Ecological agriculture: a healthy system that’s good for people and the forest


Raimundo Nonato, chief Puraka of the Paxiúba village, reveals Agroforestry Manufacturing Inside the Caititu Indigenous Land. © Nilmar Lage / Greenpeace

Raimundo Nonato de Ostayira is Chief Puraka. The identify, of Tupi origin, comes from An electrical fish strong enough to kill a horse. Regardmuch less of his identify, Puraka is A relaxed and sluggish-spoken man. Chief of Definitely one of many 28 villages Inside the Caititu Indigenous Land, in Lábrea, the south of Amazonas state, he and his people worth What’s important And might’t think about dwelling anywright here else. “We really feel good As quickly as we’re like this. We really feel good As quickly as we’re in nature.”

Nestled In the midst of the forest, Lábrea is the final sprime on the Trans-Amazon Highmethod, an unfinished enterprise from the army regime interval. The thought was To assemble a community of farming villages, pave the road, And convey enchancmalest to the area. The enterprise was deserted Inside the mid-Nineteen Seventies, however not earlier than tearing by way of almost 4,000 km of forest. With the motto “a land with out males for males with out land,” The federal authorities-inspired migration launched a mass Of people from completely different parts of the relyry to the area. The promise of A greater life, by no meansthemuch less, by no means acquired here to fruition, leaving the inhabitants with out enchancmalest alternatives and growing the violence in rural spaces. So the peace loved by the Puraka and The completely different 4,800 indigenous Apurinãs is beneath fixed malesace. 

The southern Amazon is presently the area most affected by deforestation and hearths. The world is focused by an financial system of destruction that preys on nature. First, they reduce down the noblest timber to promote. Then they reduce down the reprimarying vegetation, Await it to dry, and set it on hearth. After the space has been “cleaned,” they transfer cattle in. They will start planting grain or promote the areAs a Outcome of They’ve illegally occupied to completely different farmers in A pair of yrs. It’s an finishmuch less cycle. The extra the market calls for, the extra versatile the legal guidelines are made, fewer inspections happen, and extra forest is reduce down. The gear retains turning full steam forward. Puraka and his people don’t act that method. They farm using an agroforestry methods method, Utilized by Native Peoples for millennia. This method works in stability with the forest and helps To revive the soil and biovariety of earlier thanhand degraded spaces, Collectively with producing meals. The production yields Greater than they want and, thus, they handle to promote The surplus in Lábrea and even to The metropolis hall.

Smoke from the hearths Inside the Amazon cowl the sky. September 2021 © Victor Moriyama / Greenpeace

New Occasions

However it hasn’t On A daily basis been This method. Till currently, the Apurinã People made their dwelling primarily by course ofing cassava and sugar cane. Through the yrs, the contact with non-Indigenous People has triggered them to lose An elemalest of their traditions, which have now been revived with the reintroduction of the agroforestry system. “We now have virtually 15,000 crops saving our land, our current air. It has been The biggest satisfaction of my life,” said Puraka.

Magno de Lima dos Santos, an indigenist with Operação Amazônia Nativa (OPAN) says thOn the reintroduction of agroforestry has improved The regular of meals the Apurinã people eat. “It means bringing variety, defending tradition. Not too Way again, the production system right here was restricted to single-crop fields And a few small pineapple timber. Maybe potatoes right here and tright here. So we have been In a place to revive a extra distant previous And convey this mannequin To The current.“ 

The meals has acquiredten greater, However the tranquility On the Caititu Indigenous Land Continues to be In hazard. Puraka and his Individuals Aren’t stored properly-educated on political selections, However they endure their penalties. Although it was The primary land to be demarcated Inside the area in 1991, the malesaces on their territory have by no means sprimeped. The world is Shut to Lábrea’s metropolis limits and Inside the neighborhood of agritradition advancing from Rondônia to southern Amazonas.

Cashews being purchased On the Farmer’s Market in Lábrea, Amazon © Nilmar Lage / Greenpeace

A enterprise to create an agrienterprise hub in southern Amazonas, which The agricultural caucus in Congress started designing in 2019 and was supported by the Bolsonaro administration, has Discover your self to be A mannequin new frontier for deforestation, land grabbing, and land conflicts Inside the Amazon.

Puraka fears for his people. “Tright here’s A man right here in Lábrea who says that That is all his. He said that Finally he’ll take All of it (…) and with every thing that is occurring, Tright here’s An alternative Which May very properly happen sometime.”  Other Indigenous People, Simply like the Tenharim, face The identical drawback. “Our territories are malesaceened by invaders. We’re surrounded by farms, and our territory has standing forests. As a Outcome of of our territory, the forests are useful. Tright here’s wealth tright here, whether or not from pure resupplys or from our financial system,” said Antonio Enésio Tenharim, widespread coordinator of the Alto Madeira Indigenous Peoples Group (Organização dos Povos Indígenas do Alto Madeira – OPIAM).

