Brazil is naked!

The advance of soybean monoculture, the grain that grew too much
FASE – Solidarity and Education Sustainable and Democratic Brazil A Reflection and Social Mobilization Project

Brazil is naked! The advance of soybean monoculture, the grain that grew too much

Summary
Pg. 6 Brazil is naked! The advance of soybean monoculture, the grain that grew too much Pg. 16 When you take a close look, you see a different scenario The expansion of soybean farms as seen by people living in rural areas Pg. 25 Technology leads to more exclusion, more destruction Modern equipment and inputs pave the way for greater productivity, but apart from expensive, they can cause irreversible environmental damages Pg. 28 For a Brazil with less soy A discussion addressing the model adopted for raising animals for human consumption

Brazil is naked! The advance of soybean monoculture, the grain that grew too much

Introduction
Brazil is the second largest soybean producer and exporter in the world today. Soybeans are being grown in all regions of the country today, and those experiencing the greatest expansion are located in the Cerrado (savannah) region and in the Amazon Forest, two of the richest biomes on the planet in terms of biodiversity. Public opinion is led to believe that soybeans bring huge benefits to the country and its farmers. The media often disseminates stories highlighting the wealth generated by agribusiness: successful large farmers, their mansions, cars and airplanes. Social and environmental devastation is disguised by images of vast and green fields of soybeans, with their gigantic sowing and harvesting machines. However, rural social movements, rural workers and various organizations which, like FASE, work directly with these populations, are aware of constant violations of human rights associated with the expansion of soybean farms: murders, acts of violence to expel people from their land, deaths by contamination, slave labor, invasion of indigenous areas, situations that make traditional activities unfeasible, unemployment, destruction and loss of access to natural resources are some examples. This Publication summarizes information that we produced in a general study and four field studies carried out in the states of Mato Grosso, Tocantins and Pará. Our objective is to address the “invisible costs” of the current agricultural model, particularly in the mid-west and north regions of Brazil, so that they can be publicly debated. Testimonies from victims of this expansion, complemented by the data presented here, expose the consequences of the agricultural model adopted in Brazil, based on large landownership and export monoculture crops. Our work is dedicated to rural social movements, rural workers, various domestic and international organizations and to all those who, knowing that they belong to the nature that is being destroyed, are looking for appropriate information and action strategies to change this reality. Sergio Schlesinger Rio de Janeiro, November 2006

Brazil is naked! The advance of soybean monoculture, the grain that grew too much

Brazil is naked! The advance of soybean monoculture, the grain that grew most 2006, FASE (Federation of Social and Educational Assistance Organizations) GENERAL AND EDITORIAL COORDINATION Sergio Schlesinger TEXT Sergio Schlesinger and Silvia Noronha PUBLICATION FASE – Federation of Social and Educational Assistance Organizations Phone: +(21) 2536-7350 – Fax: +(21) 2536-7379 www.fase.org.br SUPPORT ActionAid Brazil Charles Stweart Mott Foundation Heinrich Böll Foundation Solidaridad THE ACTIVITIES CARRIED OUT BY FASE ON THE TOPIC OF SOYBEANS ARE ALSO SUPPORTED BY THE FOLLOWING INSTITUTIONS: ActionAid Americas Catholic Committee against Hunger and for Development – CCFD Ford Foundation IDRC – International Development Research Center (through the Red ComAgri project) Oxfam GRAPHIC DESIGN Plus Visual Programming www.maisprogramacao.com.br COVER PHOTOGRAPH (SOYBEAN GRAINS) Vanor Correia PHOTOLITH AND PRINTING XXXXXXXXXXX PRINT-RUN 3,000 copies

Brazil is naked! The advance of soybean monoculture, the grain that grew too much

Brazil is naked! The advance of soybean monoculture, the grain that grew too much / Sergio Schlesinger and Silvia Noronha — Rio de Janeiro: FASE, 2006. 24 pp. ISBN XX-XXXXX-XX-X 1. Brazil - agribusiness 2. Environment 3. Environmental impact 4. Sustainable Development I. Sergio Schlesinger II. Silvia Noronha III. Sustainable and Democratic Brazil Project IV. Federation of Social and Educational Assistance Organizations V. Title

The opinions expressed in this study are those of its authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the organizations that supported it.

Brazil is naked! The advance of soybean monoculture, the grain that grew too much

Brazil is naked!
The advance of soybean monoculture, the grain that grew too much
In Brazil, soybean crops have been portrayed to its population as a promising business that promotes development and progress in the country’s rural areas, apart from bringing foreign currencies to the government. However, behind the impressive figures and statistics on the expansion of soybean farms, the many negative impacts they cause contribute to increase socioeconomic inequality in Brazil even more. The problem to be discussed in this primer is not that of soybeans per se, but rather that of the model and dimension of this monoculture, the expansion of which destroys biodiversity, expels family farmers from their land, and generates unemployment in rural areas, benefiting only a small group of large landowners and domestic and multinational companies that operate in this sector. As we will see below, many Brazilians have become large landowners as a result of the donation of public lands (as in Campos Lindos, in the state of Tocantins); others expelled family farmers from their land, in some cases resorting to violence (as in the state of Pará). This situation shows that the property right is not always valid for the poorer segments of the population. All of this often occurs with the incentive of governments, affecting the country’s population at large, since what happens in rural areas has a bearing on the nation as a whole. The studies on four regions where agribusiness is expanding – Sorriso and Baixo Araguaia, in the state of Mato Grosso; Campos Lindos, in the state of Tocantins; and Santarém/Belterra, in the state of Pará – acquaint us with one part of Brazil’s history. Situations observed in these localities are linked to the reasons that led – and still lead – this nation to have one of the worst inequality indices in the world. Biodiversity All species of living beings in a given region. Agribusiness Years ago, the term that was used was agriculture/livestock, which included agriculture and cattle raising, but it fell into disuse. The word being used today is agribusiness, which has a broader meaning, as it includes related sectors such as transportation, inputs, industry and distribution.

Brazil is naked! The advance of soybean monoculture, the grain that grew too much

Distribution of the area planted with grains in Brazil

Soybeans 47.1% Other grains 3.5% Cotton 1.8% Wheat 5% Rice 6.4% Beans 8.9% Corn 27.3% Source: National Food Supply Company (CONAB) (newsletter of July 2006). Soybean crops in Brazil are expanding at alarming levels from any point of view: Social aspect – Soybeans do not generate jobs in rural areas1 and they also drive family farmers away from their lands. As a result, soybeans have led to more social exclusion and poverty, affecting cities also, as many rural workers are forced to leave rural areas in search of a job and income elsewhere. They usually have no other alternative but to live in the outskirts of the cities they migrate to, and it is difficult for them to find a job there. If they stay in rural areas they also face difficulties, such as: having their crops poisoned by pesticides, land conflicts or jobs that are only temporary, since large farms are capital-intensive, rather than labor-intensive. Environmental aspect – The model that is growing most is that of soybean monoculture, which causes deforestation and contaminates the soil and water resources (rivers, streams and ground water). It also affects the air quality, as monoculture requires the use of pesticides and fertilizers in large quantities. Consequently, it also affects the health of workers and people who live near these crops. Economic aspect – For the above-mentioned reasons, monoculture is not a sustainable economic development model. In addition, many governmental policies stimulate soybean exports, that is, commodity exports. However, competitiveness in today’s world is based on the creation of products A survey carried out by the Seade Foundation/Sensor Rural shows that soybeans generate only 5.5% of all jobs in the agricultural sector, although they account for 47.1% of all the area planted with grains in the country (newsletter of the National Food Supply Company of July 2006).
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Brazil is naked! The advance of soybean monoculture, the grain that grew too much

