Agri-Business, Pesticides and "Agri-Cancer"

Thursday, May 31, 2012

latifundio mataMay 31, 2012 by Brasil do Fato

The three words above are not mere propaganda. Over the past ten years Brazilian agribusiness has taken over as the form of production in agriculture. It is a model of agricultural production, now subordinated to the interests of finance capital and transnational corporations. When allied to large Brazilian farmers, they intrude on nature.

In this model, the financier enters with capital. Of the gross value of agricultural production around 160 billion reais [(almost 80 billion dollars], the banks come with approximately 110 billion reais [approximately 55 billion dollars] every year, funding the purchase of supplies and charging interest, their share in the value added in agriculture. And transnational companies (TNCs) provide agricultural inputs, machinery, chemical fertilizers and, especially, agricultural poisons. Agricultural production is designed for the world market, the so-called agricultural commodities.

This model built a way to produce, a matrix of technology combined with large estates, which increases the scale of production each year, monoculture, specializing in one product export, intensive mechanization, little employment of direct labor and intensive use of agricultural poisons. The consequences of this model that became hegemonic in the last ten years, and which operates independently of all, already has perverse results, for the environment, for the Brazilian economy for the economic performance of farmers themselves, and especially to the health of Brazilians.

In economic terms, according to the National Supply Company (Conab), this pattern of economic exploitation led to a pattern in the basic cost of production, in which Brazilian capitalist farmers spend on average 24% [of capital invested in production] on chemical fertilizers, almost all imported; 15 % of all capital invested in poisons; and another 6% in transgenic seeds. They pay, on average, 2% royalty to the seed companies, totaling 47% of all costs. And spending only 4% on the labor of Brazilian rural workers in Brazil and making, in the end, a 13% profit. That is, the account is clear. Our agriculture is fully subordinated to the interests of financial capital and foreigners and transfers to them most of the production value.

The results are catastrophic to the environment. Today 80% of all cultivated land is used for monoculture soybean/corn, sugarcane, cotton and livestock farming. This has generated an imbalance of biodiversity in nature, which is exacerbated by the application of agricultural poisons that kill everything.

The destruction of biodiversity by monoculture and with the application of poisons there is also created an imbalance in rainfall patterns and climatic conditions in the whole Brazilian territory. This is the reason for the more frequent occurrence of harsher droughts and more torrential floods in all regions of the country.

This model also has consequences for human and animal health. Brazil has become the world's largest consumer of agricultural poisons. Brazil, alone, consumes 20% of agricultural poisons produced in the world. The ten largest companies producing poisons, which began in the First and Second World Wars producing chemical bombs, now produce poisons. They are: Syngenta, Bayer, BASF, Dow, Monsanto, Dupont, Makhteshim (Israel) Nufarm (Australia) and Sumimoto and FMC (Japan). They are all transnational corporations that control the poisons in the world and here in Brazil. Farmers spent $ 7.3 billion dollars buying poisons from these companies.

These poisons, because they are chemical in origin, do not degrade in nature. They kill insects, bacteria in the soil, affect fertility, pollute groundwater, and contaminate the rains - many of these poisons are drying and evaporating into the atmosphere and then return with the rains. And they contaminate the food that people consume.

In the peoples’ bodies these poisons generate all kinds of disorder, accumulate, affecting specific organs, until they produce cancer with the destruction of cells.

The National Cancer Institute has denounced and Brasil do Fato has echoed that the country will incur around one million new cancer cases per year. Most of them originate from foods with pesticides. Of these, if diagnosed in time, doctors can save 40%. So we are faced with the imminence of a real genocide caused by pesticides: the "agri-cancer." Including breast cancer, now appears among women of all ages and has among its main causes pesticides!

This and much more has now been exposed by a thorough and extensive report produced by the Brazilian Association of Graduate Health (Abrasco). The document warns of the risks and consequences that the widespread use of agricultural poisons are causing to the health of Brazilians.

Brasil de Fato publishes materials about these serious issues that the so-called mainstream media, at the service of agribusiness and the pesticide companies, ignores.

Gathered together, the National Campaign Against the Use of Pesticides and for Life that includes over 50 national organizations in Brazilian society, in its ongoing mission to educate the public, real farmers, authorities and legislators to put an end to the use of poisons in our country. And that, especially, to penalize the transnational manufacturing companies  These companies should even be required to pay the SUS [national health care system] the cost of treatment of cancer and other diseases proven to originate from the use of poisons in our food.