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On Biodiversity Day, women from the Cerrado debate ways of life and resistance in the territories

Transmission is part of the series of lives '' Chats: Knowledge of the peoples of the Cerrado and Biodiversity ''

On May 22, the date that marks International Biodiversity Day, the National Campaign in Defense of the Cerrado starts the series of virtual broadcasts '' Chats: Knowledge of the Cerrado Peoples and Biodiversity '', carried out in partnership with the Observatory of the Ruralists. The debut episode will be broadcast on 4 PM and will present the theme ''The strength of the women of the Cerrado: roots and breakers'', with the participation of representatives of entities and movements that integrate different fronts of the struggle for rights in Cerrado territories.

The first episode of the series will shed light on the ways of life and the forms of resistance of women who break coconut babassu and the roots of the Cerrado. Aparecida Vieira and the quilombola Lucely Morais, masters in Traditional Knowledge from the Federal University of Minas Gerais (UFMG) and University of Brasília (UnB), respectively, will represent the roots in the dialogue wheel. Both are part of the coordination of Articulação Pacari, a socio-environmental network formed by community organizations that practice traditional medicine through the sustainable use of the Cerrado's biodiversity.

The team of coco-babaçu breakers will have the participation of Socorro Teixeira, from Tocantins, president of Rede Cerrado and part of the Coordination of the Interstate Movement of Coco-babaçu Breakers (MIQCB), and Helena Gomes, from Piauí, vice coordinator of the MIQCB. Maria Emília Pacheco, from FASE and the National Articulation of Agroecology (ANA), will join the chat as a debater along with Valéria Santos, from the Pastoral Land Commission (CPT) and the executive coordination of the National Campaign in Defense of the Cerrado, which will facilitate the dialog wheel.

Guardians and guardians of traditional knowledge

The peoples of the Cerrado are heirs and operationalize ancestral and traditional knowledge that have guided the management of forests and landscapes for many generations, making this rich savannah one of the most biodiverse regions on the planet. “If there is still a Cerrado standing, it is because these peoples have their feet on the ground of the Cerrado. That is why there is no defense of the Cerrado without the defense of the Cerrado territories, where these peoples conserve biodiversity through their ways of life '', says Valéria Santos, executive coordinator of the National Campaign in Defense of the Cerrado.

The widespread use of the coconut babassu palm by the breakers from Maranhão to Mato Grosso (passing through Pará, Piauí, Tocantins and reaching Chiquitania in Bolivia) depends on a set of knowledge passed on among women over many generations. Through these multiple uses, & #8220; mother-palm & #8221 ;, as the breakers say, brings food and sustenance to thousands of families in our Cerrado.

Despite this, breakers often have to fight against large landowners who want to cut down palm trees and prevent them from accessing babassu trees. All of this led them to organize themselves in the MIQCB to achieve & #8220; release the coconut & #8221; and become stronger in production and marketing.

Monkey pepper, Cerrado tree for economic and traditional use. Photo: © Aryanne Amaral / IEB Collection

Another traditional knowledge of the peoples of the Cerrado is the use of medicinal plants that make up the & #8220; Pharmacopoeia Popular do Cerrado & #8221 ;. The roots and roots are recognized in their communities by the practice of different healing trades from the application of varieties of plants, roots, fruits, clays and their preparations. "The criminalization and depreciation of the biocultural importance of these practices led the roots to organize themselves in the Pacari Articulation and to launch the Biocultural Protocol of Raizeiras do Cerrado, seeking to defend their right to practice traditional medicine," says Valéria.

In addition, the lack of recognition of the importance of their practices for the cultural and biological diversity of the Cerrado was not enough, the breakers and the rootstocks have still faced the threat of a new type of theft and encircling: the appropriation by companies of the genetic heritage of which they are guardians .


The series of chats '' Knowledge of the Peoples of the Cerrado and Biodiversity '' will transmit dialogues focused on the populations that promote the conservation of the Cerrado's biodiversity: indigenous, quilombolas and the traditional peoples and communities of the region. With two episodes scheduled per month, the series will run until August.

In this moment of pandemic due to the coronavirus, Aparecida Vieira highlights the importance of the initiative to make the work of women in rural areas visible in the territories. '' We need to announce that the work of women guardians of traditional knowledge has not been interrupted in this moment in which we live. On the contrary, it is fundamental work for the health of communities '', highlights the root girl.

CEPF Cerrado and the National Campaign in Defense of the Cerrado

The National Campaign in Defense of the Cerrado visits Traditional Communities and Peoples in the Mirador-Tables Corridor, located in the states of Maranhão, Piauí and Tocantins, through the Project ''Network articulation and social participation for the conservation of the Cerrado' ', which is supported by the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (CEPF) and the International Institute of Education of Brazil (IEB), with the coordination of the ActionAid Brasil. With a focus on enhancing the ways of life of Traditional Peoples and Communities and in strengthening social participation actions and the fight for territorial rights of these groups, the research seeks to subsidize the performance of the Campaign, its member organizations and the populations living in the Cerrado.



Virtual debate '' The strength of the women of the Cerrado: roots and breakers ''

Date / time: May 22, at 4 pm (Brasília time)

Transmission channel: www.facebook.com/campanhacerrado

Realization: National Campaign in Defense of the Cerrado

Partnership: Observatório De Olho nos Ruralistas


Press Contact:

Bruno Santiago


+55 011 99985 0378

The Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund is a joint initiative of the French Development Agency, Conservation International, the European Union, Global Environmental Management, the Government of Japan and the World Bank. A key goal is to ensure that civil society is involved in biodiversity conservation.