The inequalities that afflict Brazilian society are enormous: a mere 1.6 percent of Brazilian landholders still control 47 percent of the nation’s privately owned land, and 60 percent of the population shares just 15 percent of all wealth. In tandem with the destructive practices of industrial agriculture and land grabbing by agribusinesses, foreign companies’ control over local resources has increased. The impact on Brazil’s rural communities and the nation’s vast forests, land, water systems and biodiversity is devastating.
Yet Indigenous Peoples, rural landless workers and urban slum dwellers are at the forefront of a movement striving to counter these trends and build an economy that serves all citizens. Since 1998, Grassroots International’s Brazil Program has focused on two key issues: the rights to land and water, and defending social movements that are being criminalized. Geographically, the program focuses primarily on the northeast, central plateau and Amazon regions (including the states of Maranhão, Pernambuco, Bahia, Goiás, Sergipe, Piauí and Pará).
Grassroots is currently providing support to the following organizations in Brazil: