide his satisfaction.
"The truth is that we did not expect this to happen, but we are very happy because from a small publication on the networks, many people found out what our true situation is and they were all very supportive," Rodríguez stressed, although he regretted that so much intermediate entities such as the political sector did not echo. "Not only did no official or official come, they didn't even 'like' him on Facebook," he said.
Although many people offered to pay for the fruit they took, the Crespillos kept their word and in the end everything was given away, to the point that it is difficult to find a pear or peach that has been saved from the improvised harvesters. "For me it was back to the summers of adolescence, when we went out with the neighborhood boys to harvest to go out on weekends," said Martín (who is now a teacher), one of the beneficiaries of free fruit.
Other families have already divided their harvest into jars of homemade sweet “and the rest to the freezer to last a few weeks” as Norma did with her husband.
Lack of profitability
While the Crespillos give away their fruit because they cannot place it on the market, they still don't know how much they will charge for the 6,860 kilos they managed to sell to a local packing shed. “It is that the price is formed in reverse; first the cost of transfer and sale is quantified and then, depending on whether the season is good in the large centers, we are paid ”, explained Ariel.
Thus, the box of 10 kilos of black grapes from Mendoza ends up costing the public 260 pesos in the Abasto market, Buenos Aires, or two kilos of pear 20 pesos in the Central Market according to its official list on the internet, “but at the producer is a hundredth part that will touch him ”.
“Urgent measures are needed because a very hard winter is coming. We do not make a living from this, but if we stop producing, what are people going to live on if the sheds and factories do not take employees? ”Asked the farmers' marriage. "At sight is the amount of abandoned land that not long ago were farms in full production," they continued.
"Hopefully with this gesture people will finish understanding that if we ask for a subsidy it is to continue producing food and jobs for everyone and not to change the car, as many think", they hoped.