Re: “A Strong Voice for Brazil’s Powerful Farmers”


Dear Editor,

Your January 7 article, “A Strong Voice for Brazil’s Powerful Farmers,” may have projected an unbiased perception of agro-business’s status regarding environmental protection. This comes from an almost lighthearted critique you gave to Katia Abreu intervening on the subject of the high rate of deforestation in Amazonian Brazil. The subject had been intensely debated during the past decade. Thus far, Brazil has hardly developed a self-serving premise to defend itself from the skewed approach, where it has been used on a number of other environmental issues. While you have weighed in on Katia Abreu’s and her supporters’ stance on behalf of the matter, the space in which the debate is being given, may prove disastrous, not only as an environmental factor, but also as a fundamental economic issues.

From 2000 to 2010, the Amazon population has increased by 23 percent. Moreover, the population of Manaus, the largest city in the Brazilian Amazon, has grown by 22 percent to 1.7 million in the same period, and is now one of Brazil’s fastest growing cities [1]. The threat posed to the Amazon by both the region’s exploding population and the desire of Brazil’s capital- oriented minds to exploit its abundant potential, should not be underestimated. Furthermore, Brasilia’s actions have thus far demonstrated a good deal of short-sightedness, as it should be making attempts to conserve such resources for future generations. Instead, the Brazilian government is facilitating natural expansion under the guise of economic revivalism which may be more a matter of style than substance. The projected expansion of the nation shows that, in the next decade, the country’s population will continue to increase to grow past 250 million [2]. This would be an increase that will strain the government’s ability to manage sustainable development.  


Conor Matthews, Research Associate at the Council on Hemispheric Affairs


In response to National Public Radio: A Strong Voice For Brazil’s Powerful Farmers


[1] Statistics quoted by: Simon Romero, “Swallowing Rain Forest, Cities Surge in Amazon,” New York Times, November 24, 2012,

[2] Statistics granted by the: United Nations, Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Population Division (2011): World Population Prospects: The 2010 Revision. New York