2018 - Ongoing
Wednesday, beginning of another hot afternoon in Mato Grosso, Brazilian central West. A bus full of children, including newborns, arrives at AACC (Association of friends of Children with Cancer) ambulatory in Cuiabá. These children came from rural areas and are victims of serious agribusiness consequences: the upsurge of illness related to the disordered growth of pesticides usage in the country’s plantation.
In the past 40 years, Brazilian agricultural production has developed in such a way that it is expected that the country will soon become the largest food supplier globally. In this scenario, the production of soy and corn stands out, in addition to livestock – especially cattle raising – all mainly directed to export. In Brazil, about 75.4 million hectares of land are cultivated by crops – an area equivalent to the whole of Turkey – but limited to large companies by policies that favor them. In other words, access to land is not a guarantee of decent life for small farmers.
It is possible to observe the imbalance in this equation when we think about the real impact of this production model on the development of the Brazilian social tissue – increasingly more impacting worldwide. While for large agribusiness entrepreneurs everything is more flexible from a legal point of view, the financial resource offered by the government to small farmers includes a package of measures that encourages the purchase of transgenic seeds, the implantation of monoculture and the use of pesticides. In addition, small agricultural communities suffer from lack of infrastructure, not having adequate roads to outflow the production and access to medical care and education.
Brazil is experiencing its worst environmental crisis: it is a historic cycle of fire, deforestation, illegal land occupation and amnesty, based on the certainty of impunity. Agribusiness is based on foundations that do not strengthen a national sovereignty project. This unbalanced system culminates in the contamination of the main water sources, biodiversity’s destruction, rampant deforestation and voracious fires, as we have seen in the Amazon rainforest and Pantanal region.
The President Jair Bolsonaro, publicly assumed his commitment to the rural caucus: “This government is yours”, he said. This project seeks to document how this economic, political and social scheme impacts the environment it composes and its implications for the ecosystem, such as climate change.
We believe that the best way to approach such a complex theme is to focus on individual stories, showing the direct impact on human life. We intend to generate an empathetic nature that directs the viewer to a mindset change. We are in an advanced research stage and we already have access to traditional and indigenous communities, slaughterhouses, small and large farms, agroforestry plantations’ stories that show a little of the reality behind this industry. Due to the informative nature of the project, we are going to create a multimedia platform and update it unceasingly, besides lectures and workshops focused on spreading the project’s message. We believe that PHmuseum Women Photographers Grant contribution will be crucial for this project embodiment, especially for its urgent nature.
* This project it’ part of a team effort
Luisa Dörr and Carine Wallauer