WHERE WE REPORT


Translate page with Google

Story Publication logo June 25, 2020

The Dream of a Jungle Train Loaded With Soy (Spanish)

Country:

Authors:
Image by Heriberto Araújo. Brazil, 2019.
English

As the world's largest consumer of soy, China's hunger drives Brazil's sales. How the Amazon fits...

author #1 image author #2 image
Multiple Authors
SECTIONS
Soy plantations in a field in the outskirts of Sinop. In the horizon, one can see remnants of Amazon forest. Image by Melissa Chan. Brazil, 2019.
Soy plantations in a field in the outskirts of Sinop. In the horizon, one can see remnants of Amazon forest. Image by Melissa Chan. Brazil, 2019.

From above, the sight of the Amazonian city of Sinop brings to mind the geometric shapes that colonialism engraved on the map of Africa. Soybean and cornfields are oceanic — expanding to infinity, adjoining cattle pastures and jungle areas in perfectly rectilinear confines. This landscape pattern is repeated for hundreds of kilometers to the north, towards the heart of the jungle, in a visual metaphor that summarizes the radical changes experienced by the region in recent decades.

Anyone who knows the history of Sinop, a city founded during the first half of the 1970s, in the north of the Brazilian Amazonian state of Mato Grosso, would explain that these cultivation fields symbolize the victory of the pioneer against the previously indomitable nature. The area that today holds a municipality with its own airport and paved streets was covered by a thick blanket of Amazon forest, inhabited by jaguars, anacondas, and centuries-old tree species until just four decades ago. Then the settlers began to arrive, motivated by policies encouraging frontier expansion during the Brazilian military dictatorship (1964-1985).

To read the full story in Spanish, click here.