Brazil’s Landless Workers’ Movement Opens Organic Store In São Paulo

From by Antonio Pasolini
Brazil’s Landless Workers’ Movement Opens Organic Store In São Paulo

South America’s largest metropolis is home to a new organic food store that was opened to increase access to healthy, ecologically produced products in the city. São Paulo food shoppers can now head to Armazém do Campo, a store in the central district of Santa Cecília, where they can choose from hundreds of organic items from small-scale farms and settlements linked to the agrarian reform. The enterprise is an initiative of Brazil’s Landless Workers’ Movement known as MST.

Rodrigo Teles, the store’s executive manager, says Armazém do Campo was created to offer a commercial alternative to a public that is increasingly concerned with the quality of food in the country. The store will become a hub of distribution of agroecological production to the whole country, he adds.

MST’s national director, João Pedro Stedile, said at the opening of the store that the trading place reflects a new understanding of what the agrarian reform has come to mean. “The new paradigm, as well as the focus on public policies, is to produce healthy food. The agrarian reform concerns everyone,” he said on the occasion. The event, which featured arts and food-related attractions, was attended by hundreds of people, including São Paulo Mayor Fernando Haddad.

The organic food movement in Brazil has been gaining momentum in reaction to the amount of pesticide consumed in the country, estimated at 5.2 kg (11.5 lb) per capita per year, the largest amount in the world. According to the Ministry of Agriculture, the organic food market is projected to generate a revenue of US$0.8 billion (R$2.5 billion) in 2016, up from US$0.64 billion (R$2 billion) in 2014. Next year, this market is expected to grow between 20 and 30 percent.

There currently are 11,084 certified organic producers in the country, covering an area of 950,000 hectares, where farmers grow greens, sugarcane, rice, coffee, Brazil nuts, cocoa, açaí, guaraná, heart of palm, honey, and juice types, besides egg and dairy.

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