Migrants harvest tomatoes in Puglia | Photo: Sfruttazero
Migrants harvest tomatoes in Puglia | Photo: Sfruttazero

SfruttaZero produces ecological tomato sauce with the help of migrant farmworkers. The two associations that run the project in Puglia, Italy, have criticized the new security decree and said that "the ethical and moral duty to resist" drives their work.

The associations 'Solidaria' in Bari and 'Diritti a Sud' in the town of Nardò  – located in the Puglia region in southeastern Italy  – have criticized the  "inhumanity" of the second security decree approved by the Italian Senate. 

The associations are running a social farming collective SfruttaZero, which employs refugees and migrants, as well as local Italians, in the production and sale of tomato sauce from ecological farms. 

"We can't stop in the face of inhumanity" 

"In the face of inhumanity made into a law, we can't stop," said Solidaria in a statement. "We have the ethical and moral duty to resist, to continue to dissent. We do it by building an ethical, fair-trade tomato production chain, along which Italians and migrants meet and organise, planning what, when, and how to produce, experiencing life and work together, without bosses."  

The project is now in its sixth year. This year, 30 Italian and African migrant farmworkers planted about 30,000 tomato plants in fields in Bari and Nardò through SfruttaZero. 

Eight contracts through project 

"We issued eight contracts," said Gianni De Giglio of Solidaria. "Two of these are one-year contracts to start to deseasonalise farming production, to permit the renewal of the humanitarian work permit, since the first security decree in October 2018 cancelled humanitarian protection."

He said that while the project has faced obstacles, they are determined to continue their work. "At the close of the first day of the harvest, we even suffered the theft of several hundred kilograms of tomatoes. But it doesn't matter. We are already organising the second harvest. Giving up would mean giving in to those 160 assassin sponsors who voted for the second security decree in the Senate," he said.


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