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1,2 - THE GUARDIAN WEEKLY Elementary (2)
scratchga, hojiakbar kurs ishi, 8-sinf-ozbekiston-tarixi
Working the land to feed
the people
Brazil is one of the world's biggest
producers of food but a third of the
population is hungry. The govern-
ments of the rich countries and the
big corporations say that the only
solution to this problem is to have
free markets and to develop geneti-
cally modified food (GM food). But
so far this sort of globalisation has
only produced more hunger, not
less. In Brazil, however, there is a
political movement that has a differ-
ent solution. The Movimento dos
Trabalhadores Rurais Sem Te r r a
(MST) - the Landless Rural Workers
Movement – is now one of Brazil's
biggest popular movements. T h e
MST wants to give power to the
poor people of Brazil through land
reform and education. The MST
takes direct action – it occupies
large farms and organises demon-
strations in big cities. Many poor
Brazilian families are no longer
hungry thanks to the work of the
Twenty years ago there was a secret
war in the vast interior of Brazil.
The war was not a fair one – it was
between poor farmers and rich and
powerful landowners. Because of
this war almost 5 million people lost
their homes in the three southern
states of Brazil alone. They became
sem terra - or landless. They had
two choices: to move to the shanty
towns of the big cities or to migrate
thousands of kilometres north to the
government colonies in 
Amazon, far from roads, schools
and hospitals. Many people who
opposed this policy were murdered.
Between 1981 and 1984 alone 277
peasant leaders, union officials and
rural workers were killed. The MST
was born in this climate of violence.
Poor families had nothing left to
lose so they began to occupy the
farms of absentee landowners.
It wasn’t easy. At first the families
tried to copy the big farmers - plant-
ing cash crops instead of food. They
used fertilisers and pesticides to try
and produce bigger and bigger har-
vests. But it did not work. Families
spent more and more money on
pesticides and fertilisers. T h e y
became ill from the side effects of
the chemicals. The soil was exhaust-
Slowly the families began to use
more traditional ways of farming
and went back to growing their own
food. They believe that chemical
farming has no future because it
exhausts the soil so rapidly.
Families have now begun to remem-
ber the way their parents and grand-
parents used to farm.
The Brazilian government's reform
programme gave land to 260,000
families, but in the same period
(1995-99) more than 1 million small
farmers lost their land because of
the pressure of the market. Only the
big exporters of soyabeans, coffee,
orange juice and poultry and the
multinational companies have been
successful. If the battle against GM
foods is lost, the big biotech compa-
nies, led by Monsanto, will domi-
nate farming by controlling the seed
There is no place for small family
farms in this situation, unless they
are willing to grow seeds for
Monsanto. The MST believes that it
can confront these forces and win
the battle. But the result is still
uncertain. If they lose the battle, it
will be a revolution that never hap-
pened but if they win, they might
bring greater equality and less
The Guardian We e k l y 4 - 7 - 2 0 0 2 ,
page 22

© 2002 3 This page can be photocopied.

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