Brazil, deforestation is compounded by pesticide carnage. Unsustainable EU-Mercosur Agreement

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Brazil led by Jair Bolsonaro a.k.a. Black – Nero, for the record level of deforestation caused by an incendiary policy – will also go down in history for the pesticide carnage.

Investigations conducted as part of the Campanha Permanente Contra os Agrotóxicos e Pela Vida show the extent of havoc that is added to the land robberies against indigenous communities (1,2,3).

EU member states meanwhile rush to ratify the toxic EU-Mercosur treaty. (4) With the sole exception of France, which withdrew its membership in February 2021. (5)

Bolsonaro, necropolitics

A special parliamentary committee is now launching the investigation into Jair Bolsonaro’s responsibility for the pandemic disaster, which has recorded 360,000 deaths and 14 million infections in Brazil, according to official underestimates.

‘While thousands of workers suffer the ills of contamination, we are afflicted by necropolitics’ (Juliana Acosta, Fernando Carneiro)

‘Freedom is worth even more than life,’ Black claimed in his address to the nation last week. (6) While the shortage of sedatives forces health care providers to physically immobilize patients in the ICU.

Necropolitics and agrotoxics, water and food

Jair Bolsonaro’s necropolitics is also expressed on the environmental and agribusiness legislation front. In just two years, Brazil has unreservedly accepted the registration of 1,059 agrochemicals. (7) One third of which, it should be noted, is banned in the European Union because of serious health and environmental hazards.

Brazil’s Ministry of Health and its regulatory agency ANVISA(Agência Nacional de Vigilância Sanitária) highlight alarming levels of water and food contamination:

– waters in a quarter of Brazilian municipalities reveal the presence of cocktails of 27 pesticides,

– 51 percent of foods under public monitoring contain pesticide residues,

– acute pesticide poisonings, between 2010 and 2020, killed 1,987 people according to official data as partial as formal work. Neglecting, ça va sans dir, the chronic diseases resulting from the use of these poisons.

75% primary forests, fire order

Brazil’s national congress and federal government are dominated by large agricultural commodity producers, who have been able to attract colossal investments from global corporations (Cargill, Bunge, Archer Daniels Midland, etc.). GMO soybeans, corn, palm oil, beef, hides and timber also destined for Made in Italy and its PDOs (8.9).

The Bolsonaro government’s progress advertisement– with rhetoric worthy of the man who dragged Italy into the abomination of racial law, as well as into war – incites Brazilian citizens to exploit natural resources ‘respecting 25 percent of the forests.’ That is, devastating 75% of Amazonia, Cerrado and other green lungs.

Agrotoxics, policy at the crossroads

A globalleader in the consumption of pesticides and other agrotoxics, Brazil now faces the crossroads of whether to maintain its poison primacy or reposition its production model. Two antithetical bills await a plenary vote in the Federal House:

the Poisons Package(Pacote do Veneno, PL 6,299/2002), aimed at making the already very weak pesticide regulatory framework in Brazil even more flexible,

the National Policy for Pesticide Reduction – PNARA(Política Nacional de Redução de Agrotóxicos, PL 6.670/2016), opens instead the hope of transforming Brazil into the largest producer of healthy food in the world, while protecting its people and biodiversity.

Deforestation and poisons, information and struggle

ABRASCO(Associação Brasileira de Saúde Coletiva), ABA(Associação Brasileira de Agroecologia) and the Permanent Campaign Against Pesticides and for Life(Campanha Permanente Contra os Agrotóxicos e pela Vida) are about to publish an in-depth investigative dossier on the ongoing socio-environmental disaster.

‘Is a dream worth a life? I don’t know. But I have learned from the little life I have lived, death does not dream. We must cry out: for agriculture without poisons, with social justice and generating health’ (Pedro Tierra, poet).

The fight against deforestation and poisons in the planet’s green lungs must come from ourselves through our purchasing choices as well as our voting choices. In the face of European and national policy that is always subservient to the interests of corporations, we can only insist on the exclusive purchase of products that come from organic, ethical and fair supply chains. 100% short supply chain, including feed, all our lives. Fair trade on what comes from far away.

For further reflection, we invite the reading of our ebookCovid-19, the ABCs, Volume III – Planet’.

Dario Dongo

Notes

(1) Fernando Ferreira Carneiro, Juliana Acosta Santorum. Governo Bolsonaro tem recorde de mortes e de agrotóxicos. Campanha Permanente Contra os Agrotóxicos e Pela Vida. 4/20/21, https://contraosagrotoxicos.org/tag/anvisa/

(2) Notes on the authors:
– Fernando Ferreira Carneiro is a Fiocruz researcher and a member of the Health and Environment Thematic Group of the Brazilian Association of Collective Health (Grupo Temático Saúde e Ambiente da Associação Brasile Brasileira de Saúde Coletiva), ABRASCO, and the Permanent Campaign Against Agrotoxics and for Life (Campanha Permanente Contra os Agrotóxicos e Pela Vida)
– Juliana Acosta Santorum is a member of the Permanent Campaign Against Agrotoxics and for Life

(3) Dario Dongo, Giulia Torre. Indigenous blood at dinner? #Buycott. Égalité. 10/24/19, https://www.egalite.org/sangue-indigeno-a-cena-buycott/

(4) Dario Dongo. EU – Mercosur, toxic agreement on trade. GIFT (Great Italian Food Trade). 7/14/19, https://www.greatitalianfoodtrade.it/mercati/ue-mercosur-accordo-tossico-sul-commercio

(5) Dario Dongo. Unsustainable deforestation and commodity imports. Public consultation on the EU strategy. GIFT (Great Italian Food Trade). 4.4.21, https://www.greatitalianfoodtrade.it/progresso/deforestazioni-e-import-di-commodities-insostenibili-consultazione-pubblica-sulla-strategia-ue

(6) Jair Bolsonaro, speech 7.4.21 to the nation. Video with Italian subtitles at https://fb.watch/4_LSn9eI23/

(7) Dario Dongo. Brazil, pesticide cataclysm. #Buycott GMO soy and palm oil. Égalité. 10.8.19, https://www.egalite.org/brasile-cataclisma-pesticidi-buycott-soia-ogm-e-palma/

(8) Dario Dongo. Deforestation Made in Italy, Buycott! GIFT(Great Italian Food Trade). 10/23/19, https://www.greatitalianfoodtrade.it/consum-attori/deforestazione-made-in-italy-buycott

(9) Dario Dongo. The crimes of the Amazon in our PDOs. GIFT(Great Italian Food Trade). 7/15/19, https://www.greatitalianfoodtrade.it/consum-attori/i-crimini-dell-amazzonia-nelle-nostre-dop

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Dario Dongo, lawyer and journalist, PhD in international food law, founder of WIISE (FARE - GIFT - Food Times) and Égalité.