Brazilian family farmers protest in front of many ministries 

The meeting called for pensions, end of pesticides use and environmental policies during the 24th Cry of the Land

Translated by: Ana Paula Rocha

Brasil de Fato | Brasília (Federal District) |
10,000 families joined the march on May 20 and 21st to demand effective rights from the federal government - Rafaela Ferreira

The march on the second day of the 24th Cry of the Land brought together people from all Brazilian regions on Tuesday (21st) to demand structured public policies from the federal government. During the march from Parque da Cidade to the Esplanade of Ministries, the rural producers took the topic of this year's event: “Family farming is healthy food and environmental conservation."

In addition to public policies, family farmers demand an increase in the budget and the resolution of emergency issues to improve the quality of life, work and supply of the sector and of all societies.

Organized by the National Confederation of Rural Workers and Family Farmers (Contag, in Portuguese), the Grito da Terra (Cry of the Land, in English) promoted actions on Monday and Tuesday (respectively, May 20 and 21st) to pressure the federal government and the National Congress to give concrete answers to the proposals presented.

Contag's Agricultural Policies Secretary, Vânia Marques, told Brasil de Fato that the demonstration was important in a country where family farming is the eighth largest food producer in the world, according to the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBGE, in Portuguese).

“We understand that we need to occupy Brasília [Brazil’s capital city] to reaffirm the need to strengthen family farming because we have the conditions to produce food for the entire Brazilian population,” she said.

Public demonstrations

Public protests were held in front of five ministries.

The Minister for Agrarian Development and Family Farming, Paulo Teixeira, attended the event to report on President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva's (Workers' Party) response to the negotiations on the agenda for the 24th Cry of the Land. According to the Confederation, 80% of the demands are with the ministry abovementioned.

Teixeira signed the agreement establishing the fourth type of purchase for family farming and spoke about policies already created, such as Terra da Gente (Our Land, in English) and the program that will grant rural development to 10,000 families.

Minister Paulo Teixeira joined the 24th Cry of the Land. Image: Rafaela Ferreira. 

For Contag’s president, Aristides Santos, although the proposals were positive, more was expected from the federal public administration. “We would have liked more announcements, but that was all we got. There are many important things underway." Santos said he hoped to see a more robust Safra Plan, one that takes family farmers into account.

During the public demonstration at the ministry, the protestors also called for the approval of Bill 1053/2020, which regulates the import and sale of pesticides. The aim is to decrease the consumption of pesticides and the like, as well as fund environmental recovery actions and other environmental and agroecological public policies.

The Minister of the General Secretariat of the Presidency of the Republic, Márcio Macêdo, also attended the event. “This Cry [of the Land] has already signaled several moments in our history. It has already been the pain of comrades who have fallen in the fight against large estates. This cry has already been one of resistance during difficult times in our country, such as when President Lula was unjustly arrested,” he said.

There was another public act in front of the Ministry of the Environment, where mitigation policies and the regulation of the National Policy Law on Payment for Environmental Services (PSA, in Portuguese) were demanded. “We are crying out for environmental justice, good living and biodiversity. Family farming means healthy food and environmental protection,” said one of Contag's coordinators.

An event was also held at the Ministry of Welfare, demanding improvements to the National Register of Social Information (CNIS, in Portuguese) of the welfare system.

For the president of the Rio Grande do Norte Federation, Erivan do Carmo, authorities must be sensitized to meet the demands of those who feed the country. “We can no longer afford to have a welfare system that needs to be further consolidated,” he said.

Public demonstrations in front of five Brazilian ministries, one of which is the Ministry of Agrarian Development. Image: Rafaela Ferreira.

National Congress

In April this year, the coordinators of the 24th Cry of the Land delivered the farmers’ demands to the presidents of the Senate, Rodrigo Pacheco (Social Democratic Party), and Chamber of Deputies, Arthur Lira (Progressive Party).

Attending the march, federal deputy José Guimarães (Workers’ Party), leader of the government in the Chamber of Deputies, stressed that Brazil can’t be developed without sustainable rural development.

At the same time as the march, around 300 family farmers were at the Chamber of Deputies for leafleting.

“We want to send a message to Congress and the ministers: in this country, those who make a living from agriculture deserve rights and respect, because we are the ones who sustain this country's domestic food supply, the economy and Brazil's internal GDP,” said the president of the Federation of Rural Farmers of Pernambuco state, Cícera Nunes da Cruz.


Source: BdF Distrito Federal

Edited by: Márcia Silva