• Categories
  • Archives

Soy Monoculture Deeply Divides a City in Brazil

The municipality of Lucas do Rio Verde, located 280 kilometers north of the Mato Grosso state capital, Cuiabá, has a complete urban infrastructure, even though it has existed as a separate municipality for only 16 years.

It currently profits from the monocultural production of soybeans, which have transformed it into the second largest producer of grains in Brazil.

Nevertheless, after an environmental disaster in March, when the city was sprayed with pesticides, the agribusiness environmental model divides opinions among large landowners, the mayor, and small farmers.

Lucas do Rio Verde has 25,000 inhabitants and one of the highest demographic growth rates in the country. Its population is growing around 12% annually.

Although the United Nations (UN) considers it the third best municipality in which to live in the state, small farmers criticize the soybean monoculture model, because it tends to concentrate income.

"This is a model that cannot be sustained in the long run. When the price of soybeans was US$ 21.42 (45 reais) a sack, as it was in 2004, the crop advanced upon the Amazon, cutting down the forest and concentrating landholding even more. The landowners said that agribusiness was the solution for Brazil.

"Now, with the soy price at US$ 7.14 (15 reais), they are wailing and want the nation to foot the bill, by having the government defer their debts," affirms the president of the Lucas do Rio Verde Truck Farmers’ Association, Celito Trevisan.

The Radiobras reporting crew tried to contact three large soybean producers in the region to get their comments on the use of pesticide sprays and the regional development model, but none of them wanted to be interviewed.

The local mayor, Marino José Franz, affirms that his administration is dedicated to "making changes" in the current model. In his view, what is needed is to deepen agribusiness even more.

The solution for the dependency of the local economy, according to Franz, lies in the "verticalization" of production. That is, instead of the exporting soybeans, corn, and rice from the municipality, he wants to attract industries that transform these grains into oil, animal feed, and other derived products, adding value to what is produced.

That is also why Franz laments that the municipality is still experiencing problems in getting its products to market, since the only means of access is the BR-163 highway, which links Cuiabá to Santarém (PA). The highway is in bad shape.

He indicates the solution on a map published by the city government. "Our way out is by rail. A spur of the North-South railway could transport our products to the Port of Itaqui in Maranhão," the mayor insists.

As a soybean exporter himself, he argues that if the municipality is able to resolve the logistics problem, the industries he wants will set up factories in town.

The president of the Lucas do Rio Verde Rural Workers’ Syndicate, Nilffo Vandcheer, on the other hand, claims that the solution lies in the diversification of production in the municipality and the strengthening of family farming and the cultivation of organic products.

In his view, agribusiness creates few jobs, concentrates income in the hands of large landowners, and ravages the environment through the intensive application of chemical fertilizers, pesticides, and heavy equipment that compacts the soil, preventing water from filtering down and causing erosion.

"Agribusiness has already destroyed the municipality’s forests, has eliminated the diversity of plant and animal species in the region, has contaminated the rivers and lakes, and is presently even jeopardizing the health and quality of life of the residents," he commented, referring to the use of pesticide sprays..

Agência Brasil

Tags:

  • Show Comments (1)

  • youssef khalife

    Dir sir,
    i am very intersting in investing in Lucas do Rio Verde, so can you please send me Lucas do Rio Verde’s municipality contacts,
    so i can talk to them and ask what do they have as land for sale.
    best regards
    youssef khalife
    00966505151852

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

comment *

  • name *

  • email *

  • website *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Ads

You May Also Like

Brazil and South America Set Price Ceilings on Swine Flu Vaccine

In order to prevent First World labs from exploiting fear of the A/H1N1 flu ...

Brazil Says It’s Setting Up World’s Biggest Cultural Network

Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva paid a visit to Heliópolis, a poor ...

Stimulus Package: Brazil Gets US$ 4.2 Bi to Buy from Ambulances to Missile Launchers

Faced with a sluggish economy, the Brazilian government announced the expansion of the Accelerated ...

Outsourcing Is Ruining the US and Brazil’s Economy

Here is another trend that will help speed up the impending collapse of the ...

Drug Users Are Majority of New AIDS Cases in Brazil

The global AIDS epidemic has been moving fast in affecting women. The 2004 World ...

New and Old Wells Get Brazil Record Oil Production Boost

Petrobras, Brazil's government-controlled oil and gas corporation, set a new monthly oil production record ...

Brazil’s Suzano Joins Club of Eco Friendly Companies

Suzano Bahia Sul Papel e Celulose S.A., one of Latin America’s largest integrated producers ...

Brazil’s Central Bank Chief Betting 2006 Will Be Very Good

The president of Brazil’s Central Bank (BC), Henrique Meirelles, calling 2005 a year of ...

Only 15% of Brazilians Have a Bank Account

The coordinator of the Economics and Market Commission of the Association and Syndicate of ...

It’s Still Not Easy Being Black in Brazil

In Brazil, unlike other countries, different ethnic groups interact a lot – sometimes peacefully, ...