that involve something new, that have technology embedded in them – exactly the opposite of commodities, whose financial return is decreasing more and more. Nevertheless, the federal government celebrates the entry of foreign currency in the country from soybean exports. This money has contributed to enable Brazil to balance its accounts (revenues less spending) and pay off its foreign debt. But this is a futureless option, since as each year goes by we need to plant and harvest more and more soybeans (and other commodities) to make the same money. Capital-intensive Capital-intensive activities need a lot of money to keep up with technological advances introduced in machines and equipment such as harvesters, and often also to buy improved seeds, adapted to local weather and soil conditions. Sustainable economic development Economic growth that is preserved in the long run, benefiting the population at large, based on the balanced use of natural resources and improvements in the quality of life of humans. Commodity All raw materials or goods with a very small degree of industrialization that are negotiated through international business transactions. Commodities include agricultural goods such as soybeans; minerals such as steel; and forests such as eucalyptus forests. World soybean production (million tons) Country United States Brazil Argentina China Other countries Total Source: USDA. 1995 % Part. 59.2 46.7 25.7 20.2 12.1 9.5 13.5 10.6 16.5 13.0 127.0 100.0 2005 % Part. 85.0 39.5 51.1 23.7 39.0 18.1 17.4 8.1 22.8 10.6 215.3 100.0

Brazil is naked! The advance of soybean monoculture, the grain that grew too much

Brazil – Production and number of jobs in soybean agriculture: 1985, 1996 and 2004

Production (thousand tons) Jobs (thousand) Source: O Grão que cresceu demais, by Sergio Schlesinger, based on data provided by FIBGE (1985) and Gelder et al (2005).

Why so much soybeans?
The expansion of soybean farms is directly linked to a higher consumption of animal meat in the world. Currently, 90% of the world harvest of this oleaginous plant goes to crushing industries that turn the grain into bran, which in turn is used to prepare rations for bulls, chickens, pigs, and shrimps, among other animals that are invariably raised in confinement. The fast expansion of soybean production is mainly aimed at meeting demand from only three regions of the planet: the United States, the European Union and China, which consume two of each three kilograms of soybeans produced in the world2. Crushing industry Crushing turns about 80% of all the volume of soybeans into bran and 20% into crude oil. The bran is almost exclusively used for preparing animal rations. But the crude oil can be used to prepare different products, such as refined oil, hydrogenated fat, margarine, soybean lecithin, paints, cosmetics, pharmaceutical and medicinal products.

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Between 1995 and 2005, soybean production in the world increased by 60%.

Brazil is naked! The advance of soybean monoculture, the grain that grew too much

Global consumption of soybean bran (million tons) Country or 2004 Annual growth in 1994 - 2004 (%) region Asia 42.1 9.5 European Union 32.1 3.3 United States 28.4 2.17 China 21.5 15.47 Latin America 18.5 6.67 Other countries 17.0 7.17 Total 138.1 5.52 Source: Pereira, 2004. Soybean is becoming the main food item for animals raised in captivity due to its high vegetal protein content. According to the US company ADM, one of the multinationals operating in the sector, the amino acids found in soybean bran are highly digestible. Soybean bran is used as a source of amino acids for these animals in all phases of their lives. Corn, which is also largely used for preparing rations, is utilized as an energy source. According to projections of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), chicken and dairy consumption tends to grow more than the average observed for other food products. Many surveys, such as those carried out by FAO and by the Brazilian Institute for Geography and Statistics (IBGE), suggest that people begin to eat more meat when they earn higher wages: the higher the income, the lower the consumption of grains and tubers and the higher the consumption of meat. In addition, according to the anthropologist Sidney Mintz, food habits are tending to become globalized and this phenomenon gives a social status to meat consumers. In Japan, for example, rice consumption per person dropped by almost half between 1961 and 2000 (from 107 kg to 65 kg), but meat consumption increased eight-fold over the same period (from 5 kg to 40 kg). In 1990, the Chinese people were eating three times more meat than in 1961. For this reason, the area planted with soybeans is expected to increase mainly in South America, and particularly in Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay, Uruguay and Bolivia, where most “available lands” that are appropriate for growing soybeans are located3. Developed countries, in turn, tend to grow proportionally less soybeans than today. Therefore, some developing countries will have to carry the burden of meeting demand for the product and bearing the social, environmental and economic damages that it causes. For this reason, to decrease the impacts of growing soybean in Brazil, it will be necessary to change food habits and also how animals are raised. For this purpose, European non-governmental organizations have been discussing campaigns designed to reduce the consumption of animal
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According to calculations of the Ministry of Agriculture, there are still 70 million hectares supposedly available for new soybean crops in the Cerrado region – more than the area already being used for agriculture/livestock activities in this biome (57 million hectares, according to official data). This figure would only keep intact the compulsory legal reserve provided for in the Forest Code (35% of all savannah areas in the Legal Amazon region and 20% in all other areas). Supposedly, there are still areas available in the Amazon forest

Brazil is naked! The advance of soybean monoculture, the grain that grew too much

protein, while others have been encouraging the production of agroecological soybeans. Greenpeace pulls up this evil by the roots: its recent campaigns have been warning that European meat consumers are “devouring” the Amazon region as a result of the deforestation caused by the expansion of soybean farms in forest areas. Only a small percentage of the production of this oleaginous plant is directly consumed by humans. Brazilians have the habit of cooking with soybean oil. The Chinese – who live in the region where soybeans came from – have the age-old tradition of preparing shoyo (soy sauce), misso (soup), and tofu (cheese). Nowadays, different industries also use soybean oil as an ingredient in products such as chocolates, cookies, margarine, breads and ice creams. Recently, large soybean entrepreneurs began to defend the use of its crude oil to produce biodiesel. But, to do this, they want the government to grant them more incentives. Agroecological Model based on crop diversity in the same growing area, using only natural products (instead of chemical products): plants, animals, microorganisms, water, minerals, etc. It favors family agriculture and promotes food security. Biodiesel Fuel produced from renewable sources to replace diesel from petroleum. Figures that impress the nation Governments, media and organizations linked to agribusiness are not sparing efforts to disseminate the “benefits” of expanding soybean crops, usually using figures designed to impress the nation and to make it feel proud. As a result, economic statistics for the sector are given more attention than data on the social and environmental destruction brought about by the expansion of monoculture crops. Since the Portuguese arrived in Brazil, the natural riches of the country have been exploited to the greatest extent possible, mainly to be traded on the foreign market. The first one was brazilwood; followed by the gold, diamond, coffee, sugarcane, and rubber rushes. The features of the current “soybean rush” are similar to those of the exploitation of other natural resources. Once again, monoculture is on the rise; and once again, workers are losing.

