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BRAZIL
Women fight for healthy farming
3/9/2011
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Thousands of women farmers protest against toxic agro-chemicals.

Thousands of women marched in late February and early March across Brazil´s 10 biggest states to protest the use of toxic agro-chemicals that cause health and environmental damage.

More than 10,000 women participated in the protests, called by the Landless Rural Workers´ Movement and the international agrarian organization Vía Campesina.

“Our fight is to defend land reform, farming ecology, the production of healthy food,” said Ana Hanauer, of the Landless Rural Workers´ Movement.

The women marched in the states of Bahia, Ceara, Espirito Santo, Fortaleza, Minas Gerais, Pernambuco, Rio de Janeiro, Rio Grande do Sul, São Paulo and Sergipe, under the slogan “Women against Agri-Business and Agro-Toxins´Violence: For Land Reform and Food Sovereignty” as part of the celebrations for International Women´s Day, on March 8.

“We are mobilizing to shed light on the problems caused by the farming industry,” said Hanauer. “One is the indiscriminate use of farming chemicals. The poisons market is a problem for our sovereignty, for our health and the environment.”

Since 2008, Brazil has been the world´s top consumer of farming chemicals. According to the National Syndicate of Agro-Chemical Products Industry, an industry group, the country uses more than 1 billion liters of these chemicals a year.
The National Agency for Health Supervision, a government organization, says that 15 percent of the food consumed in Brazil contains levels of agro-chemicals that are dangerous to human health.

In an interview with website Viomundo published Feb. 20, Raquel Rigotto, a professor and researcher of community health at Ceara University, said that “in 2008, more than half of the farming chemicals consumed in Brazil were on soy plantations. That soy is largely exported for processing into animal feed and subsidize European and North American consumption of meat.”

“That doesn´t mean food for our people,” she said. “It means the concentration of land, the reduction of biodiversity, [increased] water contamination, poisoning of workers and the families that live near these plantations.”
—Latinamerica Press.


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