The environmental issue, agrarian development and NASA: Brazilian agriculture seen from space

Rural economic activities in Brazil are highly stigmatized. Our economic history, marked by the sense of colonization, was built as an exporter of raw materials based on slave labor. As a colony of Portugal and then as the periphery of England and the United States, our ruling class was forged in the countryside, as a slave owner, and later as colonelist landowners. Violence and misery are constitutive features of this agrarian-export economy.

It is no coincidence, therefore, that the struggle for land reform is so dear to Brazilian workers, culminating in several important social movements, notably the MST, the Landless Rural Workers' Movement, and CONTAG, the National Confederation of Agricultural Workers . This struggle is marked by the violence of the ruling class, which has always, even in democratic periods, assassinated leaders like Chico Mendes.

In addition, there is question environmental . As it is the country whose territory has the largest part of the Amazon forest, the greatest biodiversity, and in its subsoil lies the largest water reserve in the world, Brazil is a subject of great international interest. Nongovernmental Organizations (NGOs) are active in denouncing environmental problems in Brazil. In the decade of 1990, the American government spoke of treating the Amazon as a territory of international management to protect it.

Thus, the advance of agriculture in sensitive regions, such as the Amazon, is fought internally and externally as socially and environmentally harmful. Public policies and credits directed at export production sectors, and even food for domestic consumption, are treated as undue benefits for a segment that destroys the environment. There are strong pressures to create laws that illegally thwart thousands of farmers and ranchers, large or small, and to restrict public money development these sectors.

Given this scenario, we must try to see nuances, specificities and contradictions in the Brazilian countryside. Evidently the conflict over land in Brazil still persists, violence reaches the poorest populations, indigenous lands are the subject of dispute, and there is also a depredation of the environment. However, the hegemonic discourse imposed on Brazilian agriculture is very unilateral and sometimes false.

In a November study, NASA, the US space agency, points out that Brazil cultivates 7,6% of its land. EMBRAPA already calculated a slightly higher percentage; of 7,8%; in 2016. The big question is when you compare these numbers with the rest of the world.

On average, the world uses 20 to 30% of its territory to agriculture . USA 2%. European Union more than 45%. Germany stands at 56%. Brazil uses less than 8% ... How can we be one of the most powerful agriculture in the world, using far less land than other countries?

First of all, one must look historically at the role of agrarian capital in development Brazilian. It is true that slavery and exporting oligarchies are the original basis of the Brazilian, imperial or republican state. But it is also true that they were dissident oligarchies, allied to tenentism, who made the Revolution of 1930 and Brazilian industrialization. Not only was Getúlio Vargas a landowner, as the accumulated capital in the field was essential for boosting import substitution. The contradictions in the oligarchies express themselves very well in São Paulo, a state that lost power and fought Getulio to death, but whose coffee capital was crucial in the construction of infrastructures and the installation of factories.

In addition, we need to look at the role of agriculture in the Brazilian economy, which supplies most of the food consumed in Brazil. Despite controversial statistics about the real percentage of this participation, the fact is that family agriculture plays a fundamental role in the food security of Brazilians and even in the inflation rate because it occupies a central role in the basket of basic products consumed by the population. the sector that most employs in the field.

In this way, the contradiction between agribusiness and agriculture need to find a solution within national interests. It is necessary to deepen the agrarian reform and the defense of the small producers, but it is not possible to destroy the production of the export agribusiness that generates the international currencies that produce the commercial surplus of the accounts of Brazil with the foreigner, an economic fact that finances the imports, consumption and even public investment in Brazil. There is no doubt that it is necessary to mediate conflicts better, to combat the violence of the economic power of the latifundium, but within a strategy of a National Project that includes the large-scale agricultural export, and not in a fratricidal struggle managed by international interests.

The fact is that Brazil became an agrarian power, competing with the US and Europe, including in the production of rural technologies, although the sector was also hit by the deindustrialization of the last 30 years of neoliberalism, and Brazil became import many agricultural inputs and machines that it used to produce. The symbol of this is the state-owned one linked to the Ministry of Agriculture , EMBRAPA, the Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation, created in the years 1970, responsible for development of technologies, methods, techniques and information on Brazilian agriculture, but that today also faces problems of investment and strategy.

EMBRAPA, and also the Safra Plan that finances both agribusiness and agriculture even though in an unequal way, are the result of the strategic performance of the Brazilian State in a sector of high competitiveness and Brazilian advantage in the international scenario, and crucial for feeding its own population.

In this way, the environmental discourse against agriculture is much more functional to foreign interests than to national ones. Obviously, it is necessary to supervise and protect the environment, but this struggle does not take place in the field of the noble interests of preservation environmental , but in the field of geopolitics marked by the center-periphery system. In such a dispute, the center finances private entities to denounce environmental problems on the periphery without looking at the devastation of their own territories, and uses its political power in multilateral organizations such as the WTO, World Trade Organization, to counter development agrarian reform of the underdeveloped countries, in an open spectacle of hypocrisy in the face of public subsidies to their agricultural productions.

Mas assim como Iuri Gagarin viu que a Terra era azul do espaço sideral, os americanos com seu poder financeiro e tecnológico inigualável, cujo símbolo máximo foi a viagem à Lua, também viram quem devasta mais seus territórios e suas vegetações nativas, e não eram os seus rivais subdesenvolvidos no mercado agropecuário internacional, estigmatizados de destruidores do meio ambiente.
 
Fontes:
Embrapa
MDA
Carta Capital
Cata Capital
 

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