Agrarian Reform

Brazil: Rural land activists hold mass mobilizations in defense of food security

Peasants across Brazil held mass mobilizations on Monday demanding popular agrarian reform

Brasil de Fato | São Paulo (SP)

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The activities take place on the International Day of Action for Peoples’ Food Sovereignty. / EBC

Important global figures along with rural agricultural workers called for radical changes to the planet’s current agricultural production system on Monday (16), which coincides with the International Day of Action for Peoples’ Food Sovereignty.

Meanwhile, actions and mobilizations took place in various countries including Brazil, where industrial agriculture has resulted in devastating ecological and social impacts on both the country’s rural and urban population. 

Dispossessed peasants held mobilizations across the country calling for an end to industrial agriculture and the immediate implementation of land reform due to highly unequal patterns of land concentration, with more than 40 percent of land being concentrated in less than one percent of properties.

Brazil, South America’s largest country, relies heavily on industrial agricultural production to generate economic growth, with around 32% of the country’s total export earnings come from agricultural exports. 

However, rural land activists are demanding better conditions for small scale farmers, which have worsened under the current government of Michel Temer, whose first actions included cutting off the Ministry of Agrarian Development, and reducing financial resources for emblematic programs in food procurement and strengthening family farming.

“Brazil is based on an agricultural economy and the model for production that we are currently using has to change. We can’t continue to base our economy with this type of production,” Brazilian Nutritionist Bela Gil told Brasil de Fato

Gil criticized the Brazil’s current “agribusiness economy”, which is supported and lead by the group of over 200 agribusiness representatives in the Chamber of Deputies and Senate, known as the the Ruralist Bloc. 

Gil advocated for the implementation of public policies based on agro-ecological production, which emphasizes the importance of food production without the use of agro-chemicals.

Brazil ranks the highest in terms per-capita consumption rate of agro-pesticides, with a consumption rate of five liters per person annually. 

Earlier this week, in efforts to reduce the consumption of agrotoxins, Brazilian civil society launched an online petition calling for the government to impose legal restrictions on the use of harmful agricultural chemicals. 

“I think these initiatives are very important, since our government doesn’t fulfill its role in guaranteeing the provision of healthy food for its population. I support measures based in research, which can reveal to the Brazilian public the dangers of agrotoxins,” Bela Gil added. 

Edition: Vanessa Martina Silva