Brazil is naked! The advance of soybean monoculture, the grain that grew too much

Brazil: production growth by state (in thousand tons) REGION/Unit of the 1995/96 2005/06 Federation NORTH 14.2 1,338.3 Roraima 4.9 56.0 Rondônia – 260.1 Amazon region – 8.4 Pará – 228.6 Tocantins 9.3 785.2 NORTHEAST 921.9 3,574.3 Maranhão 199.6 972.4 Piauí 23.0 618.3 Bahia 699.3 1,983.6 MID-WEST 8,846.4 27,787.4 Mato Grosso 4,686.8 16,768.5 Mato Grosso do Sul 2,045.9 4,460.5 Goiás 2,046.2 6,396.7 Federal District 67.5 161.7 SOUTHEAST 2,274.5 4,488.5 Minas Gerais 1,040.2 2,840.4 São Paulo 1,234.3 1,648.1 SOUTH 11,132.7 18,524.8 Paraná 6,241.1 9,682.9 Santa Catarina 489.3 831.8 Rio Grande do Sul 4,402.3 8,010.1 NORTH/NORTHEAST 936.1 4,912.6 CENTER-SOUTH 22,253.6 50,800.7 BRAZIL 23,189.7 55,713.3 SOURCE: National Food Supply Company (CONAB) – Survey: April 2006. Among the figures for soybeans that the media has been emphasizing, the following ones deserve special mention: • Brazil is the second largest producer and exporter of soybeans in the world, behind the United States only. In 2003 and 2004, the country was the largest soybean exporter in the world at one point, a position that it is expected to occupy once again in coming years. • One-third of all the soybean that is marketed on the international market is Brazilian soybean. • In 2005, soybeans accounted for eight per cent of all the country’s exports. In foreign currencies, it totaled about US$ 9.5 billion. • Almost half of all grains planted in Brazil are soybeans, a crop that occupies an area4 that is equivalent to five times and a half the territory of the Netherlands. • Soybean production rose from 12.1 million tons in 1976-1977 to over 50 million tons since the 2004-2005 harvest, according to the National Food Supply Company (CONAB). Totalling about 22.2 million hectares, according to the National Food Supply Company (CONAB) (2005-2006 harvest).
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Brazil is naked! The advance of soybean monoculture, the grain that grew too much

• Productivity has increased from 1,748 kg/ha in 1976-1977 to 2,329 kg/ha in 2003-2004, the last confirmed datum provided by the National Food Supply Company (CONAB) which, for the 20052006 period, expected to see an even higher productivity: 2,511 kg/ha. What is behind these figures To reach these results, agribusiness – encouraged by the federal government and by state and municipal administrations through tax exemptions, debt forgiveness and other incentives – ignored and still ignores everything on its way. As a result, much of the Cerrado area – “where there was nothing”, as people used to say – has been cultivated already. The “star” right now is the Amazon forest, where the expansion of some areas planted with soybeans hit the mark of 300% between 1995 and 2003. The Amazon and Cerrado regions are two of the richest biomes on the planet in terms of biodiversity. Their forests, waters, animals, traditional peoples and culture are being impacted by soybean crops, as they were decades ago by livestock. These events show that the Brazilian economic logic is far from incorporating the sustainable development concept. Tax exemptions When the government exempts a certain sector from the obligation to pay taxes. The measure affects society at large because it reduces the tax revenue of the State and, consequently, it jeopardizes its capacity to invest in other areas, such as in the health and education areas. Debt forgiveness When the government waives debts owed by farmers, which also affects society at large, as it jeopardizes the public budget. Biomes Each natural community made up of specific fauna and flora species, usually with a predominant type of vegetation. Brazil has six biomes: The Amazon, Cerrado, Caatinga, Atlantic Forest, Pantanal and Pampa biomes.

Brazil is naked! The advance of soybean monoculture, the grain that grew too much

Pace of expansion of soybean growing in Brazil by state

Growth of the area planted with soybeans (1995-2003) > 300% 150% - 300% 75% - 150% < 75% No production Source: CONAB Exports of “virtual” water One of the factors that led South America to be “elected” as the main region for expanding agribusiness is the “availability” of freshwater on the continent. Monoculture crops usually require large amounts of water, an expensive and endangered resource in developed countries and also in China, where rivers and ground water are so contaminated nowadays that agriculture cannot be expanded in that country anymore. This is why China, a very large country, buys so much soybean from Brazil and other nations instead of producing it itself. What this means is that China bought 45 km3 of freshwater indirectly 5 as a result of having imported 18 million tons of soybean in 2004, the average amount of water that was used to irrigate crops to produce those 18 million tons of soybean. If it were to produce it in its territory, China would have to use water resources that are scarce today in its territory. Therefore, the undue use of water resources in soybean crops – and also in eucalyptus plantations, pasture areas, etc. – jeopardizes water supply in the future also in Brazil.

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This is equal to almost two-thirds of all the water consumed by humans worldwide.

Brazil is naked! The advance of soybean monoculture, the grain that grew too much

Total soybeans bought by China

Total tons bought by China in 2004 18 million tons = Water consumption in soybean crops 45 km3 Domestic water consumption in the world 65 km3 Source: Virtual water: the water we consume without seeing it. Vânia Rodrigues, www.aesabesp.com.br/artigos_agua_vir tual.htm. Who loses with the advance of monoculture crops • Traditional and environmentally more sustainable family agriculture, which produces food consumed by the Brazilian population and creates jobs in rural areas. • Forestry, agroextractivism, small-scale fishing and other agricultural activities traditionally carried out by people living in regions where soybean growing is being expanded. • The food security of the Brazilian population, since almost three-quarters of the soybean production in Brazil are used to feed chickens, pigs and bulls raised in captivity in soybeanimporting countries. • Economic sovereignty. From seed production to the marketing of the end product, the presence of multinational food companies in this chain is increasing. • Brazilian biodiversity, including the availability of natural resources such as water. Food security When all people, at all times, have physical and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food to meet their dietary needs and food preference for an active and healthy life (FAO definition).

Brazil is naked! The advance of soybean monoculture, the grain that grew too much

When you take a close look, you see a different scenario
The expansion of soybean farms as seen by people living in rural areas
Another Sorriso (“smile” in Portuguese) is possible Up till the mid-20th century, the Cerrado region, “where there was nothing”, was inhabited by tribes that were relocated to other areas – mostly to the Xingu Indigenous Park (state of Mato Grosso) – for the purpose of populating the region. The history of Sorriso, in the state of Mato Grosso, the old land of the Kaiabi People, is an example of this dynamic. Located between Cerrado and Amazon Forest areas, this municipality has the largest area planted with soybeans on the planet, accounting for 4% of Brazil’s total harvest. Two-thirds6 of Sorriso are occupied by monoculture soybean crops! Going back in time a little, in the 1950s and 1960s the government of the state of Mato Grosso sold large land areas in the north and northwest regions of the state, where Sorriso is located, to be occupied by private individuals. This initiative was not successful, at least back then: instead of paving the way for new urban and rural centers to develop, large tracts of land ended up in the hands of individual owners. In most cases, land was bought for merely speculative purposes, so much so that, years later, these areas began to be sold mainly to farmers from Brazil’s south region, who began to sell their lands in the south to buy larger ones in the mid-west. It should be mentioned that the first owners requested title deeds directly from the State, taking advantage of their easy access to public lands. Later, these title deeds were sold to farmers from the south with the intermediation of a land “colonization” company or directly bought from their owners. Currently, Sorriso is clearly marked by the historical traits of monoculture in Brazil, prominent among which is a huge gap between a handful of rich farmers and poor, underemployed or landless populations. “In the 17 years that we have been living in the municipality of Sorriso, we have experienced many different phases. When we arrived here [1990 and 1991] the labor market was quite strong, as large capitalists were being attracted to the municipality and there were many job offers, but this was never to be repeated... As soon as they established their farms, the labor market weakened more and more (...). Work is hard to come by now. This year [2006] and in the past three, four years we have seen a sharp decrease in job offers. One of the reasons is that Sorriso is a municipality that has experienced the effects of corporate agriculture for longer than most other municipalities; here, almost all areas are being exploited already and as soon as they begin to be exploited people begin to experience exclusion, deep exclusion, because large farms usually have only four or five employees and a lot of equipment, machines.” Family farmer, currently a coordinator of the Landless Movement (MST) in Sorriso According to the Satellite Amazon Forest Monitoring Program (Prodes), 56% of the original vegetal cover in the municipality was made up of forests and 44% of savannah areas, most of which have been deforested.
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Brazil is naked! The advance of soybean monoculture, the grain that grew too much

