Peasants, educators and environmental activists promoting agroecology and uniting against monoculture plantations in Brazil
Friends of the Earth Brazil is working in three municipalities, in rural areas of the pampa biome, and in the rural areas of Porto Alegre and Maquiné, a municipality located in the Atlantic coast. The regions share the impacts of transnational corporations, as well as the resistance through the exchange of knowledge and agroecological production.
In Rio Grande do Sul, just as in border countries Argentina and Uruguay, there has been a significant expansion of soy and forest monoculture plantations by big corporations such as Monsanto and Votorantin. Among the main impacts caused by these agribusinesses, Friends of the Earth makes reference to the dissemination of agrotoxics and GM seeds, the attacks suffered when sharing ancestral knowledge and peasanthood autonomy, the expulsion of young people from the countryside, the degradation of fertile lands, the elimination of biodiversity, and an indiscriminate use of water resources, among others.
According to the organisation, in the past 7 years only, forest monocultures have advanced over 25 per cent of the pampa biome territory, which amounts to 1 million hectares.
The collective building of agroecology
From the expulsion of young people from the countryside, agrotoxic contamination in crops and water sources and even sunlight deprivation, tree monocultures are causing an unprecedented impact on the lives of peasants in Herval municipality.
The video “Sementes Crioulas de Um Mundo Sem Venenos” (Native seeds in a world without poison) shows how the producers that are part of a community made up by 300 peasant families in that region are saving their ancestral peasant knowledge to produce wholesome food and at the same time to face the imposition of eucalyptus monoculture plantations.
The Biodiversidade group is one of the main actors that allows to build this defence of local Food Sovereignty. The group promotes: agroforest systems, native seed production, organic cattle farming and production of native tree and medicinal plant seedlings.
Made up by rural producers, one of the main goals of the group is to produce in an economic, socially and culturally viable way, in an agroecological way, reflecting, learning and generating production practices adequate to the Pampa.
The work to rescue and value popular knowledge, which implies a dialogue with producers together with students and educators from schools of the region, was included in the publication “Sabes Saberes Sabidos?” by Friends of the Earth International and the Biodiversidade Group. This publication includes recipes, tips on plant care, information on fruit trees and native plants, animals and traditional knowledge of the Pampa region.
Listen to the 2016 interview below, or download MP3 (2.2 Mb) here