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Brazil: Women denounce threats, intimidation and physical and sexual violence by agribusiness workers as palm groves are privatised

Author: Mongabay, Published on: 15 November 2019

“Brazil’s ‘coconut breakers’ feel the squeeze of Cerrado development”, 12 de noviembre de 2019

…In recent years, industrial agribusiness has moved in fast, privatizing and fencing the commons, converting the babassu palm groves to soy and eucalyptus plantations and cattle ranches, and making it harder for the coconut breakers to access the palm from which they derive their living, and their social and cultural identity.

In addition, the women say they have been increasingly exposed to threats, intimidation, and physical and sexual violence by farmers and other male agribusiness workers. But the coconut breakers are determined to defend their palm groves at any cost, and to resist the enclosure of the commons…

Babassu palms grow naturally along the sweeping ecotone arc at the Amazon-Cerrado biome junction covering more than 25 million hectares (96,526 square miles), mainly in the northern Brazilian states of Piauí, Maranhão, Tocantins and Pará…

While some palm nuts grow and are harvested on land owned by small agricultural producers, most flourish on common lands held by the Brazilian government — and increasingly claimed by private landowners — with the nuts collected by landless women between September and February…

Deforestation and enclosure of the commons aren’t the only escalating threats; the women also report increased physical intimidation, sexual assault, pesticide pollution and even electrocution…

Read the full post here