However, the focus of the media is usually on how rich the municipality has become as a result of growing soybeans. Mansions, luxury cars and modern machines in crops attract more attention than rising poverty levels in the region, meaning that this is a repetition of the “development” model adopted in Brazil since the Portuguese arrived here. Not everybody is fooled by this attitude of the press, according to an article posted on the Portal of the Government of Mato Grosso (www.mt.gov.br). The text was written by Marcel Mayozer, from the National Agronomy Institute of France. “More globally, the downward trend observed in the prices of agricultural raw materials (such as soybeans) can, for the world economy in the short term, benefit the manufacturing and distribution industries, as well as consumers, apart from favoring savings. However, in the medium and long run this situation will reduce the income of 3 billion farmers (throughout the world) and progressively impoverish these populations until many of them begin to face malnutrition and even hunger. Finally, this situation increases the rural exodus and maximizes unemployment, which already affects 25% of the economically active population worldwide, exerting downward pressure on the already very low wages paid to unskilled workers.” Data from the government of the state of Mato Grosso also confirm a drop in the income of soybean farmers for three years in a row. The situation changed after years in which soybean prices were up and prosperity prevailed, thus leading more and more people to grow soybeans. However, between 2004 and 2006, the income of farmers in Mato Grosso dropped to less than half of what it used to be. Maximum price paid to a soybean farmer in the state of Mato Grosso (R$/bags of 60 kg)

Source: Seder / Government of the state of Mato Grosso (reference months: April 2004, April 2005 and March 2006, harvest months of the annual harvest). This price dynamic has been observed in the agricultural sector for decades; and has affected coffee, sugar, rice, cotton and other crops. In 50 years, the actual value of agricultural products has dropped four- or five-fold. Also because of this factor, soybeans do not benefit the population, but rather the manufacturing and distribution industries. Actual values Deduction of the inflation during a given period to determine the same purchasing power in that period. Manufacturing industry Industry that buys the grain to turn it into bran, oil and other products.

Brazil is naked! The advance of soybean monoculture, the grain that grew too much

BAIXO ARAGUAIA 1. Alto Boa Vista 2. Bom Jesus do Araguaia 3. Canabrava do Norte 4. Confresa 5. Luciára 6. Novo Santo Antonio 7. Porto Alegre do Norte 8. Ribeiro Cascalheira 9. São José do Xingu 10. Santa Cruz do Xingu 11. Santa Terezinha 12. São Félix do Araguaia 13. Serra Nova Dourada 14. Vila Rica 15. Cláudia 16. Feliz Natal 17. Gaúcha do Norte 18. Nova Ubiratã 19. Paranatinga 20. Querência 21. Santa Carmem 22. Sinop 23. Sorriso 24. União do Sul 25. Vera Xingu National Park Exclusion in the Baixo Araguaia region

Brazil is naked! The advance of soybean monoculture, the grain that grew too much

The Baixo Araguaia region7, in the northeast region of the state of Mato Grosso – one of the recent expansion fronts of the Brazilian agribusiness, with soybean crops and livestock as the main activities –, also reflects the country’s socioeconomic inequality, which is invariably associated with governmental and private actions that exclude local populations. In the past, the Baixo Araguaia region was the habitat of the Xavante, Tapirapé, and Karajá peoples, among other indigenous people who are now living in the Araguaia National Park (state of Tocantins) or in the Xingu Indigenous Park (state of Mato Grosso). In the early 20th century, the region also attracted groups of peasants who migrated from the north and northeast regions, many of whom on foot, in search of land for developing family agriculture schemes. In the 1940s, this scenario began to change. The Getúlio Vargas administration (1930-1945) sponsored the “March to the West” program, designed to create population centers in various areas in Brazil’s central region. The Vargas administration saw Mato Grosso as a huge “demographic void”, with lands that could be used for economic production purposes. During this period, many different indigenous tribes were expelled from their ancestral lands, which began to be divided into lots to be sold by public authorities. Successive administrations continued to pursue this occupation policy, which also affected family farmers. “There are about 40,000 processes under way at the State Land Department [of Mato Grosso], meaning that the whole state is, so to speak, being divided into lots and sold in installments. Prices strongly contrast with those prevailing on the market [São Paulo], and you can buy 2.42-hectare lots in vacant lands in the regions of Dúvidas, Barra do Garças, Bugre, Diamantino and Aripuanã, among others, for 25 cruzeiros (the currency then) or even less! You pay the real estate broker, an agent to register your title deed at the land registry, an engineer to measure your area and you become a large landowner overnight, spending less than you would ever imagine.” O Estado de São Paulo newspaper, 1954 (mentioned by SIQUEIRA, E. M. História de Mato Grosso: da ancestralidade aos dias atuais. Cuiabá: Entrelinhas, 2002) In the second half of the 1960s, the military government began to implement a new cycle of occupation-oriented actions, also stimulated by settlement programs and incentives to large agriculture/livestock projects. Families were attracted from different Brazilian states by the possibility of having a land of their own. On the other hand, fiscal incentive programs controlled by the Superintency for the Development of the Amazon Region (Sudam), led to the implementation of large agriculture/livestock projects, particularly extensive cattle-raising for slaughter. Projects that were financed included one called Agropecuária Suiá-Missu, which became a major case of large landownership in Brazil, as the land in question had over one million hectares8 and was located in areas belonging to the Xavante people. As pasture areas were expanded, old villages were displaced, leaving crops, homes, cemeteries and other cultural references behind. There was tension and conflicts between the agriculture/livestock farm and indigenous people and the solution devised by their owners, in agreement with the now extinct Service for the Protection of Indigenous It comprises 14 municipalities: Alto Boa Vista, Bom Jesus do Araguaia, Canabrava do Norte, Confresa, Luciára, Novo Santo Antonio, Por to Alegre do Norte, Ribeirão Cascalheira, São José do Xingu, Santa Cruz do Xingu, Santa Terezinha, São Félix do Araguaia, Serra Nova Dourada and Vila Rica, which together occupy 9.4 % of the state’s territory. 8 For comparison purposes, The National Amazon Park is a little smaller: 994,000 hectares; the Pantanal region in Mato Grosso occupies a 138,000-hectare area.
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Brazil is naked! The advance of soybean monoculture, the grain that grew too much