The Indigenous People’s fear is properly-based. In 2020, deforestation Inside the Amazon was on The Most very important scale since 2008. This destruction course of isn’t impacting just the Amazon. The cycle of deforestation makes much less water evaporate from the forest into the clouds that head to the Southeast of South America, inflicting drought throughout the continent. Based mostly on The electrical Sector Monitoring Committee, from September 2020 to March this yr, Brazil had The backside moist-season water inflow into reservoirs Inside the final 91 yrs. In the relyryside of São Paulo, 14 cities face water rationing measures. 

The devastation For mannequin spanking new previousures And huge plantations worsens this state of affairs. The United Nations (UN) estimates that agrienterprise eats 70% of the planet’s currentwater. However, the agroecological system protects the vegetation and permits the soil To Wind up to be a reservoir itself. “We now have been watching how society has been affected by the water disaster. By clearing forests, we are contrihowevering to extra frequent extreme climate occasions,” said Cristiane Mazzetti, spokesperson for Greenpeace’s Amazon Advertising campaign.

Aerial View of a Burned Area in Humaitá, Amazonas © Nilmar Lage / Greenpeace

More Obstacles

The destruction-based enchancmalest that malesaceens Puraka and the Apurinãs May even be unbeneficial to low-income non-Indigenous People. The destruction economics has a extreme environmental value and concentcosts the wealth Inside the palms Of some. Pará, the state with greater costs of destruction of the Amazon, hAs a Outcome of the Twenty third worst Human Developmalest Index (HDI) of all 27 states Inside the relyry, in accordance to the Human Developmalest Atlas. 

In the Senate, a pfinishing invoice might worsen the state of affairs. Accredited by Brazil’s House of Recurrentatives, the textual content material makes The guidelines for legalizing invaded land extra versatile, which in apply encourages extra destruction. Furtherextra, the dialogue of the so-referred to as Marco Temporal Inside the Supreme Federal Courtroom malesaceens the propers of Indigenous Peoples to their territories.

If approved, these modifications might worsen HDI statistics Inside the North. However it didn’t Need to be that method.  “The Amazon has An unrestricted potential To current with the forest standing, by way of socio-biovariety product chains that protect the forest that – if properly structured – generate income and alternatives for native communities. But for these chains to be fostered, the forest Have to be protected, and territorial propers Have to be assured,” said Greenpeace’s spokesperson, Cristiane Mazzetti.

What are socio-biovariety chains? 

“The Amazonian biovariety production chains are labored by Indigenous Peoples or non-Indigenous extractivists, conventional Peoples withInside their territories using administration applys. Managing fishing applys, nuts, berries and rubber, are examples of this production,” said Magno.

OPAN has labored to consolidate production chains with the area’s peoples, together with managing pirarucu fishing with the Paumari People and Brazilian nuts On the Ituxi Extractive Reserve and the Caititu Indigenous territory.

Magno remembers The rise in pirarucu fish, Usually acknowledged As a Outcome of the Amazon cod. “The Paumari People’s (the area’s indigenous people) first pirarucu rely in 2009 recognized round 2 hundred and seventy-six fish. It confirmed that predatory fishing applys triggered extreme impacts on the environment. Their final recorded catch final yr was over seven thousand fish. This yr, IBAMA approved a six-hundred-and-fifteen-fish quota, about 30% of The complete Quantity of grownup fish.  So, You will Have The power to see thOn the fishing quota launched this yr is practinamey 200% Greater than The complete of the fish monitored Initially.”

Francimir Martins dos Santos works On the Ituxi Extractive Reserve in Lábrea (AM). He is Aware of thOn the rational use of the forest Is useful to native residents. “We started with a small group, and the group Is method huger right now. After managing good applys, we have been In a place to promote the nuts for Greater than double The worth. Our dream is to see the forest standing and the administration methods working To usher in a supply of income.”

Woman course of Murumuru, a plant with medicinal and beauty purposes, in Lábrea, Amazonas © Nilmar Lage / Greenpeace

The socio-biovariety chains and agroecological production are probably extra inclusive enterprise fashions than industrial agritradition. Household farming occupies Decrease than 1/4 of the land used for agritradition in Brazil right now, but, it produces A lot of the meals eatd in Brazil and recurrents 67% of jobs Inside the sector Inside the relyry, in accordance to The latest Brazilian Agricultural Census (2017).

However, solely 25% of the Brazilian Developmalest Financial institution’s (BNDES) Harvest Plan resupplys go to small producers, and solely 23% of nationwide production income goes to this group, which employs round 10 million people.  

Two important worldwide occasions, the Convention on Organic Diversity and the United Nations Local climate Convention, name on society To mirror on The presently chosen enchancmalest paths. “Exact options Simply like these applys from family farmers and forest Peoples Have to be fostered alongside The prime of deforestation,” said Cristiane. 

Puraka and his people Do not destroy the forest round them, and, like completely different Amazonian Peoples, They’ve realized a human want shared by all Peoples and traditions. “We really feel sick proper As quickly as we arrive in a capital metropolis because just doing that is out of our rhythm. We stay right here, wright here every thing is open air. Here is wright here we really feel good, You understand? Indigenous People really feel good This method.” Puraka is Aware of what he’s talking about.

Henrique Beirangê is a communications analyst for Greenpeace Brazil