Defending and defining artisanal agricultural products

A consumer that is really committed to local agricultural products, free of transgenics and elaborated according to sustainability criteria, has met a small artisanal farmer from Oiartzun to debate about the necessity of defining what a small artisanal farmer is and make comparisons between small, medium or industrial producers, as the three types can not be regulated with the same legislation. There is a big difference between the large scale producer and the small farmer that supports local traditions, local culture and has a lower production volume. There is space for both of them in the market but it is important to know the position each one occupies and what their necessities are regardless of economical and political interests.

These two women believe that competent authorities should take into account that small producers do not seek to become an industry and do not have the same risks. Small artisanal producers don’t need the same investments, especially in infrastructures as they do not produce in big quantities.  The solution is, for these two women, that there should be a basic general legislation for everyone, big or small producer, but there should also be a specific legislation for small artisanal products as these particular products have their own characteristics.

“We are allergic to life, afraid of microbes and applaud anything chemical” says the small producer from Oiartzun, at the foot of Peñas de Aia a mountain in Guipuzcoa.
There are other additional voices, for example from a woman that produces morcillas (black puddings) from Las Encartaciones, region from Bizkaia. It is possible to buy her product in farmers markets all over the Basque Country. This morcilla does not have health registration, however, it is well known and appreciated by gastronomes and awarded by the jury of gastronomic contests. She does not use machinery and her morcilla is kneaded  with her own hands using artisanal funnels. She produces small amounts and she does not aspire to grow in production. As a small artisanal producer she claims that her investments should be small as they can not be the same league as those needed by an industrial scale meat producer. She believes that the institutions should recognise the value of artisanal products, handmade and elaborated and with no additives and preservatives, and fight to stop them disappearing.

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