People (API), was to relocate the Xavante to the São Marcos Salesian Mission and to other areas in 1967. In 2004, in compliance with a judicial decision, the farm – now the Marãiwatsede Reservation – was returned to the Xavante, but conflicts continued because many squatters, woodcutters and farmers stayed in the area. From 1985 to 2005, with the aim of reducing conflicts between squatters who had been living in the region for decades and its new occupants, the federal government launched 56 land-reform settlement projects in a 1,147,501-hectare area, where 13,903 families could be settled. It should be mentioned that the Constitution of 1988 grants property right to squatters who occupy areas of up to 50 hectares for at least five years. This is a provision known as usucapião rural (adverse possession), which is not applicable if the owner of the land is the government. Art. 191/Federal Constitution. The individual who, not being the owner of rural or urban property, holds as his own, for five uninterrupted years, without opposition, an area of land in the rural zone, not exceeding fifty hectares, making it productive with his labor or that of his family, and having his dwelling thereon, shall acquire ownership of the land. (Official translation of the Brazilian Constitution) Soybeans began to be grown in the region in this scenario of relative instability in social relations in rural areas; land prices went up as a result, leading to more conflicts between people who wanted to buy land in the region and squatters, settled groups and indigenous people. Soybean crops grew at an incredible pace; in only four years, the planted area9 increased nine-fold. “We have felt a really strong impact in the municipality of Bom Jesus, where there used to be a very large cattle ranch that has all been transformed into soy. This has had a very large impact. Even the stream that runs through the city has been contaminated, and so the farmers are a bit worried because the pests, as with the intensive use of poisons, the pests flock to the small producers’ plantations, because there’s no poison there. So, if you’re proposing a differentiated agriculture which doesn’t use pesticides, if your neighbor’s using it, if he doesn’t use it too, he also runs the risk of the pests coming and eating all his plants, because it has produced a very strong imbalance here in the region. But there is still, in most of the region, a bit of a belt that separates this monoculture (soy, cotton, rice) from the place where the family farmers are located. (...) (...) you’ve got an intermediate forest area or a cattle ranch in between, most of the time there is no direct contact with the soy plantations and if there is, it gets involved too.” Tadeu Escamo, coordinator of the National Rural Environmental Management Program (Gestar) of the Ministry of Environment “Because that’s what they say, the big ones come and bring progress to the region. I’m against that, depends on the progress, because if I came to the region, to the municipality and did just what they do, took everything out of the soil, pulled up all the trees, pulled everything up and just left the pesticide, the desert there, it would not be progress at all. Because their families don’t come here, they stay in São Paulo, they stay in Cuiabá and here they only have the farm hands. The people here can go hang, they spread the poison and they’re off. The animals that were in the forest, the fish that were in the river, the trees that were growing to sustain the river, they all disappear. Because the climate here has changed, 20 years ago it rained every day, and as you can see, today it rains a lot less, as they keep on deforesting and its keeps raining less, a lot less.”
9

From 11,770 hectares in 2002 to 104,000 in 2005.

Brazil is naked! The advance of soybean monoculture, the grain that grew too much

Antonio Silvino, settler under the Liberdade settlement project, Canabrava do Norte Soybeans in Santarém: a terrible example A long time before soybeans began to be grown in Pará, the state had already faced difficult moments after the decline of the cocoa rush, in the first half of the 19th century, and of the rubber rush, in the early 20th century. In the 1960s, the territorial occupation model adopted in Pará gave rise to a cycle of disputes over land ownership and use that resulted in the state being marked by the highest rates of violence in rural areas10 in Brazil until this very day. Currently, it is one of the areas with the highest rates11 of soybean crop expansion, a phenomenon that has been observed since the year 2000. As in the mid-west, large-scale farming is the predominant model in the Amazon region, expelling family farmers from their plots of land. Two municipalities deserve special mention in this regard: Santarém and Belterra, which were major agricultural centers in the region already, with a decades-old diversified and consolidated family agriculture framework, are now threatened by the expansion of monoculture soybean crops. Most testimonies from small farmers and union leaders are marked by their concern with the sale of land owned by family farmers to soybean farmers, a dynamic that has led to the disappearance of many villages. “And there are communities where the main problem is like this, because you sell and someone else sells and some farmers get squeezed, and the time comes when they have to sell. To a certain extent, it’s a peaceful expulsion. Because you’re used to family farming and there he farms chickens, pigs, lamb and plants. Where soy is planted, there is a lot of poison. An example is the community [of Tracuá, in Belterra] where there was a pig farm and now it’s gone. There was a country chicken farm, it’s gone, there was a plan to farm bees, it’s gone. Why? Twenty meters away, on the other side, there was a large soy plantation. Every animal that left there with signs of poisoning was eaten by the chickens, the pigs, and they’d die. He had to sell his land cheap and go somewhere else, because there was no way of continuing. His area was already small. The bees he was going to farm would go off to the soy flowers and get poisoned. The children used to be going to school at the time they were spraying the poison, the children getting contaminated was unbearable.” Venilson José Ferreira da Silva, President of the Lower Amazonas Rural Workers’ Study and Training Center (CEFTBAM) Testimonies of people whose names will not be mentioned at their own request, for safety reasons, will be provided below: “They bought from one side of the road to the other, people were stuck behind them, than they stopped the people from crossing, because it was their property on one side and on the other, and According to the Ombudsman’s Office of the Ministry of Land Development, 37.5% of all deaths caused by land conflicts in Brazil in 2004 occurred in the north region; of these, 67% occurred in the state of Pará. 11 Santarém and Belterra accounted for 44% of all the soybean production in the state of Pará in 2004. In the last harvest (2005-2006) alone, the area planted with soybeans in the state grew by 15.5% in relation to the previous harvest, according to the National Food Supply Company.
10

Brazil is naked! The advance of soybean monoculture, the grain that grew too much

they even planted on the road so we had no road. That is something that they do a lot. They did that in Jabuti, they did the same thing over in Baixa D’água too. The guy of the massacre would not let people that lived on the other side cross the land. They had to go a very long way around.” “I’m growing passion fruit, oranges, tangerines and they plant next to and behind my land, then they start spraying poison on their rice and soy and harming my crops, I tell them that the poison they’re using has reduced my fruit production then one of them says to me: ‘If he doesn’t want to sell, I’ll buy two of the 13, then I’ll use poison there and he’ll not harvest anything and he’ll sell to me’, that’s just what he said to me right here where we’re sitting.” “When I was there, we were afraid of being cut off, because we already were, it was sad, I’d reach the road and look to the side, there were no neighbors, there was no-one out. The bus that used to come to the town didn’t run any more because there were very few people, because it wasn’t worth it any more, we fought for it. At times, when we had been from here to Santarém and were coming back, it would turn in and drop us off. But to catch it... There on the plateau, there’s a lot of mud, if it rains it’s muddy. How can we take our products: flour, water melons, to the bus stop? So, we got ourselves a wagon, others did the same. These were the kinds of difficulties we faced. So, we all got very downhearted, and we couldn’t even leave our homes because of the stink on the days when they were spraying. Because when we spray, even with home-made insecticide, we do it in the evening. They do it through the day, because it’s such a large area.” The testimonies of these residents of Santarém reveal the problems being faced by family farmers. Many of them, including some of those we interviewed, left the countryside and are trying to make a living in a city. These are current examples of a rural exodus that is not being caused by any search for a better life in the city, but rather by the excluding economic development model Brazil has been sponsoring in the past 500 years, relying on the support of its rulers. Campos Bonitos (beautiful fields in Portuguese, but not anymore) Once the land of the Xavante people, Campos Lindos leads the soybean production ranking in Tocantins, a state created by the Constitution of 1988. The most striking feature of the recent history of the municipality is that soybean plantations have expanded in lands donated by the state government to people with good connections with public authorities. Through a decree (n. 436/97), the government expropriated a 105,000-hectare area for public utility purposes in the Santa Catarina development, located in the Serra do Centro mountain range. The beneficiaries of this project were not the small farmers who lived in those lands – many of whom for over five decades –, but rather entrepreneurs from the south and southeast regions of the country, who received these areas virtually as a “present.”12 Almost all families that actually lived in the locality were expelled from the land, which was divided into plots and transferred to politicians such as the ex-president of Infraero (Brazilian Airport Infrastructure Company), Adyr da Silva; the former minister of agriculture Dejandir Dalpasquale; and the then president of the Agricultural Federation of the State of Tocantins (FAET), federal representative Kátia Abreu (Liberal Front Party/Tocantins), who was elected senator in 2006. This ‘present’ costed over R$ 1 million in state public funds paid as expropriation indemnity to the alleged owners of the lands, most of whom had never been seen in the region.
12

