After visiting communities in the Mato Grosso do Sul state of Brazil, Ethical Sugar has written to sugarcane milling companies to ask that they do more to protect and support people affected by the expansion of cane production.
Some companies like Louis Dreyfus Commodities and Bunge have been asked to commit to a Cooperation Commitment Agreement, overseen by FUNAI, the Brazilian National Indian Foundation, which has been adopted by other companies in the sector. They indicate that millers will not acquire sugarcane grown in areas declared by the Ministry of Justice as indigenous lands, including via third parties.
Bunge has argued that it no longer has any business related to the land of the Jata’Yvary community and that it adheres to its sustainable agricultural policy.
Other companies like Raizen (the joint venture of Shell and Cosan) which have signed such an agreement have been asked to better inform communities about its existence, involve them more in its implementation which remains piecemeal, and to add an agenda for improving socio-economic conditions and environmental practices to the framework.
The interviews with community leaders can be viewed via the links below.
In this interview with Arlindo Rodriguez, Jata’Yvary community team leader, he expresses the importance of having secure land and being able to live and work on it. He thanks the visitors from Ethical Sugar for hearing his perspective.
In this interview with Clara Barbosa Almeida, Guarani’s Laranjeira Nanderu leader, she talks about the precarious position her community are in. Without space to grow their own food or jobs to earn money, they have resorted to taking items from the rubbish dump to sell on and make ends meet (see below). Forest protection laws prevent them from clearing woods to create arable land.