This Thursday, May 27, the English version of the Dossier Agribusiness’ Global Trail of Fire: land grabbing, deforestation and forest fires in Brazil’s Amazon, Cerrado and Pantanal, will be released at https://agroefogo.org.br/. The Coalition AGRO é FOGO, responsible for the publication, involves about 30 social movements and organizations in Brazil.
The platform draws together analyses and denunciations on the environmental devastation and land conflicts caused by the criminal use of fire along the agribusiness chain, highlighting intrinsic relations among environmental, agrarian and land issues in Brazil. As Brazil is one of the most important global exporters of agricultural commodities, agribusiness’ trail of fire in the Amazon, Cerrado and Pantanal is intrinsically related to the global demand for soy and animal protein. As a result, more and more people are mobilizing against the destruction of the forest and native vegetation, criticizing the unsustainability of an economic model based on commodities that dominate the globalized agrifood system, as well as the accountability of the transnational corporations that control this system.
The Dossier exposes the profound relationship between forest fires, deforestation and land grabbing in the Amazon, Cerrado and Pantanal. Based on analysis, data and concrete conflict cases, it demonstrates that deforestation is concentrated on public land, many of which traditionally occupied, precisely because clear-cutting is an instrument for the expulsion of indigenous peoples and traditional communities and consolidation of land grabbing, in step with the expansion of the agricultural frontier. Therefore, it is not possible to analyze the environmental issue separately from the agrarian and land tenure issue in Brazil.
Agribusiness, which in Brazil is said to be technological and modern, has expanded in volume of production over the last few decades much more due to the expansion of the agricultural frontier other than the increase in productivity. Thus, it is correct to say that agribusiness has always depended on the invasion of public lands (which occurs through what is most archaic on the frontier: the organized crime of land grabbing and illegal logging, with intensive use of slave labor and gross fraud). Despite this, a relationship of extreme dependence with the state is maintained, which, within this logic, must always be at the service of agribusiness.
The publication also shows how this chain of relationships is increasingly diffuse and financialized, which can obscure shared responsibilities. Such is the case of international Pension Funds (mainly from the USA) investing in grabbed land in Brazil in agricultural frontier expansion areas, such as in the Cerrado of Matopiba,
Territorial conflicts in the global trail of fire of the expansion of the agricultural frontier is another important core element of the Dossier. The platform shows how fire has historically been used as an instrument of territorial control, a real weapon against peoples and communities, seeking to expel them from their traditionally occupied lands.
One example is the Kadiwéu Indigenous Land, located in Mato Grosso do Sul, where about 2 thousand indigenous people live. The place had already been one of the most affected in the country in 2019, and in 2020, it experienced an even more critical situation: there were 5,311 fire outbreaks that burned more than 211 thousand hectares, equivalent to 39.15% of the territory.
“These are entire tracts of forest, plants, roots and trees, our medicine, many of our people’s cultural sources disappear along with this nature, not to mention the animals, many of which I don’t even think exist anymore”, denounces the indigenous leader Gilberto Kadiwéu.
As the dry season approaches in 2021, we can face a new season of devastating fires, especially in face of a federal government that supports the land grabbers while dismantling the environmental agencies in Brazil. It also weighs on the Ministry of the Environment and bodies such as Ibama, investigations on illegal logging exports to the USA and Europe. The targets of the Federal Police operation are precisely those that should combat such criminal practice.
Who we are
The Brazilian Coalition AGRO é FOGO is made up of 30 social movements and organizations that have worked for decades to defend the Amazon, Cerrado, and Pantanal regions, and the rights of their peoples and communities. It emerged as a network to coordinate reactions to the forest fires that ravaged Brazil in the last two years.
We are moved not only by the need to heighten the quality of public debate, but above all to share more than satellite images and deforestation statistics, bringing out the dimension of people’s experiences on the ground of the forest and backlands.
The Dossier is available at: https://agroefogo.org.br/
Date: This Thursday, May 27
More information – E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org / Contacts: Amanda Costa +55 62 62 9309-6781 / +55 62 99638-8307 (Mário Manzi) / +55 62 99113-8277 (Elvis Marques)