Brazil is naked! The advance of soybean monoculture, the grain that grew too much

Today, Serra do Centro concentrates most of the soybean production13 in Campos Lindos. It is estimated that approximately 41,000 hectares, 3,000 hectares and 1,200 hectares have been planted with soybeans, rice, and corn, respectively. The production system developed by local communities before soybeans began to be grown in the region was based on the extraction of bacury, buriti palm fruit, buritirana fruit, cashew fruit, souari nut (for producing soap), bacaba fruit, mangaba fruit, piaçava palm straw (for producing oil) and honey; on growing rice, corn, manioc, black-eyed pea, fava bean, squash, water melon, banana, avocado, pineapple, cotton under a system referred to as roça de toco (slash-and-burn and clearing of small areas for growing crops); on pig and poultry raising; on hunting wild animals (deer, peccary, tapir, rhea, siriema (Cariama cristata), agouti, armadillo, partridge); and on fishing, when fish abounded in the region’s streams. This production system ensured food security and a highly diversified diet to the families, apart from income from selling their surplus in street markets. Keeping this system is not possible any longer: PICTURE: MARIANA CASTILHO

“Life was rich and plentiful; everybody helped on the land and planted together: rice, cassava, corn. We farmed the animals because at that time there were no epidemics. There was a lot of hunting: there were a lot of deer in the fields, there were boar, there were a lot of tapirs, there were a lot of rhea.... there used to be everything. There were peccary, a lot of pacas, and a lot of armadillos. My father brought us up on hunted meat. There were no cattle. Only the land where we farmed chicken and ducks, but we didn’t go hungry (....) There was a lot of fruit, because all the trees bore a lot... Initially there was pequi, and bacuri. There was plenty of everything. Wherever you wanted it. It was easy to find wild animals everywhere. There were coconuts [babassu]... ... After I got married, for the first few years I farmed pigs, there was a lot of hunting, my husband farmed wild cattle. After this blight arrived, we’ve had to farm a smaller area, there’s very little. When they roamed free there was a lot. We all had cattle, but when I have to lock them in, who would look after them? I couldn’t. Now we have no animals.” Maria Florência Ribeiro, from the Vereda Bonita rural community “They say that Campos Lindos is pure wealth, but how can this be? Where does the wealth from the soy go? It doesn’t stay here. If it does, it’s in someone’s pocket. The future looks very bleak for us” Adão Macaxeira, ex-squatter of Sussuarana Ranch, Campos Lindos Slave labor

In the 1997-2004 period, the area planted with soybeans in all the municipality increased one hundred-fold: from 450 to 45,000 hectares; while production increased from 1,491 to 121,000 tons.
13

Brazil is naked! The advance of soybean monoculture, the grain that grew too much

In all these localities where soybean farms are growing, there are records of slave labor or of similar situations. The Brazilian Government and the Land Pastoral Commission (CPT) estimate that 25,000 people are working under slavery conditions in the country today. Records14 are particularly abundant in states located in the Legal Amazon region, Brazil’s agricultural frontier today. Cases of slave labor are commoner in cattle farms, but they also occur as new areas are made available for growing soybeans. In the state of Tocantins, there were five reports involving soybean farmers in 2005, three of them in Campos Lindos (CPT, 2006). “In 2000 and 2001, I worked as a slave on the ranch of Dejandir Dalpasquale. There I worked on cutting down the pequi and bacuri trees, I destroyed all the savannah and burnt it [the wood]. At the time, there were about 40 of us. We lived in plastic shacks. We stuck it out for about three months and decided to report it to the union. Inspectors arrived. I know it’s still the same there. Many people don’t have the courage to report it.” Pedro Piauí, squatter of Sussuarana Ranch, Campos Lindos

In 2005, there were 276 reports of slave labor, involving 7,707 workers, and 4,585 workers were rescued from slave labor situations by the Mobile Inspection Group of the Ministry of Labor and Employment. Pará (123), Tocantins (41) and Maranhão (33) occupy the top positions in this ranking.
14

Brazil is naked! The advance of soybean monoculture, the grain that grew too much

Technology leads to more exclusion, more destruction
Modern equipment and inputs pave the way for greater productivity, but apart from expensive, they can cause irreversible environmental damages

Inputs These include all spending and necessary production-related investments in items such as seeds, machines and chemical products. Transgenic products Products containing one or more genes artificially transferred to another species (Source: Houaiss Dictionary). In the modern world, those who have the technology excel. In rural areas, producers need to spend more and more with inputs that are becoming more and more sophisticated and expensive. The new technologies found today in harvesters, sowers and in seed types – such as transgenic seeds – force farmers to spend a lot of money. The necessary investment is only feasible for large farms 15, which have gains of scale, that is, because of the large area planted in them, they can invest proportionally less in relation to future gains. For small farmers, keeping up with technological innovations is difficult; and the consequence is loss of competitiveness, since their production cost is higher than that of large landowners. They often don’t make any profit. Given this situation, some farmers have two options: the first one is to lease neighboring lands to expand their crops, a common solution in settlement areas, as it allows for technology investments costs to be shared by many families. The second one is to sell plots of land, allowing for small farmers to buy larger areas in more distant regions, a practice adopted by small, medium and large farmers to expand their crops. Another solution is to set up cooperatives and other joint work mechanisms, such as buying a harvester to be used by a whole group of smaller farmers in the same region. Socio-environmental costs This scenario could be different if prices embedded the social and environmental damages caused by monoculture crops, which require a much larger amount of chemical products 16, affecting the soil, rivers, lakes and streams, small plantations and animal farms in surrounding areas and in local communities.

