As their land claim stalls, Brazil’s Munduruku face pressure from soybean farms

As their land claim stalls, Brazil’s Munduruku face pressure from soybean farms

SANTARÉM, Brazil — The landscape near the indigenous Munduruku villages of Santarém, in Brazil’s Pará state, has changed much over the past 20 years. What was once an immense plain in the heart of the Amazon, the humid home to dense forests full of delicacies like açaí and pupunha palms, has been transformed into a green desert. The forest has been successively logged, thanks to the arrival of soybean farming. In 2017, the municipality’s harvest was the largest in a decade, consolidating the takeover of what is called the Santarém Plain. The expansion of agribusiness has had grave consequences for the indigenous people living there. They say their villages are constantly poisoned by pesticides, used on crops without any controls. “We can smell [the pesticides], it ruins our lunch,” Luciene Sousa, who lives in the village of Açaizal, told the Indigenous Missionary Council, a Catholic Church-affiliated organization, in November 2019. According to the Public Prosecutor’s Office, which is monitoring the situation, the spraying occurs less than 10 meters (33 feet) from the indigenous homes and farms. The agency says that “necessary safety measures have not been adopted [by the farmers] in the [pesticide] spraying areas.” It also reports the silting of streams in the area, a current complaint of the indigenous people. The history of the Munduruku people is marked by delays in demarcating their reservation, land grabbing, and violent repression by farmers. Land cleared by use for soybean farming in Munduruku territory. Image by Arthur Massuda/CIMI. Clouds of pesticides,…This article was originally published on Mongabay

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