Thursday, May 22, 2008


Cargill is the multinational grains company that set up shop in a 20 million dollar port facility here in Santarem a few years ago. My neighbor at Bosque Santa Lucia, Lira Maia, was mayor of Santarem at that time. I don't know the details of how it all came about, but Cargill ended up with a very premium piece of land and port area in whatever bureaucratic transaction occurred. The environmentalists obviously see red when it's discussed. A pivoting judicial question that never gets settled is whether or not proper environmental impact studies were conducted. Many non-politically committed people also see red because they are rightfully in love with their city and the Amazon. One only needs to look at their music, verse and writings about this place to understand that they were pissed when they woke up one day to see a monstrous grain elevator crawling out into the Tapajos River, "f....... the sky", as someone put it. The roof of the depot building sported the name of the company, "Cargill". The letters were so big, they could be seen from anywhere, whether it be air, land or river. The battle was on ... and continues. A high level judge closes the place down from time to time; another higher level judge overturns the decision; the company continues activities; Greenpeace finds a golden icon in their effort to denounce deforestation of the Amazon; the company removes its name from the depot roof; and more recently the company agrees to adhere to check and balances of deforestation for planting soy to be monitored by the Nature Conservancy. The attached image is a picture I took of the Cargill grain elevators during a rain storm. More coming ...

1 comment:

Gil said...

what an issue!!! I am affraid we all gonna have to swallow all this dry...It

I wonder why they rubbed out the gigantic CARGILL from the roof top.

Talking about this issue for the cruiseships passangers is a very sensitive issue: Cargill is a great company, creates loads of jobs and feeds people and nice pets with their products...but can they do that without damaging the Amazon or any other biodiversity centre?

I am glad to learn that the company seemed to be more strict about buying soybeans from suspected growers.