In large farms in the Cerrado and Amazon Forest regions, jobs average ten workers for each one thousand hectares, four of whom are permanent workers and six are temporary workers (WHITE, C., 2004). 16 In conventional systems, soybean crops are highly dependent on pesticides in all production phases, from seed treatment to harvest. The emergence of new diseases, such as the Asian rust disease or new insects such as the white fly, has increased farmers’ dependence on chemical inputs.
15

Brazil is naked! The advance of soybean monoculture, the grain that grew too much

“Several important rivers have disappeared, including waterways that are very important for cattle raising and for the survival of the families that lived along their banks. There are examples such as the Cedro River, which crosses the Santarém-Cuiabá road at km 130, which was the largest river in our region, and where the water volume has been reduced quantitatively and qualitatively in recent years, because the area where all the sources and springs lie is in the area of a large estate that has been used to plant soy. The river is completely dry; we now have 10 km of dry river bed, and we are monitoring the water that remains, but it is still a very low volume of water. It is no longer its original color; there used to be clear bluish water. Now it is clay colored and contains a lot of fermented products, especially twigs, leaves, bits of wood, because when the tractor drivers destroy the woods near rivers, they usually throw all the bits of the forest apart from the wood onto the river beds, completely burying the areas where they rise.” Edson Azevedo, from the Manancial Institute, Santarém (Pará) “The poison reaches us and affects our health when we work on the projects [on the soy farms]. Luzia and Antônio’s son, Arlindo, from Serra do Centro was poisoned in 2002. He swelled up all over. He was examined in Riachão/Maranhão, but the doctor didn’t release the results of the exam, it was necessary to go back and argue with the doctor to get the results. When he got them, he took them to Balsas/Maranhão. The doctor said it was poisoning. We spent a lot on medicines. At the same time that Arlindo was poisoned, Aleixo’s young son died and he was swollen all over. So did Zé Boiote, a man with a family. At this time [2002], a lot of people living and working in Serra [do Centro] showed signs of poisoning [swelling] and they were treated away from Campos Lindos.” Squatter from the São Francisco Community, Campos Lindos (Tocantins) Public policies: society as a whole bears the costs Despite the negative impacts, strong public support is available through different mechanisms, including government investments in infrastructure, such as roads, and fiscal exemptions such as the Kandir Law (LC n. 87/1996), which exempts exporters of commodities and semi-processed products from the Tax on Industrialized Products (IPI, a federal tax) and from the Value-Added Tax (ICMS, a state-level tax). The problem is that this law ensures the transfer of money from the federal government to the states as a means to compensate them for losses. In the end, the tax revenue of the states is affected. Brazilian society as a whole bears the cost of the Kandir Law twice: when the government does not collect certain taxes; and when the Federal Government covers the damages of states. Not to mention losses derived from the non-processing of the product, considering that after the Law was passed, in 1996, Brazil began to export more grain17 than bran, a situation that has not changed so far. Another initiative of the federal government led to the introduction of soybeans in the Cerrado region. The Japan-Brazil Cooperation Program for the Agricultural Development of the Cerrado Region (Prodecer), signed between the then military government of Brazil and Japan and implemented between 1970 and 2001 (in its different phases), was mainly designed to support soybean growing. The incentive took the form of financings granted to Brazil by the Japanese International Cooperation Agency (Jica), and also by private banks of Japan. In 2005, one ton of grains sold for US$ 238 in the international market, while crude oil sold for US$ 462. However, oil accounted for less than 7% of all exports of the Brazilian soybean complex.
17

Brazil is naked! The advance of soybean monoculture, the grain that grew too much

Commodities and semi-processed products Products with a minor degree of industrialization, such as the soy grain, bran and oil. Prodecer was actually a Japanese strategy to reduce Japan’s dependence on food products from the United States. However, Brazil will be paying loans granted by Japan under the program until 2014. It is, therefore, a small percentage of the Brazilian foreign debt. Japan, in turn, achieved its objective of diversifying its supply sources, which contributed to ensuring price stability in that country and on the international market. This program was the basis for institutions such as the Embrapa (Agriculture/Livestock Research Corporation) to develop agricultural technologies for the Cerrado region, a biome threatened by extinction18 due to successive occupation policies, among which the introduction of cattle at the turn of the 19th-20th centuries. The domination of multinational companies Only four multinational companies dominate the grain market in the world: the US companies ADM, Cargill and Bunge, and the French company Dreyfus, which in Brazil is called Coinbra. These four companies traded about 60% of all Brazilian soy grain, oil and bran exports in 2005, apart from crushing 60% of all grains sold in the domestic market. These companies also produce or supply seeds, agricultural machines, fertilizers, etc. Their own banks finance the purchase of many of these products, and profit once again. The main Brazilian companies that are active in the soybean market are the Ammagi company, owned by the family of Blairo Maggi, governor of Mato Grosso, and the Caramuru company. In general terms, these companies operate in a similar way: they supply seeds, machinery, fertilizers, etc. to farmers, in exchange for the guarantee that they will be the ones that will trade the future harvest. For small farmers, this trade relationship developed into a perverse cycle of dependence, mainly because they find it difficult to keep up with the advance of new technologies. Trading companies enjoy yet another advantage: that of not suffering the economic impact of losing a harvest for climatic reasons or due to the onset of a new plague, for example. Small farmers are the ones that are most affected; they have to pay these companies even when they lose a harvest, while the companies can buy the product in other parts of the world, where there was a good harvest.

Of the original 204 million hectares of the Brazilian Cerrado region, 57% have been completely destroyed already and half of the remaining areas have suffered significant changes. However, deforestation continues at a rate of 1.5% a year, according to the NGO Conservation International Brazil.
18

Brazil is naked! The advance of soybean monoculture, the grain that grew too much

For a Brazil with less soy
A discussion addressing the model adopted for raising animals for human consumption
The main problems caused by soybeans in Brazil are the social, environmental and economic impacts of its fast expansion under a monoculture regime. Even in Brazil’s south region, where family agriculture prevails, the consequences are alarming. First, because various neighboring plots of land with only one type of crop reproduce, in practice, the damages caused by monoculture crops. Second, because there was a remarkable expansion in farms growing transgenic soybean, a species that requires increasing spraying of chemical products as each year goes by.19 This means that Brazil ignores the so-called “precaution principle,” according to which practices that cause still unknown risks should be limited. Transgenics fit this category. Glyphosate and aminomethylphosphonic acid (AMPA) are the main chemical products used in these crops, which are included in the Round-up, a product manufactured by Monsanto, the leading transnational company in the transgenic seed market. The Brazilian Government increased the glyphosate index allowed for soybeans 50-fold, even without knowing for sure what possible damages it can cause to human health and to the environment. Small farmers in the south region who opted for organic and agroecological models have been constantly reporting that their crops are being contaminated by transgenics. Agroecology, which doesn’t use any chemical products, is based on a diversity of crops in the same area. Its benefits can be seen in experiences carried out throughout Brazil, including in the semi-arid region in the northeast, where many families opted for this production model and are reaping the fruits of a better quality of life. This is the ideal model, because it respects the environment; however, it cannot be defended as a solution for soybeans. The volume of soybeans produced today is environmentally unsustainable. It is therefore impossible to replace all crops being grown right now with the agroecological model. The focus of the reflection should be on demand for soybeans in the world, including a debate on the model being used for raising animals in confinement20. To be slaughtered in the shortest time possible, they underwent genetic changes and must be given antibiotics as a means to prevent diseases. This has to be done because any overpopulation of animals in a confined environment favors the easy and rapid dissemination of any disease. This is the quality of the meat that most consumers in the world have at their table. Organic model

According to Greenpeace, an assessment carried out in the first nine years of transgenic crops in the United States shows that, in the first three years, the amount of pesticides used in agriculture in that country decreased. However, from the sixth year onward, the amount of pesticides used in transgenic crops increased at an alarming rate. This was mainly due to the onset of “superplagues.” 20 In Europe, 20 - 25 chickens are raised by square meter and in Brazil the numbers are 15 - 17. New laws passed by the European Union to ensure the well-being of animals were designed to reduce this overpopulation.
19

