Faces of those affected

Pesticide Portraits

Fátima Batista Barros

Activist from the Quilombola movement

04 / 04

Agro-ecology rather than poisonous pesticides

Since 2010, Fátima Batista Barros has been working to defend her community’s rights. After a violent conflict with the agricultural industry, her whole community was threatened by expulsion from their lands. We painted Fátima’s portrait using water polluted by pesticides.

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Tocantins Brazil

“Respect of our rights is closely linked to preserving the environment, and to sustainable, pesticide-free agriculture.” Fátima is a teacher who fights for the land rights of the Quilombola people, who are descendants of African slaves. “My family’s existence is based on the agro-ecological methods that they brought with them from Africa. Our people were enslaved and exploited, but we never lost our culture.”

“The respect of our rights requires pesticide-free agriculture”

Fátima Batista Barros Activist from the Quilombola movement

“Our land is sacred to us”, says Fátima. Since a violent conflict with a farmer who runs an industrial farm in the region in 2010, her community lives in a permanent state of alert. Four times already, they have nearly been forced away from their territory by representatives of the agricultural industry. Yet Fátima continues to fight for the Quilombola’s right to farm their land in a sustainable manner.

Syngenta, no to highly hazardous pesticides!

Syngenta makes nearly CHF 4 billion annually selling ‘highly hazardous’ pesticides (according to the list produced by the international Pesticide Action Network). This toxic but very lucrative business is at the core of the Swiss giant’s business model.

Highly hazardous pesticides endanger millions of people in developing and emerging countries. Syngenta takes advantage of weak regulations in countries like Brazil or India to sell pesticides banned in Switzerland due to their effects on human health or the environment. In India, thousands of farmers are poisoned every year. In Brazil, millions are exposed to a toxic cocktail of pesticides in drinking water.

Highly hazardous pesticides are a ticking time-bomb. More and more studies show a link between exposure to pesticides and a rise in cases of cancer, Parkinson’s disease or congenital malformations.

We call on Syngenta, global leader in this irresponsible business, to stop making profits at the expense of the health of millions of people. Syngenta must stop producing and selling highly hazardous pesticides.

The petition was signed by almost 38,000 people. It was presented to Syngenta on August 22, 2019 at the Syngenta headquarters in Basel.