Life of a chicken farm during the Covid-19 pandemic in Brazil

Alinne Rezende

2020 - Ongoing

March 22nd, 2020, the lockdown started in São Paulo, Brazil due to the Covid-19. After more than a year of the Coronavirus pandemic, Brazil hits its worst and darkest moment. On April 6th, 2021, 4195 people die due to Covid-19 in a period of 24 hours. A total of 13,100,580 cases registered in the country whereof those, 336,947 died (numbers until April 6th, 2021). The health system is collapsing, working almost at its full capacity, the intense care unities occupations are higher than 90% in almost every state in the country.

To top that, unfortunately, Covid-19 and its new mutations are not the only problems Brazilians have to face nowadays. After all this time, the pandemic also begins to collapse in other sectors besides health - a domino effect. The lockdown impacts agriculture and those who depend on it to survive, for instance. The small farm producers, on the other hand, are not included in the Government financial aid. The prices for the raw supplies are increasing monthly, and many small farm producers are struggling to keep their business running. Because the prices are going sky-high, food is getting more expensive, even just for the basics. Major of its citizens are unemployed or facing serious financial problems, some are already starving without food or eating only a meal per day.

Marco Antonio, 65, a retired engineer, nowadays works as a rural producer. In the last years, he owns and works in his production of free-range eggs in a small countryside city called Araçoiaba da Serra in Brazil. Although the routine in the hens continuous, the pandemic of Covid-19 makes the routine harder on the farm producer, especially on the small ones, like Marco, who needs to take extra care of themselves, be sure the lockdown doesn't affect the animal's routine either their supplies, and do all the extra procedures with less help.

The rising prices is one of the biggest concerns of Marco, who saw his incoming decreasing due to the option to not pass the full rise to his customers.

Marco takes care of the hens, does their food, prepares the eggs for the sales, there is a lot of heavy work. Tiredness sometimes is easy to be noticed. The work starts very early in the morning, somedays goes beyond nighttime. But the joy of the daily life in nature with his "girls", as he affectionately refers to his chickens, seems to give him an extra strength to keep going on, even in times like this, where the future looks so uncertain.

After one year of all the struggles the quarantine life brought upon the producers, it is a huge challenge to keep the business running. And with no perspective of when the situation is getting better in Brazil, Marco is one of the luckiest Brazilian, with his vegetable garden and smaller wage, he is surviving better than many of his compatriots.

This essay brings to light the reality of a chicken farm during the pandemic of Covid-19 and its struggles. In times of crisis, the small producers are essential to their surroundings, supplying the local necessities. Such a crucial theme and an essential service for all of us, this project is an opportunity for society and public figures to acknowledge the real impact of the virus in other sectors, such as agriculture, and start to look for some way out.

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