Brazil is naked! The advance of soybean monoculture, the grain that grew too much

Also free from chemical products; but its difference in relation to the agroecological model is that it allows for a single crop to be grown, provided that it is interspersed with natural vegetation. Agroecological model Requires a diversity of crops in the same farm and the preservation of part of the natural vegetation. Apart from this, a true development project for Brazil should not ensure privileges to large landowners and a handful of trading companies, most of which are multinational companies which appropriate Brazil’s natural resources, while thousands of people are forced to live in the outskirts of cities in search of work. It should promote socioeconomic inclusion for local populations and respect for the environment. For this purpose, public incentives to soybean monoculture should be banned and domestic policies should be focused on promoting family agriculture and agroecology on a priority basis. Domestic policies should foster: • feasible agricultural schemes in small and medium-sized farms, • a transition of part of conventional crops to the agroecological model, • land reform, • crop diversification, • preservation of the biodiversity and of the country’s natural resources, • research and development of new technologies capable of ensuring the feasibility of mechanizing small farms, • incentives to associativism and rural cooperatives, • measures to keep families in rural areas. These policies constitute the basis of a sustainable development model for the country. These are the seeds that can truly enable Brazil to ensure social and economic equality and environmental preservation. The soybean production chain Soybeans occupy almost half of the area planted with grains in Brazil. Although large landownership is the production modality that has been growing most, many family farmers were attracted to this market. 1. Family farmers are caught in the so-called “dependence cycle”: they receive raw material (seeds, agrochemical products, equipment) that they need to grow their crops from large trading companies. 2. Their harvest is sold to these companies, which discount the value of the raw material that they gave to the family farmers from the price they pay them. 3. Over half of the harvest is exported, mostly in grain form, that is, without any added value. 4. Of the total soybean production, about 38% are turned into bran right here in Brazil. But this grain crushing process yields 80% of bran and 20% of crude oil. 5. From crude soybean oil, industries manufacture hydrogenated fat, margarine, breads and chocolates, paints, cosmetics, pharmaceutical and medicinal products.

Brazil is naked! The advance of soybean monoculture, the grain that grew too much

6. Almost all the soybean bran produced in Brazil and in the world is used to feed animals such as chickens, cattle, pigs and shrimp in captivity.

Brazil is naked! The advance of soybean monoculture, the grain that grew too much

Bibliographic References
ABREU, S. Planejamento governamental: a Sudeco no espaço mato-grossense – contexto, propósitos e contradições. São Paulo. Thesis (Doctor’s degree in Geography), Philosophy, Literature and Human Sciences School of the University of São Paulo (USP), 2001. ALVES Jr., G. O planejamento governamental e seus reflexos na estrutura fundiária de Mato Grosso, in Caminhos de Geografia, 4(9)17-30, June 2003. http://www.ig.ufu.br/revista/ volume09/ar tigo02_vol09.pdf BERTI, M. Balanço de uso e aplicação de fertilizantes e agroquímicos em duas sub-bacias do município de Sorriso/MT. Master’s degree thesis in Engineering. Rio de Janeiro. UFRJ, 2001. BORTOCELLO, O.; DIAS, E. Resgate Histórico do Município de Sorriso. Cuiabá, 2003. BRUM, A. Economia da soja: história e futuro – Uma visão desde o Rio Grande do Sul. http:// www.agromil.com.br/econosoja.html, 2005. CASTILHO, M. Relatório Ambiental. Terra Indígena Kanela/Buriti Velho. Administrative Ruling n. 1449 of 11/01/2004 Funai-Unesco, 2005. National Food Supply Company (CONAB). Indicadores da agropecuária. Brasília, April 2006. Year XV, n. 04. National Food Supply Company (CONAB). Indicadores da agropecuária. Brasília, July 2006. Year XV, Eighth Survey. CPT. Conflitos no Campo Brasil 2006. GUIMARÃES NETO, R. B. A lenda do ouro verde. Cuiabá: Entrelinhas publishing house, 2003. _____, R. B. Vira mundo, vira mundo: trajetórias nômades. Projeto História. São Paulo, 2003. GREENPEACE. Eating up the Amazon. 2006. http://www.greenpeace.org/international/press/reports/eating-up-the-amazon IANNI, O. Ditadura e agricultura. O desenvolvimento do capitalismo na Amazônia: 1964 a 1978. Rio de Janeiro. Civilização Brasileira publishing house, 1979. JR., J. “Terra sem povo”, crime sem castigo. Pouco ou nada sabemos de concreto sobre a Amazônia, in Amazônia revelada: os descaminhos ao longo da BR-163. Brasília. CNPq, 2005. LEROY, J-P. Uma chama na Amazônia. Rio de Janeiro. Vozes and FASE, 1991. MAYOZER, M. Desigualdades agrícolas e alimentares no mundo: causas e conseqüências. Lecture delivered at the Economic Sciences School of the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul– Porto Alegre/ state of Rio Grande do Sul, during an event organized by the university’s Graduate Program

Brazil is naked! The advance of soybean monoculture, the grain that grew too much

in Rural Development (PGDR/UFRGS) and promoted by PGDR and the Center for Land Studies and Rural Development (NEAD/MDA). July 2003. MB Associados, 2004. O sucesso da agroindústria: o que se pode aprender? São Paulo. FIESP, June 2004. MINTZ, S. Comida e antropologia: uma breve revisão. Revista Brasileira de Ciências Sociais, Oct. 2001, vol.16, n° 47. OLIVEIRA, A. BR-163, Cuiabá-Santarém: geopolítica, grilagem, violência e mundialização, in Amazônia revelada: os descaminhos ao longo da BR-163. Brasília. CNPq, 2005. PEREIRA, S. A evolução do complexo soja e a questão da transgenia. Rio de Janeiro, Revista de Política Agrícola, Apr/May/Jun 2004. SACHS, I. Redescoberta e invenção do Brasil rural. http://www.cndrs.org.br/documentos/ texto_sachs_capitulo_iii.doc SCHLESINGER, S. O grão que cresceu demais. Rio de Janeiro. FASE, 2006. SENRA, K. Kaiabis, 1999. http://pegue.com/indio/kaiabi.htm SHIKI, S. O futuro do Cerrado: degradação versus sustentabilidade e controle social. FASE, 2000. SIQUEIRA, E. M. História de Mato Grosso: da ancestralidade aos dias atuais. Cuiabá: Entrelinhas publishing house, 2002. TORRES, M. Fronteira, um eco sem fim. Considerações sobre a ausência do Estado e exclusão social nos municípios paraenses do eixo da BR-163, in Amazônia revelada: os descaminhos ao longo da BR-163. Brasília. CNPq, 2005. WHITE, C. et al. Soy Expansion in the Brazilian Amazon Region: a local and global social and environmental dilemma. http:// www.ambafrance.org.br/refeb/projets USDA. Oilseeds: World Markets and Trade. February 2006.

Brazil is naked! The advance of soybean monoculture, the grain that grew too much

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Brazil is naked! The advance of soybean monoculture, the grain that grew too much

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Brazil is naked! The advance of soybean monoculture, the grain that grew too much

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